Friday, August 29, 2008

Elevator pitch

When getting into sales, it is important to ultimately get your point across to the person that is taking the time to listen to you. In order to be effective and to be respectful of your audience's valuable time, it is crucial to be able to relay your 'message' in few words, with maximum impact.

It is said that many of the most important decisions made on the floor of the United States's Senate are made "within the span of an elevator ride" as a staff aide whispers into a Congressman or Senator's ear while they head down to the floor to cast their vote.

The subsequent term "elevator pitch" is typically used in the commercial context of an entrepreneur pitching an idea to a venture capitalist to receive funding, but clearly the concept of an elevator pitch should appeal to any salesman that wants to be heard and understood within limited time.

Venture capitalists often judge the quality of an idea and team on the basis of the quality of its elevator pitch, and will ask entrepreneurs for the elevator pitch to quickly weed out bad ideas.
Therefore it must be short, concise, and appealing, and not take more, say, 100-150 words.

Key Elements
An effective elevator pitch generally answers questions such as:

Who are we?

What do we offer?

Why should it be interesting to you?

In general, you could say that it is a short pitch, derived from a company's value proposition - the sum of all advantages a company offers, and the core reason why the company could solve a client's problem.

This statement should convince a potential consumer that one particular product or service will add more value or better solve a problem than other similar offerings.
Companies use the statement to target customers who will benefit most from using the company's products, and this helps maintain an economic merit.
The ideal value proposition is specific, to the point, and appeals to the customer's strongest decision-making drivers.

My advise is to go through the exercise of a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats). Strengths and weaknesses pertain to the current plusses and minuses of the (internal) organization. Opportunities and threats can be derived from market conditions (external), and allow you to picture the potential as well as negative market influences.

Depict the strengths and opportunities so that it becomes clear to you how your organization could solve other people's problems by being of service to them, and try to picture which type of organization benefits from your offering. Once you start prospecting organizations that likely have a need for the offering, you'll need to outline the advantages, and address that you understand (but you'd like to learn) there is a need to fulfill - but do it short and concise.

Happy selling!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Starting December 1st, my blogs will be written from New York city.
I am very excited about taking on a new role within our company, and thankful for this great opportunity.

Our family will move to the Big Apple towards the end of November.
It's a big change for us - with lots of exciting challenges and new experiences to come.

We'll keep you posted on the Big Move and there will be more food for thought than ever, if I were to guess

PS> Sten & Remco if you're reading this - you lucky bastards!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Habit 1 - Be proactive

Stephen Covey writes: " This is the ability to control one's environment, rather than have it control you, as is so often the case. Self determination, choice, and the power to decide response to stimulus, conditions and circumstances"

Here's an interesting quote that elaborates on response to stimulus:

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes."

Friday, August 8, 2008

What exactly is a goal?

We've talked about setting goals, and pursuing them hard.
Yet, we have not defined what a goal is, and that may be a good addition to the discussion.
Today's blog is about goals.

What exactly is a goal?
Is it financial, personal, emotional?
Is it defined towards your career, or your personal situation - or both?

My definition of a goal is:

A premeditated/intended outcome, that requires action and fulfills needs

If we break it down:

1) Pre-meditated/intended: You have to know what your goal is, before you can pursue it. It has to be defined prior to taking action. Or reversed, any action without a goal, doesn't necessary fulfill your needs in the long run, so by default that would be energy wasted. Think about your desires, dreams and wishes and visualize what you'd like to achieve. Ask yourself why you'd want to achieve that goal. Once you have determined your desire is worth pursuing, it is so much easier to do what it takes.

2) Outcome: The outcome can be visualized, rationalized, felt, seen, maybe even held or driven ;-). It can be a specific role within your job, a dream house, a job title, being a good parent, anything - but it has to be something you really want to come out as a result of your actions.

3) Requires action: We all dream, everyone has dreams.
The one distinguishing factor between the people attaining them or not is whether they are prepared to act on them, and do what it takes. It requires following the guideline, and not allowing yourself to be sidestepped or distracted. It requires saying 'no' to other temptations, not eating french fries, not buying something if you need the money for something else, not drinking that extra beer, or going out late. It may require putting in more energy, leaving earlier from home, or coming home later from work (depending on the goal) - I'm sure you can think of many more. The bottom line is: he who is not prepared to do, will not get.

4) Fulfills needs: You decide whether the needs you want to fulfill are personal, social, emotional, financial, directed towards your career, or a complete mix. The trick is to plan your actions so that the desired outcome is both attainable and attained. That is why it is so important to understand why you want to attain that specific goal - it tells your character, but it also sets your determination - which in turn is needed to find your inner strength and motivation to put in the energy when acting. Determine what needs your dreams would fulfill (and why) - if you want a wholistic goal, and you set a target on financial matters, you may end up being disappointed. But the reverse may be true also.

Everyone has dreams that can be viewed as goals. Sometimes the dream is too far out from attainable reality that it needs to have an 'intermediate' goal (a milestone). It keeps you motivated. Imagine a goal that is ten years out - you wouldn't want to be waiting for ten years to find some successes in your actions, would you? We have to have some fun doing it, and have to celebrate our successes getting there.

Share your dreams, set your actions, make yourself accountable for your actions, and go get 'em!
Good luck - and have some fun!