Every person that asks, “What do you do?” is an opportunity for you to build your Word Of Mouth Woodworking Business. If you are not ready with a strong statement that creates a memorable mental picture of your company you are missing future custom cabinetry and interiors jobs.

I often find that our wood production industry is not prepared with a strong statement. When asked “What do you do?” I hear statements like, “Oh, I make things out of wood.” What does that mean? Do you make whirly-gigs and walking sticks? Are you building high-end kitchen cabinets or log homes?

The Elevator Speech is the quick prepared statement given when asked, “What do you do?” The term "Elevator Speech" comes from the concept that you can promote your business or idea to anyone in the time it takes for an elevator to go a few floors. The Elevator Speech should encapsulate your company strengths and uniqueness while creating a mental picture that is easy for the person to remember. The stronger the mental picture the better the chances they will remember you and refer you to their friends.

To decide what your speech should say, first look at your company strength. If you are having a hard time deciding what that strength might be just ask a few past customers. What did they find appealing about your work and why did they buy from you?

In my business, we have had to create the same mental picture. As independent reps we say, “Picture a roll top desk, now picture a diagram of all its parts, tambour, edging, casters, screws. . . even the glue. We sell all those parts to the woodworkers.” Notice how we create a mental picture of something the customer understands, then expand on their imagination. First the picture of a roll top desk, something they all know and see as a quality item, then the expansion into a physical diagram.

We'll come back to The Elevator Speech next time.
You can see my regular blogs right here. Or read my Wood You Buy column in Custom Woodworking Business each issue.

Editor's note: Rick Hill is a consultant specializing in woodworking companies that need to find new markets and more sales. He is also an independent sales rep and founder of WoodReps.Com, a national association of independent reps in the woodworking industry. He can be reached through his website OnPointSales.com.

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