Sunday, March 01, 2015

The Business Chat - So what do you do?

“So what do you do?”

It seems like a simple question, doesn’t it. 

Imagine you get into an elevator in an office building with a bicycle courier and he asks “what do you do?” By the time he gets off, he should know who you are, what your company is and what your company does.  

It is your job to communicate what you sell to your customers. This is called marketing. If they don’t know what you sell then they aren’t going to buy it. And remember, your work is your product. As a hand made maker, you are also selling you, the maker. 

It’s a big job, telling people what you sell. Where do you start? Let’s start with our bicycle courier in an elevator. 

Telling him, “I make jewellery” isn’t good enough. Jewellery can be anything. Do you make high-end diamond and gold jewellery, nose rings or hemp bracelets? Telling him, “I really like to make earrings and some necklaces too” isn’t good enough. Think earrings. What mental image do you have? Probably it’s a different image from that of the bicycle courier. 

I’ll repeat again, if you don’t have an image fixed in a customers mind of your product, you won’t pop up on their mental radar screen when they are thinking of buying more jewellery.
Your "elevator pitch" must be clear and concise. It's not easy to develop an "elevator pitch." It takes quite a bit of thinking and practicing to decide which aspects of your business to mention. Even more frustrating, because an elevator pitch MUST be short, you have to decide what parts to leave out.

For a jeweller, saying “I make earrings” doesn’t give the listener much of a mental image.  A better elevator speech could be,  “I make jewellery inspired by nature, using silver and semi-precious stones.” Notice you haven’t defined every piece you make, however the listener has a feeling about your work. 

An elevator speech isn’t something you can sit down and just whip up. As you develop your jewellery style, come back to this over and over. It will evolve along with your work.  Here’s how to start working on your elevator speech. Every time you sit down and make work, jot down on a notepad the following:

  • 5 adjectives that describe your work
  • 5 words that your jewelry makes you feel
Like everything I advocate in your business, remember to KISS: keep it simple, smart. 
Again, let me ask you this, what do you sell? 

Next week we’ll talk about other ways of communicating what you do. 

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