How is Your Gas Pump Pitch?

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Most residential HVAC and home performance contractors don’t spend a lot of time in elevators. But they are likely to stop to put gas in the vehicle from time to time. In the particular way he always captures the vernacular, Chandler von Schrader at EPA suggested that we shouldn’t be talking about an “elevator pitch” in this industry—it should be a “gas pump pitch”.

But the idea is the same. The gas pump pitch is an excellent marketing tool in which you tell your story in 30-60 seconds. You’ll find it is very useful to have in your tool belt, whether you’re talking to potential customers (anyone who owns a home in your service territory!), vendors, and potential partners.

The concept of crafting a concise piece–focusing on a specific target audience, carefully considering your message including your company’s differentiators, and considering the call to action (which might be as simple as enticing someone to take the next step in your conversation)–can be helpful in many ways in your business. With CSRs explaining your participation in a rebate program. With sales advisors in a home. And so much more.

The eight tips below can help you craft a gas pump pitch that engages people, a pitch they’ll remember and respond to.

1. It’s not about you.

People want to know what you can do for them. Explain how your unique solution is the answer to one of your audience’s needs. Focus on the benefits you provide, not the widgets or expertise that you bring.

2. Keep it short and sweet.

That 30 second constraint is a good one to help you focus and leave out the details that don’t matter (yet) to your audience. Keep it concise.

3. Dump the jargon.

No cfm50, CAZ, or BTU. Use language that the average person in your audience is going to understand. You’ll lose folks as soon as you start with the energy-geek-speak or technobabble. You want to be certain people will understand how you can help them by the time you’re finished, even if they have never even heard of home performance

4. One size does not fit all.

Talking with a homeowner is different than talking with a vendor or a bank manager. Remember, the gas pump pitch is about their needs, not yours. And your pitch has to address those needs.

5. Differentiate.

Don’t be afraid to tell people how you’re better than the rest. (Not using the word “better”!) Let them know what you’re bringing to the table and how it’s different that the same ol’ same ol’.

6. Be Consistent

Your gas pump pitch should send the same messages as your brand and the rest of your marketing. And everyone in the company should be able to deliver the message—conversationally and in their own voice.

7. End with a call to action.

What do you want the customer to do? Call? Email? Go to your website? Remember, though, you can’t push too hard here unless you’ve been invited to. Sometimes the call to action is just a question to continue the conversation and build the relationship further.

8. Practice, Practice, Practice!

You don’t want you or your coworkers to sound like robots reading from a script. You’ve got to be comfortable with the message and delivering it so that it comes to you like natural conversation. And the only way to do it is to practice. Out loud. Practicing in front of a mirror is OK. It’s even better to practice in the office, listen to others’ pitches, and get and give feedback.

Here’s an exercise that you can use to help explain and practice this with everyone back in the office. In training sessions, this is often cited as one of the most useful exercises we do. Maybe it’s time to give it a try.


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About the Author:

Mike Rogers is the President of OmStout Consulting. A nationally recognized expert in residential energy-efficiency, he works with contractors and programs to scale sustainable market approaches to improving homes. More on Google+

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