How do you tell your value story in 5 minutes?
A good 5-minute value pitch mostly talks about your audience's needs. Never about yours. The first return on investment you will ever demonstrate to a client is the ROI on those 5 minutes of their time.
If you waste their time, they will assume you will waste their money.
It has happened to many of us. You have a great idea to improve business. It will add significant value and improve people's lives, and you finally have an audience with the client, a boss, or maybe the board. They've got 5 minutes for you. What will you say?
The example may sound extreme, but I believe we only ever have 5 minutes to make our point. After that time, you either have their attention, or you lost them. Five minutes is the new elevator pitch, and it's everywhere. Let me talk about three different approaches to structuring a presentation like that.
A great example of 5-minute delivery is a typical investor pitch. VCs make startups do these in a speed dating format.
The typical VC pitch goes something like this:
- Here's the big world problem we're solving.
- Here's our unique solution for solving that problem.
- Here's the traction we're getting - proof that customers are interested.
- Here's the amazing team we have and
- here's how we will spend your money.
That's pretty much it.
There is nothing wrong with the Shark Tank approach to a value pitch. It's focused more on getting an idea funded than improving a business. But Otherwise, it has all the elements needed for a great value story, as we will cover shortly.
My second example of a structure is from my consulting days. As our managing partner said, if you cannot make your point in 5 minutes, you don't have a point. Before every client presentation, the partner made us summarize our Prezi in 5 minutes. Let me tell you. You get very clear on your message if you do that a few times. Try a hundred times.
I still remember his questions before client meetings.
1) What are the biggest problems the clients want to solve?
2) Who had the same challenges, and how did they overcome them?
3) What value did they get in the end?
4) What we help this client to produce the same result?
5) What resources are needed to ensure success?
Over time it became second nature to get the essence of that storyline in 5 minutes.
A good 5-minute value pitch mostly talks about your audience's needs. Never about yours. The first return on investment you will ever demonstrate to a client is the ROI on those 5 minutes of their time. If you waste their time, they will assume you will waste their money.
So, how should you develop your 5-minute value story?
First, you have to be clear on what problems you are solving.
For me, problems sound negative, so I call them performance gaps—a gap between where they are and where they want to be.
Value creation is nothing more than closing that performance gap.
So you always start with a performance gap. The client would like to accomplish something, and they are not there yet. That's the gap, and you are here to help them close that gap. You show them how others have done the same. Preferably with your help.
So here is the flow I recommend for every 5-minute value story:
1) Big Bold Statement - We can close your performance gap
- if you need to improve same-store sales by $100M, I have a way to get you to $80M growth or
- If you are trying to reduce indirect spend by $100M, we can get you $60M
You get the idea. Big Bold summary of your entire value pitch.
2) The Performance Gap
Show your understanding of their top objectives vs. where they are. You have to research this. It may be specific to them or the industry. Like 28% of the collection issues in the industry are because of invoice matching problems. That's what we need to fix. Do your research and pick the ones most likely to resonate.
3) What did others do?
Others with the same performance gap found a way to close them. Describe what they did. Whatever you offer better be is one of the strategies. Also, be honest - they have many ways to close the gap. Don't claim to be the only way.
4) What value did they get out of that?
They may not have gotten everything they wanted. No one does. Whatever those clients accomplished had to be significant. No one wants to hear about an effort with marginal returns.
5) We can help get you a similar value
Whether you are pitching your client or your boss - you want them to want to make the change and have you do it. Now is the time to talk about what's unique about you, your team, and your offerings.
6) Why take action now?
Even if we know we must do something, we must prioritize it over something else calling for our attention. Urgency is the ultimate motivator. Why is this action urgent? Could be many reasons:
Your competition is doing it. Your industry peers are; it would free up resources or budgets. We have the time to do it; You still have the budget, or your customers are complaining.
Getting your message across clearly is critical to getting buy-in for the change you are suggesting.
Practicing it will make you a better communicator, and the 5-minute value story will become second nature.