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Answer This Question at 3 am or Go Back to the Drawing Board

Let’s say it’s the middle of the night.  An alarm bell rings out, the lights come on, and you’re jostled awake.

Would you be able to deliver your elevator speech in a completely natural and compelling way that flows out of you as easily as you can recite your own name, address, and phone number?


Congratulations.  You get a gold star and can move on to our second article below.


Hmmm … then I have to ask … why not?

Your elevator speech … what I prefer to call your positioning statement … is your calling card.  It’s the verbal representation of your brand.  It tells the world who you are, what you have to offer, and what makes you stand out in a sea of competition.

You really don’t want to fumble and stumble your way through it.

What I’ve been noticing lately is there are a lot of folks who can’t answer the question, “So what do you do?”  When I ask it, I often hear papers rattling as the person is trying to look up what they once wrote, but haven’t retained and ingrained in memory.

For you to be successful, you have to be able to articulate in clean, crisp, and enthusiastic fashion … who you are professionally, what target market you serve, and what tangible benefits you provide to your clients.

If any of those things aren’t clear to your listener, you can’t blame them for not engaging and showing interest.  They have to “hear” themselves in your description and they have to want what you have to offer.

Absent those two conditions being met, there’s no spark, no connection.  Don’t be surprised if people … even perfect prospective clients … politely move on.

My message here is simple.  Once you decide on a target market, develop your positioning statement, putting special focus on the benefits.  Once you’ve created your positioning statement, learn it.  Once you’ve learned it, play with it, and craft your delivery of it until it just sings … until it lands for people like a key going into a lock and turning.

Repeat it over and over till speaking it becomes automatic … second nature … and so natural it seems like you’re coming up with the words off the top of your head.

Own it like you own a muscle reflex.

Just the right words spoken in just the right way.  That’s what you’re after.  Anything less won’t get you the results you want.

My advice?  Don’t be casual about this and think that however you speak your positioning statement is okay.  It isn’t.  Language matters.  Delivery matters.  Precision matters.

Work at perfecting it!


The Rest of the Story

A consistent theme of mine is don’t negotiate or cut your prices.  I understand the various positive intentions that can drive the decision to reduce your fees but resist the urge.

Recently, I told you the story of how we’d had a request from some folks who had rented our condo in Mexico … and treated it like their own … to give them a discount on a six-month “winter” rental based on some financial stresses they were dealing with.

I politely declined to do it … at the risk of losing out on the income from that “bird in the hand.”

Turns out that trusting my instincts proved to be the right thing to do.  Soon after, we signed a rental agreement with a lovely couple for three months.  This three-month rental will provide close to the same dollar amount as the sixth-month rental!  And the best part is we have the extra months still open for rental … or for our own enjoyment!

The place is worth what it’s worth.  We trusted that to be true, acted in accordance, and it’s paying off.

It’s not as if you’ll never lose business by holding to your prices and declining to negotiate, but there are a lot of people out there who want and need what you have to offer.  Don’t sell yourself short by selling yourself cheap.  

Trust that, if you do a good enough job of positioning yourself in the marketplace, as we talked about above, your peeps will find you and they’ll be willing to pay what you charge for the life-changing benefits you provide.

Best Wishes,



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Meet Denise: Denise Hedges is a Business Development Coach and Speaker Coach for small business owners who want to be more comfortable, confident, and successful with their sales and marketing efforts. She specializes in helping them use speaking as a way to dramatically improve their results!