If put on the spot to give a succinct elevator pitch about your company, how well can you do it? I’m talking about trying to impress a potential new client in two or maybe three sentences max.
Can you explain to a stranger what it is you do for a living and how your company is different from say, Best Buy?
It’s a problem that ADI’s business development manager for residential AV Randy Blanchard has observed from every integration companhy he’s visited.
“Whenever I meet a dealer for the first time, which is often as I cover all of North America, I ask them to give me the commercial on their company. It amazes me how many dealers can’t do it. They either say, ‘we carry this or we carry that,’ but rarely can they tell me about their brand, what they do, and what is their value statement to their customers.”
I know what Randy means because I face the same challenge myself as a journalist that writes about this industry. To keep it simple, I try to get away with, “I’m a magazine editor,” and because that profession is less common where I live, I usually get an extra curious, “Reaaaalllly? For what publication?” That’s when not only do I have explain what a B2B trade magazine is (“No, you can’t find it on the newsstand), but what the heck Residential Systems covers. That’s when I try to make an elevator pitch about custom integrators and our “industry,” which isn’t what most people would actually call an “industry.”
Then I feel your elevator pitch pain.
It used to be all about home theater, but now it’s more about home networking and multiroom audio systems. It’s really hard to avoid dropping in name brands (“Our magazine and website are written for and about custom integrators. They’re sort of like Best Buy for rich people”) or oversimplifying what services custom integrators provide (“home technology” could mean HVAC systems and blenders… but “consumer electronics” doesn’t sound right either.) I know that not all of your clients are “rich people,” but “luxury” is an easier way to differentiate your quality of service from DIY retail offerings.
I think the real key is not sounding bored by what seems like old hat to you. The best elevator pitches that I’ve heard carry the passion of the person running the CI business. “Home Technology and consumer electronics are constantly changing. It is our job to be the experts, so you don’t have to one when it comes time to seamlessly blend audio and video products into your networked home.”
To borrow from Resi blogger Heather Sidorowicz, “You’re no longer the home theater company or the AV guys or even a service company. You are a technologist. Dictionary. com describes a technologist as ‘a person that specializes in technology.’ Isn’t that you?”
But, of course, it’s more than that. You’re not just an adviser; you would eventually like to be invited into a home to design and install an integrated system.
I can understand why that might be hard to say in just a few sentences.