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The Power of the 10-Second Sound Bite

The Power of the 10-Second Sound Bite

April 23, 2008

Create a powerful phrase for your business that will stick with your prospects

Do you have a sound bite for your business?

Most people know what a sound bite is from TV news. It's the short video or audio clip the news media runs, with a comment from a leader or celebrity. Some of the most famous sound bites include President Richard Nixon's statement, 'I'm not a crook.' Or President John F. Kennedy's statement: 'Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.' Or Neil Armstrong's famous statement when he walked on the moon: 'That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.'

They are memorable sentences or phrases that stay with us and help define an event or even a period in history.

Your business should also have a short, 10-second sound bite. It's more than a catch phrase or a slogan. It's something you can hang your hat on. It's something completely memorable that enables you to maintain top-of-mind positioning, so that when someone thinks about your product or service, they think about you.

It should be short. If you cannot say your sound bite in 10 seconds or less, you have a problem with your offer.

Your sound bite is kind of like a big red nose. If you were to meet someone while standing in line and he were wearing a big red nose, it doesn't matter what he would say or what he would do ' all you would remember is that goofy red nose. That's a negative impression; however, you need to have something just as memorable, so that when they walk away, they remember. It should be something simple, to the point, enticing, and powerful.

Some people refer to this as your 'Elevator Speech.' Whatever you do and whatever your benefits are, you should be able to say it within the time it takes to ride three floors on an elevator. Some business coaches light a match and tell their clients to give their business pitch ' and finish it ' by the time the match burns down to their fingers. We like to consider the same thing as a sound bite.

It's all about simplifying the essence of your business to be able to multiply it. The shorter and more succinct your sound bite is, the more memorable and profitable it is.

What are some of the biggest problems with sound bites?

Most people create what is basically a laundry list. They list the many things that they can do: 'We provide appliances, we service appliances, we deliver . . .'

In other words, they meander. These people simply list facts as opposed to giving answers to unspoken questions. If you are doing this, you sound and look like everybody else. You might use the general statement, 'We repair, sell and maintain office equipment.' If you're a loan officer you might say, 'I'm in the mortgage business.' Or if you're a realtor, you might say, 'I buy and sell houses.' Try instead to make a specific promise or solution.

Sometimes, business owners don't want to get too specific for fear that their audience won't appreciate and understand what they do. Or, they feel they may risk alienating others. So they make broad, sweeping statements: We are in financial service software management. Huh? Just watch the eyes glaze over.

Examples of 10 second sound bites and their retakes

Bad: 'I sell fish.'
Better: 'I sell fish entrees that help seniors improve their eyesight by two solid points simply by eating dinner in my restaurant.'

Bad: 'I'm a real estate agent; I help people buy and sell houses.'
Better: 'Most home owners trying to sell their houses here in Carroll County can't do it without losing equity. I have a guaranteed 10-step program that works 100% of the time or I buy the house.'

Bad: 'I'm in the mortgage business.'
Better: 'I have a guaranteed four-step process for baby boomers to help them unlock the hidden assets in their home ' without risk ' to build passive wealth streams as they grow older.'