January 26 2009

Are your sales people network ready?

What would you say if someone with a video camera came up to you and asked for a 30 second pitch on your company or new home community?

That's exactly what I did on the exhibitor floor at the 2009 International Builder Show (IBS).  I was roaming the floor looking for interesting companies.  Then I would ask people if they wanted to get some air time while contributing to my video blog.  My video blog is something I’m having fun with and at the same time I’m exploring ways to make my blog more interesting and captivating...or at least original.  

Here are the questions I came up with to stimulate participation:

  1. Why do builders need to use your product or service?
  2. What are you doing to generate leads in this economy?
  3. What’s one fun thing you’re doing while in Vegas?

I realized almost immediately the importance of a sales person’s readiness to give a 30 second company pitch.  Of course it got me thinking about what I would say if someone with a video camera came up to me and asked ‘why do homebuilders need to use New Homes Directory.com?’  I would not have been prepared for a 30 second pitch at the time of this ideation.

We all know that in advertising, we have literally seconds to capture the attention of our audience.  The same also goes for networking.  You attend a networking event, meet people, and you have only a few moments to share about your company.  Will you be captivating and original or will you deliver the same ole, same ole?

I had dinner plans with Jeff Shore that night and planned on telling him about my video blogging ideas.  I knew he would ask what my 30-second pitch was so I had to prepare before dinner.

Here’s what I came up with.

All builders need traffic.  New Homes Directory.com drives A-list traffic to homebuilders.  Every day thousands of consumers search Google, Yahoo!, and MSN for new homes.  These are the consumers on New Homes Directory.com.  When a homebuilder community is listed on New Homes Directory.com, those consumers can find your homes.  If not, you’re missing out on a segment of some of the most qualified home shoppers there are today.

Boom! There it is.  Let me know what you think of my 30-second pitch. Can I do better?  Am I missing any critical elements of the perfect 30-second pitch?

And tell me if both you and your sales agents are prepared for the quick pitch of your company or new home community.

Check out the pitches from the following people.  And by the way, you guys who participated in my video blog are awesome.  Your companies are lucky to have you represent them.  

Companies that could not get air time due to corporate restrains are Bank of America, Wells Fargo Mortgage, 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (they actually kicked me out of their booth), and Ford to name just a few. They may need to rethink their policies in the near future.  The west is wild again.

Krisann Parker - Brown with Heatilator and HeatGlo

Brennen McLean with Lasso Data Systems Inc.
Mark Frederick with Homes.com
Michael Loughery with CertainTeed

I know you may be thinking...what about the other questions.  Stay tuned.  I'll post them soon.

Jim Adams - CEO
New Homes Directory.com


Posted by: Jayson | January 26 2009 6:50 PM

Ah, the 30 second elevator pitch - nope - I wouldn't be prepared. I've thought about it a few (hundred) times and unfortunately, it's still on the shelf. It's a shame because a succinct presentation is extremely important. Your pitch is pretty solid and the video participants did a good job.

Posted by: Mike Lyon | January 26 2009 6:52 PM

Pitch - you must mean "presentation". That is some solid field research. It's the wild west - and there is a new sheriff in town. Keep the good stuff coming!

Posted by: Jim | January 26 2009 8:45 PM

I'm hoping Jeff Shore will comment on this post too.  Can anyone get him to do it?

Jim Adams - CEO

Posted by: Mike Sipes | January 27 2009 10:09 AM

Jim, as always, a great post.  You have so many great ideas!

Are we going to get tested on this later? ;)

Posted by: krisann parker-brown | January 27 2009 10:54 AM

Wow!  Tough with just a second's notice, but a lot of fun.  Sometimes we only have 30 seconds to 'seal the deal' in sales, and with the home buying public, first impressions can make or break you!  
Jim - great vision on social media, it is the wave of the future.  Nice work incorporating Video Blog into your format, I'll try to follow your terrific example!  

Builders, find more ways to differentiate and connect emotionally to the homebuying consumer, avoiding the 'commoditization'of your product.  See my blog for builders and design centers at:
www.heatnglo.com  www.heatilator.com

Posted by: Lance Sonka | January 27 2009 6:36 PM

Way to go! It's great to experience your new home enthusiasm, thanks!

Posted by: Michelle Glen | February 1 2009 10:51 AM

Sales people should not even be in the sales center without something prepared. These "pitches" should vary in length from the :10 elevator speech to the :30 after work networking pitch to the 2 minute drill for those customers that walk in and say "I've only got a few minutes because I have to pick my kid up from school. Can I have your brochure?"

I've worked with two companies that are very focused on training and preparing us for the sales center. Without this, I know that I would be just an ordinary sales person like the ones that our customers run into every day. Remember, you only have to be a tiny bit better than the other sales person to win that business. The Kentucky Derby is usually won by just a nose.

My :10 elevator speech...Tim O'Brien Homes is a semi-custom home builder that focuses on well-designed, flexible floor plans that are designed for the way you live. All of our homes are Energy Star and Green Built Home Certified and are 3rd party tested for the highest efficiency. This means that you will enjoy a healthier home as well as a 25% savings on your energy bills.

Posted by: Jeff Shore | February 3 2009 8:18 AM

Jim - It seems to me that even when sales representatives (and make no mistake - we are ALL in sales!) do share their 30-second presentation, it is typically based on what they have to offer: "My company is XYY Inc. and we provide recycled wood products of top quality at a minimal price in hundreds of varieties delivered by trained professionals..."  (yada, etc.)  Salespeople mistakingly believe that if they are sharing value then they are doing their jobs.  

Here's the rub: Value is a buyer word, not a seller word.  If it's not valuable to the buyer, it's not valuable.  So the effective sales presentation is all about meeting needs and alleviating pain,  Salespeople all too often tend to talk about solutions without first considering the problem.  So the demonstration might be energetic and well-polished and crammed with good information, but if it doesn't scratch the customer's itch, it's all a grand waste of time.

The 30-second pitch is important - we need to have that down.  But we would be well-served to present it according to the customer's needs/pain/dissatisfaction before we present the solution.  

Here's a hint if you want to construct a 30-second speech.  Start with the words, "Our customers have told us that their number one concern is...."  Once you've laid that foundation you can come back with, "In order to address this concern, we created...", or something along those lines.  See the difference?  Selling is about meeting needs.  Identify the needs, then provide the solution.

Posted by: Jim Adams | February 3 2009 9:36 AM

Hey Jeff,
Thank you for your comments. I was hoping you would give your assessment of the 30 second pitch.  I knew your perspective would open our eyes.  From now on, any 30 second pitch I do will include "Our customers have told us that their number one concern is...."  Jim

Posted by: Krishna Perkins | February 3 2009 6:29 PM

Great post. This is something my team should be working on a weekly basis.  Keep it up!

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