Tips for a Killer Elevator Speech

Here are some tips for perfecting the key statement, or "elevator speech" that every book you publish needs to help prospective readers and buyers "get it.", an actual service provider that's been "helping companies get to the point and use language that matters -- and not that marketing babble into which so many executives lapse when asked the simple question, 'What do you do?'" These tips also work for crafting a good answer to the question, "What is your book about?"

Step One: Shoot yourself. An elevator speech is frequently buried beneath jargon and self-promotional language. One way to remove all that excess language is to videotape yourself talking about your book. Is your speech concise? Is it compelling? The camera will tell.

Step Two: Develop your story. In truth, no one really cares about you and your book; they care about what it can do for them. Do you sell cars? No, you help families stay safe on wet and slippery roads. Are you an accountant? No, you help businesses make sure Uncle Sam doesn’t get too much of their money. Do you write books about computers? No, you save companies money and time using computers. It’s all about benefits to the prospective customer.

Step Three: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Keeping things short and simple is always preferable. If they're short, simple and in plain language that's even better. For a great example of meaningless babble, watch the video on the home page. The bottom line is that if you can't tell your story in plain language, you can't tell your story at all.

Step Four: Practice. It sounds simple enough but almost no one does it. Practice your elevator speech out loud. In the bathroom mirror, in the shower, in the car, on your morning walk, into your voicemail at work. That way, you get used to the rhythms of your speech; you understand what to emphasize and what to edit out.

Step Five: Be explicit. Examples are the lingua franca of elevator speeches. They illustrate broad business strategies. Use them early and use them often. When it comes to making people care, you have to get granular. When you have an audience whose attention span is measured in nanoseconds, you've got to be as concrete as possible.

Step Six: Pass the "So What?" test. Before you release your elevator speech into the wild world, take a moment to sanity check what you're saying and how you're saying it. Does the language you've chosen pass the "So What? Who cares?" test? Is the way you're saying it effective? Without good language and effectively delivery your elevator speech won't be effective.

Step Seven: Brevity. Get right to the point. Remember, you’ve got 30 seconds or less.

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John Kremer’s Marvelous Book Marketing Strategies

Git-er-Done NOW Book Marketing Tip #1 – Develop a 25-Word Key Statement
Welcome to Marvelous Book Marketing Strategies, a new monthly column based on book marketing expert John Kremer’s 24-Point Book Marketing Action List, a list John compiled specially for the participants in his Book Marketing Blast-Off seminars. The actions on the list range from writing press releases and networking, to contacting Oprah and getting to know your bank’s president. The underlying value of the list may be that it encourages you – the independent author and/or publisher – to focus on ACTION. As an independent author, self-publisher, or owner of a small publishing house, it all depends on YOU and your ability to GET THE JOB DONE. Self-promotion, guerilla marketing, and effective networking strategies are all vital elements of getting the BUZZ for yourself and your books that lead to SALES.

Each month we’ll list one of John Kremer’s Marketing Action suggestions, and elaborate a bit on why it’s important and how to make each action happen effectively and efficiently. Prepare to TAKE ACTION, IMPROVE YOUR MARKETING, and SELL MORE BOOKS!

Book Marketing Action Tip #1:“Develop a 25-word key statement for every book you publish.”

“This key statement should tell what the book is about and, at the same time, motivate the targeted audience to buy the book. This is the statement your sales reps will use in selling your book into bookstores, the chains, and other retailers. This is the key sound byte you will use in describing your book to radio or TV audiences. This statement will be used as the basis for your news releases, catalog copy, sales brochures, and direct mail letters. Make it good.”

Everyone who’s ever been in sales, whether it’s been commercial real estate or a hot dog stand, knows you need a great sales pitch – a quick summation of your product to convey its best feature and describe its main benefit to the customer. “This storefront has the most walk-by traffic downtown!” or “Our dogs are pure beef, with no rat droppings!” In order to sell, you must be able to pitch with style. This is VERY important with a book, because a book’s selling points are hard to identify, hidden as they are in a mass of words and pages.

Not only is your book’s “elevator speech” important during media interviews and pitches to buyers, but a great 25-worder can come in handy at unexpected times. You never know when a new opportunity might arise: a casual meeting at a party, a conversation in the Starbucks line, and yes, even during an elevator ride. So, write it well and have it down perfectly. Make sure it captures the spirit of your book in a compelling way, and expresses how it sparks people emotionally. How will it inspire the reader? What problem does it solve?

It may sound like a cliché, but the “Book A meets Book B” approach -- “It’s like Wuthering Heights meets Good in Bed” -- might be a good thing to develop as well. People can easily visualize and often respond to classics they’re familiar with. Try it with movies, too: “It’s like Forrest Gump meets Pirates of the Caribbean.” You never know when you might run into Steven Spielberg in an elevator…

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Want to get all 24 of these book marketing tips now? John Kremer’s 24-Point Book Marketing Action List is available for $5 at his Open Horizons company website. See order form here.

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