Last time around we talked about that "teachable moment," when someone asks, “What do you do?” That's the moment of opportunity to build your Word Of Mouth Woodworking Business.

But you must be ready with a strong statement - and one that you can deliver quickly - that creates a memorable mental picture of your company you are missing future custom cabinetry and interiors jobs. We call that the "elevator speech." Short, sweet and going right to the heart of your woodworking expertise.

Now, if you love building wood furniture with no particleboard and solid hardwood from local sources, you could just say: “I build furniture.” (Boring!)

Or, you could leave a stronger message in your network by saying; “I build and design free flowing furniture from solid hardwoods found right here in town.” If you get a little more time and attention, you can expand on it and add: “We never use particleboard, or formaldehyde glues. We are the only green furniture maker within six states.”

Maybe your strength is your delivery instead of your product. Instead of just saying: “We build cabinets,” leave a strong mental picture with this:

 â€œWe are the fastest cabinetmaker in town. We design, build, deliver and install cabinets in three weeks. We are the FedEx of cabinets.”

Never miss an opportunity to promote your strengths. Always leave people with a strong image of who you are and what you do. The mental picture of being artistic, green or fast will stick in their minds. They will remember it and recall your company long after they met you.

When you have finally found your strength, work on focusing it into the Elevator Speech. The elevator speech is a 30 second memorable summary of what you do that can easily be given in a limited time. When you are introduced to someone in an elevator for example. The elevator speech also works well when leaving voice mails
for prospects.

  • Make it memorable, so the prospect has a hard time forgetting your company.
  • After you have your elevator speech down it will be easy to distill it into one sentence.
  • The sentence needs to be something that the prospect can easily relate too and again remember.

My neighbor is a lumber broker and he has his elevator speech and sentence down pat. The speech goes into how he buys lumber from small sawmills and helps them by selling it to the large users throughout the country. He makes the connections that they can’t.

He talks about his freight rates and team of people that get the best freight rates in the market. When people ask him what he does for a living, he sums it up in one sentence:

  •  â€œI buy and sell hundreds of truckloads of lumber.”

Not only is it simple, memorable, and easy to understand, it is also defining. You know that he is interested in volume and in full truckloads. This is the guy to call when you have a big job.

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

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