I attended a networking event with small business leaders from the area mostly discussing the economy (with an occasional vacation plans tangent).  As we introduced ourselves, I paid close attention to how each introduced his/her company to me.  As you can expect, some were more straightforward than others, namely finance, investment, and legal.  Others varied widely in scope and clarity.  I saw more weak introductions than I would have expected—people struggling to concisely present what they do without staggering.

Try this—you have 8 seconds to tell me what your company does, go… How did you do?  Did it come out effortlessly? Did you stumble for the right words? Did you take 3 minutes? If you asked 5 different people in your company to do this, would you get a consistent message from each of them?

If you’re struggling with any of this, you’re not alone. This is not an easy task. You have to incorporate several elements about your company and do so in a way that leaves the listener open to hearing more. Of course, it is not possible to completely encapsulate everything that you provide to your customers in 8 seconds—that’s not the point. The point is to quickly set the stage and scope of what industries you serve, what products/services you provide, and most importantly, why customers come to you. If you get this right, your prospect should say “Wow, OK, that’s interesting. Tell me more.”  If you get it wrong, there is usually no follow on commentary or questioning.

Consider these key ingredients:

A = Key product/service

B = Primary use by your customers, active benefit

C = Secondary, passive benefit, such as revenue savings, something that impacts your customers or even their customers

As in, “We provide ___(A)___ that helps our customers ___(B)___ while also doing ___(C)___.”  For example: “We provide cloud-based commercial cleaning software that helps our customers profitably manage contracts, resources, and cleaning staff while providing advanced on-premise inspection and quality assurance to their clients.”  For some, maybe a bit wordy, but focused and on target.

Gather your customer-facing staff and try this exercise.  It’s well worth your time.  With the right opening introduction delivered well, you will surely hear your prospect ask to learn more.