October 12, 2010

Are you ready for when the curtain goes up?


An excerpt from Jeffrey Hayzlett’s book ‘The Mirror Test’

Jeffrey Hayzlett, a friend of Socialmedia.biz, is the author of the best-selling book The Mirror Test and former chief marketing officer of Kodak. He is the keynote speaker at Search Engine Strategies Chicago, Oct. 18-22. Following is an excerpt from “The Mirror Test: Is Your Business Really Breathing”:

Don’t be shocked, but social networking is nothing new. It’s been around for years as the Kiwanis or Rotary club. But with Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, it takes on a more global stage, where the curtain goes up and down faster than ever before.

But there’s another old idea that’s gaining new momentum and picking up speed. The elevator pitch is what most people know because it’s the time you need to sell what your company does and what you do, in the time of an elevator ride. I call it the 118. The elevator ride used to take three to five minutes, but today your time is less than that. It’s 118 seconds. Technology makes things go faster, but also increased the need for speed and nimbleness in responding. Today we’re left with just seconds to capture someone’s attention and less than two minutes to get your whole message completed. You only have 118 seconds to get that pitch out and done. It breaks down to eight seconds to get my attention and hook me, and then up to 110 seconds to drive it all home. All told, less than two minutes!

Today you have 8
seconds to hook me and 110 seconds to drive it home — 118 seconds to complete your pitch

Why that amount of time? It’s about people and persistence. The first eight seconds is the length of time the average human can concentrate on something and not lose some focus. Then it’s a special amount of time for one of the roughest and toughest rides in the world – a qualified ride in professional bull riding. In these first eight seconds it’s crucial you be focused, strong and compel the listener to want more. You cannot give up as one of the most brutal animals in the world tries to buck you. This is no different than a good prospect that may not have spare minutes, but spare seconds that you need to take advantage of and appeal to. If you’re pitching to me, if you get me hooked in those 8 seconds, and I’ll give you 110 more to drive your message home with no bull. But if you cannot sell me on the idea at the end of the 118 seconds, I will begin to tune out. I know at the end of 118 if we’re going forward to a sale or if we’re done.

Every year I attend hundreds of meetings, conferences and events where I am inundated with entrepreneurs, business owners, managers, or their sales and marketing representatives. But too many don’t understand the importance of elements in the 118. The 118 is more than just what your business does or unique selling proposition (USP). It’s crucial to your brand and explains you, your business’s promise and the promises you will deliver on. Your 118 defines and explains the promises you make.

The 118 connects directly to the foundation of every business’s growth. I’m not saying a bad one means certain failure, but it’s rare that I see a good one that when put in place properly does not help a business grow.

At this point you’re probably agreeing with everything I’m saying and talking to your computer screen about how much sense this makes. But to make it work, you must do more than agree, you need action. This is a time about proof of life and not a time to take notes and do some thinking about it. Which means now is a great time to open up a new window, or grab a piece of paper and start writing your 118. It’s time to communicate about your company and yourself in a way people can understand, even in this world where we can only get up to 140 characters at times to send a message and sell.

If you’re struggling with how to start, you can get more help developing your 118 by going to facebook.com/Jeffrey.Hayzlett and downloading worksheets to help get your message moving! Now let’s develop some great pitches and wow the world!

‘Buzz is not sales’ webcast

Jeff Hayzlett presented a webcast yesterday for SES Chicago that should be of interest to many Socialmedia.biz readers: Buzz is not sales. Click through to see the free webcast — it takes a little while for it to start.

Jeffrey Hayzlett speaks frequently around the world on business growth, communications and marketing, including keynotes at events such as The Economist Marketing Summit, THE Conference on Marketing, the 140 Character Twitter Conference, CMO Summits, Mobile Marketing Forum, Digital Life Design Conference, Photo Marketing Association Conference, Direct Marketing Association Leadership Forum, and National Postal Forum. Hayzlett is known as the “Celebrity CMO” for his work as Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Kodak, because his countless media appearances and social media skills have made him one of the top C-level executive Twitterers in the world. Excerpt published with permission.

JD Lasica, founder of Socialmedia.biz, is now co-founder of the cruise discovery engine Cruiseable. See his About page, contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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One thought on “Are you ready for when the curtain goes up?

  1. This is a great article Jeffrey! You are absolutely correct, you need to capture that person's attention within the first 8 seconds. Within that time frame, you should already address what problem you can potentially solve for that person, and not pitch your business or anything like that. I'll have a look at more of your articles, so I can continually improve my elevator speech. Thank you.