As an entrepreneur, making that first impression is crucial. I recently saw this survey posted on 15secondpitch.com that caught my attention. According to Jim Convery at 15secondpitch.com, ” 69% of 2505 professionals said they have trouble explaining what they do, and/or feel uncomfortable pitching themselves. And, of three groups with a strong need for effective self-promotion, over one-third said they hate going to networking events and/or do not have unique business cards.”
Laura is the co-founder of 15secondpitch and has been featured in number of publications and television shows, including ABC News. Here is an exclusive 4entrepreneur interview with Laura Allen
4entrepreneur: What is a 15SecondPitch?
Laura Allen: The 15SecondPitch is a clear, concise and compelling way to explain who you are and what you do in just 15 seconds. We live in a very exciting time when people are also extremely busy. If you don’t grab their attention in the first 15 seconds, you’ve lost them for good.
4entrepreneur: What motivated you to come up with this idea?
LA: What I noticed in 2002, when my partner Jim Convery and I started the business was that many people had a lot of trouble answering the question, “So, what do you do?” Over the years, I found that the people who were great at networking and connecting with others were the people who always had a great job, they never had to look for more clients and they generally had a much easier time making things happen for themselves. I realized that most of my peers were having trouble landing a job and the 15SecondPitch helps with that!
4entrepreneur: What is the secret to developing a powerful & effective pitch?
LA: We walk people through the 4 Key Steps of creating a great 15SecondPitch using a tool we developed called the Pitch Wizard. Your users can see this for themselves by clicking the link in “Box # 2” on our homepage. I’ve met a lot of people who don’t like networking, so I figured if we made it easier to answer this question, we’d make it easier for people to relax and have a better time at networking events. I know that I used to struggle every time someone asked me what I did for a living, because I used to give the “Jack of All Trades” pitch where I would tell you everything I’d ever done in my life. That was exhausting for me, and especially for the people who had to listen to it!
4entrepreneur: What are some of the differences in strategy when it comes to developing a15SecondPitch for a large corporation versus for an individual entrepreneur?
LA: When I work with individuals, I am entirely focused on helping them achieve their goals. Sometimes they need to find a new job, so we craft a pitch and individual marketing strategy that helps them achieve that. When I work with small business owners, we usually focus on making more sales. When I work with a large corporation, the pitches are still highly individualized, however, I also need to make sure that the pitches follow standard corporate message guidelines. “Corporate” pitches can be very successful!! Imagine if you worked at one of the top Wall Street firms or one of the most creative ad agencies? These companies have spent billions of dollars on making sure people know about them. Then, when you meet someone who works there, they get to talk about What Makes Them the Best at what they do, in the context of working for a large company that most people have heard of.
4entrepreneur: How do you measure the effectiveness of your pitch?
LA: First, ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish with this pitch?” Do you want to take the VP of marketing to lunch because you’d like to work at his or her company in the future? Do you want to meet new and interesting people to expand your social and professional network? Do you want to make more cold calls during the day? Do you want to make more sales or attract more clients? Figure out exactly what you’d like to happen and then craft your pitch. You also need to actually go out and TEST your pitch. Do people understand what you do? Are they excited about talking to you? Do they seem to be running for the exits? Pay attention to how people are responding to you, and tweak your pitch accordingly.
4entrepreneur: Do you recommend any free resources online for entrepreneurs – to prepare an effective pitch on their own?
LA: I always recommend the 15SecondPitch.com Pitch Wizard, of course! It’s a great way to get your started with your pitch. I recommend that people go test out their pitch at a local Meetup http://www.meetup.com group. There are so many excellent meetup groups all over the country and many of them are free. This is a great low-risk way to see how your pitch works.
4entrepreneur: For entrepreneurs and businesses who are interested in seeking professional services from your company, how can they contact you? What are some of the types of services that you and/or your company offer?
LA: The best way to reach me is via email at: laura@15SecondPitch.com. I spend a lot of time on the phone doing 90 minute sessions with my clients, so I am able to respond to people much faster via email. We’re doing a great promotion now called the Entrepreneur’s Package:
For people who want a “pay as you go” option, I offer $149. phone sessions. We’ll also be releasing a series of information products shortly and also offering a series of teleseminars.
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