SCP Marketing

Developing a Pitch Perfect One Liner

We live in an age where the human attention span is literally decreasing year-to-year.  In fact, research shows that from 2000 to 2015, the human attention span shrank by a whopping 25%.  Today, it’s alleged that most internet users have an attention span of 8-12 seconds.  We’re so conditioned to juggle and multi-task, it’s fair to say that many of us lack the ability to really focus. 

A time where we’ve really learned to tune out and put the blinders on is when companies try to pitch us or promote themselves.  Blame modern advertising and social media!  We have been completely overwhelmed and our basic response is to shut down.  So, what does this mean for business owners out there that trying to pitch new customers?

Simply this; you have less time than you think.  You need to be able to say what you do CLEARLY and QUICKLY.  If you can’t, potential customers will stop listening.  It’s that simple. 

This is why so many marketers are pushing companies to develop “one liners” or statements that effectively accomplish these core things:

  • Tell me what problem you solve.
  • Tell me who you solve it for.
  • Tell me how you do it.
  • Tell me how it feels afterward. 

Just spell it out for me and don’t you dare make me think about it!

Learn to Say the Most, with the Least

Thankfully, there is a process you can follow as a business owner to get clarity here.  I like to think of it as learning to say the most with the least. 

Here’s what you’ll need to do – download our one liner progress tracker, read this article, and work through the steps.  As you complete your steps you’ll check them off in the progress tracker.  When we’re done, you’re going to have a great one liner that you can use when you talk to people, on your website, and in your marketing.

Quick TiP

Before we start, take self-judgment and throw it out the window.  This is not an exercise in perfection.  This is an exercise in making progress, making revisions, getting feedback, and finally zeroing in on the perfect words that you’ll get to speak to your next customer, and they’ll say, “Oh man, I get it.  I want to work with you!”

SEE

IDENTIFY AND WRITE DOWN WHO YOU SERVE.  This is the time to zero in on your ideal client (the people you want to work with and do your best work with).  Let’s say you are a CPA.  The people you serve may be small business owners with revenue of less than $500,000.  You want to get specific here so you can speak authentically to that ideal client.  In this example, the frustrations a small business owner will have when it comes to their finances will be far different than a large corporation.  So, you want to get into the mind of that exact persona.

Answer:  I serve small business owners.  

IDENTIFY AND WRITE DOWN YOUR CUSTOMERS BIGGEST PROBLEMS.  Think historically; what problems do your ideal customers come to you with over and over again?  For example, using the CPA example, you may write:

Answer:  Small business owners juggle many roles and do not have the time to deal with taxes and financial planning.  For many, it’s just overwhelming and they are worried about making mistakes that could cost them money.  They also worry about making mistakes that could lead to them getting audited.  They want to grow financially and just don’t have the time or energy to put much work into their financial planning.  They struggle with trusting people when it comes to financial matters and sometimes have a hard time letting go.  Conversations around money are overwhelming for my customers.  

ZERO IN ON THE ONE BIG PROBLEM YOU SOLVE.  You may be able to solve all the problems that you listed in the step above.  However, it’s best to focus on the one problem you know you can solve, solve well, and solve quickly.  Think about a problem you know you could solve in your sleep because it’s a problem you’ve solved repeatedly for your customers in the past.  Using the CPA example, your response may look like this:

Answer:  I help small businesses owners avoid tax mistakes that cost them money.

WRITE DOWN HOW YOU SOLVE THAT ONE BIG PROBLEM.  What skills, services, or processes do you employ?  What is the solution you offer to solve your customers’ problem?  The CPA may write:

Answer:  My firm is different in that we rely on monthly planning and check-ins to accurately forecast and prepare our clients tax returns.  There are never any surprises and we can better prepare for any unplanned financial circumstances that may arise through this regular communication.

WRITE DOWN HOW YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL FEEL.  You want to appeal to customers on an emotional level because while they need to know what you do and how you do it, what will really stick with them is how they’ll feel after working with you.  What will life be like after you solves this big problem they’ve been carrying around for so long?  Back to the CPA example, the response many be:

Answer:  customers feel peace of mind and in control of their finances.  They sleep better!

CREATE

Congratulations, you’ve made it this far and some of the heavy lifting is done.  Now, you get to create your one liner following the pitch perfect templates and the details from the steps you completed above.  As tempting as it is to rush through this and create one idea, I want you to create a few.  As we go through this process, you may start to mix and match from the one liners you’ve developed or even add more ideas.  Ultimately, you’ll arrive at one idea that just sounds and feels right to you.  It will check all the boxes.  So, take your time here.

Pitch Perfect Templates

OPTION ONE:

YOUR COMPANY NAME works with IDEAL CUSTOMER to ONE BIG PROBLEM through YOUR SOLUTION, allowing them to FEELING CLIENT WILL HAVE.

OPTION TWO:

IDEAL CUSTOMER often ONE BIG PROBLEM, we solve this by YOUR SOLUTION, giving our clients FEELING CLIENT WILL HAVE.

You can play with the wording here, too.  The key is to follow the structure even if you insert/take out a few words to create a better flow.

Here are some examples using the templates above:

  • ABC Capital works with small business owners to help them avoid costly tax mistakes through monthly planning and communication, giving our clients greater peace of mind. 
  • Small business owners often worry about making big tax mistakes, we solve this problem by offering regular communication and planning so our clients feel less stress about their finances.
  • ABC Capital works with overwhelmed small business owners to alleviate tax headaches through continual communication, forecasting, and planning, allowing our clients to feel financially empowered.

STEP AWAY FOR A FEW DAYS. Now that you’ve created a few one liner ideas, it’s time to step away.  You read that right.  Often times, we put so much focus and energy into creating that we just want to be done.  However, all great writers will tell you the first draft is never the final draft.  So, step away for a few days and let your mind get clear again.

NARROW IT DOWN TO ONE IDEA.  After you’ve had a few days, re-read your one liners and decide which one feels the strongest to you. Now is a great time to share the ideas with people you trust who can give you honest feedback. Ask them which one liner feels the strongest, is the most concise, and tells them who you serve, the problem you solve, how you solve it, and how your customers are going to feel. 

EDIT TO SAY MORE WITH LESS. When it comes to one liners and sharing what we do with the world, remember that pesky problem – limited human attention span.  Spend more time with the one liner you chose and see if you can trim it down a bit.  Are all those words really necessary?  Ask your team, family, and close friends if they think it could be shorter?  Could certain words be swapped out to make it more concise? 

For example, let’s say the CPA selected the one-liner below:

ABC Financial works with overwhelmed small business owners to alleviate tax headaches through continual communication, forecasting, and planning, allowing our clients to feel financially empowered.

This may be further edited to now say:

ABC Financial partners with small business owners, alleviating their tax headaches with regular tax planning sessions that allow them to feel financially empowered.

PROMOTE

Most of the work is done now, but you’ll still want to check a few more boxes to make sure you have that pitch perfect one liner.

MEMORIZE IT.  This is the true test of whether or not you’ve said the most with the least.  If you can easily memorize and recite your one liner, you’re in great shape.  It really should be that short and sweet.

SHARE WITH PEOPLE YOU TRUST (TEAM, FRIENDS, AND FAMILY).  DO THEY UNDERSTAND IT?  It is time to test drive your one new one liner with people you trust the most and who will be honest with their feedback.  Remember when I said earlier this is a project geared toward progress, not perfection?  Well, by sharing your new one liner, you may get some additional feedback that will help you apply those “just right” finishing touches.  

SHARE WITH A FEW CUSTOMERS.  DO THEY UNDERSTAND IT?  After you’ve shared your new one liner with people in your close circle, consider sharing it with a few of your long-time clients.  Do they find that your one liner is easy to understand?  Better yet, do they feel it speaks to them or accurately conveys what you do for them?  If so, you’re 100% on the right track.

REFINE.  Finally, give yourself permission to revisit and refine your one liner from time to time.  It may change as you change or your business changes.  This is a message that should and can evolve with your company.

Quick TiP

Once you have a one-liner, it's going to be much easier to come up with a tagline or more condensed version of what you do. Taglines are meant to be expressions of your purpose or mission. You can use the work you've done here to hone in on what your company's real purpose is. What is the big take away for your client? For example, at SCP, our purpose is to help our clients transform, be authentic, and look good. Our tagline is "Making Brands Look Great." It works because it's very basic, all memorable taglines are!

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