Michelle Golden is a terrific resource. She advises professional services firms (e.g., accounting and law) on growth. She is extremely well regarded, annually making the Accounting Today list of Top 100 Most Influential People. I feel fortunate indeed that we are friends.
In the following video, Michelle teaches us how to make a meaningful connection with someone upon first meeting. She points out that the traditional elevator speech doesn’t work and shouldn’t be used.
When asked, “What do you do?,” some of us succinctly provide a one or two word self-description. Mine is, “I’m an accounting professor.” Knowing that most people ask only out of politeness or as a means to break the silence, I never provide details. After the predictable, “Oh, that’s a really tough subject,” or “I hated that course with an unrivaled passion,” this topic shuts down and perhaps we continue talking about something else.
For many of my readers, though, making a contact that could lead to a potential sale is extremely important. So the traditional sales guru recommendation is to launch into a rehearsed elevator speech. I’ll do this if I want someone to read The Summa.
Michelle Golden says that a typical elevator speech epitomizes everything that is wrong with marketing today. It is like product marketing, which is far different from services marketing. The elevator speech broadcasts a message, “Buy me.” And most people shrink back or shut down from such a message. She calls it spam. The elevator speech delivers information at the wrong time and place is therefore irrelevant to the listener. She says that the elevator speech does nothing to build trust.
Michelle continues on. She says that what you want to communicate is you can help other the other person. And this can only be done if you first find out more about the other person. I like this thought, shifting the focus from self to the other person.
Michelle Golden recommends these five questions to help get the other person to open up:
- Where to you work?
- What inspired you to go into that?
- What do you like about what you do?
- What was that like when you started doing that?
- How do you approach something that you are doing now?
She says that often the person will reciprocate by asking you questions. This is where telling personal stories comes in. And by telling a story relevant to the other person (because you know about them), you often get a chance to help them. And that gives you a chance to stay connected.
Michelle Golden is a fantastic resource, and you should watch her video.
Debit and credit – - David Albrecht