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#332: Using a Mind Map to Prepare Your Elevator Speech

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2010
For all the discussion about having a perfect elevator speech, I consider them worthless. Each person you talk to has a different perspective and warrants a customized view of your services. Why have a stock speech?

Let's consider what the "elevator speech" is intended to do. It is a way to focus on the vital few elements of your value proposition so that you can quickly express them. It does not mean that this is the only content you can or should have to describe who you are or what you can do. It certainly does not mean that you expect the conversation to end once the elevator speech is over. In fact, you want the conversation to expand, and this is where people who only prepare a single elevator speech lose out.

Are you ready for the (hopefully) inevitable question from a prospect? Are you prepared to address any aspect of your speech? One way to prepare is to create a mindmap of your elevator speech. For each element (e.g., geography, discipline, industry, client type, pricing, consulting philosophy, past clients, expected outcomes, contract terms, work style, proposed services) map out how you might react to a range of the prospect's follow up questions. The map can get quite big, and you will likely uncover areas you didn't expect. Now you are ready to give the elevator speech, recognizing that it is only the opening act.

Tip: Show the mindmap to your colleagues or current clients. Does it resonate with them? Do they recognize you and your firm's services? How would they follow up if you were giving them the elevator speech? What did you discover?

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  communication  marketing  prospect  sales  your consulting practice 

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John M. Strawhorn CMC says...
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Mark, I couldn't agree more. Nicely articulated, as usual. The only thing I'd add is that you want to guide the conversation as quickly and smoothly as possible to the potential prospect (or maybe a link to one) talking about their needs. That, after all, is what really interests them; the only reason they'd like to hear your speech is to decide whether you might be able to help. Then, the more you listen--really listen--the more you can pull from that mindmap the pieces and the orientation that fit (if you decide that they do). This gets you into a process of mutual discovery, which is where you want to start.
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