When was the last time you were at a networking event or a business lunch, a seminar or an exhibition?

It is inevitable that someone would have asked you: “And what do you do?”

The question is, how did you answer?

Perhaps you said: “I’m in the printing business”, or “I’m the sales manager for a software company” or “I’m a biodiversity action plan coordinator”. (I saw this job advertised in the paper and haven’t a clue what it means!)

If you are saying anything similar to this, then I want you to stop now. It is boring, it stops the conversation dead in its tracks and it does nothing to help your business.

You need a “sloggo”, an “elevator speech” or “a 16-second sizzler”.

Call it what you will, it basically means a brief description of what you do and whom you do it for.

And just in case you haven’t worked it out yet, “sloggo” is a combination of slogan and logo. It is not to be confused with Sloggi, the underwear brand, unless your sloggo turns out to be “pants”.

There must be a benefit

A sloggo needs to be a benefit statement that offers value to your customer or client. It needs to be short and punchy (10 to 20 seconds long) and encourage the other person to say: “Tell me more”.

You can have different sloggos depending on whom you are speaking to.

A sloggo is also something you would use when you call a prospective customer on the phone or leave a voice message.

It should be on your outgoing voice mail messages, business cards, brochures, letterheads, website and e-mail signature.

Practise, practise

Write out your sloggo and practise until you are comfortable with it, and it becomes part of you.

It is also important not to sound glib or smart. Your sloggo needs to come across with enthusiasm and energy. Try to associate what you do with good feelings, and appeal to the emotions.

However, once you have gained the other person’s interest, your goal is to find out about him and what his needs are.

Only then can you “tailor” what you say to suit the other person. Remember, he is not interested in all the wonderful things you do but, rather, what’s in it for him.

Examples

I like the interior decorator who says: “We are in the three bares business — we deal with bare walls, bare floors and bare ceilings.”

Or the insurance broker who says: “I buy insurance.” When questioned further, he replies: “I buy the best insurance to meet the needs of my clients.”

And mine is: “I help clients motivate their customers, motivate their staff and motivate themselves.”

I am sure you can do a lot better than that, so go create your sloggo!