How many times have you attempted to explain your software platform or application and start blubbering out a list of features before flatly declaring, ‘Well, it’s an Uber for…’
Every time you fumble with your pitch, you lose out on potential clients, investors, customers and partners. ‘Geek speak’ won’t help you scale your business to billions. So how are you going to explain deep tech to the masses?
Even if you are able to sell it to a potential customer well-versed in jargon – sales people won’t be able to sell the jargon, they need something easily digestible.
Whether you’re working on a deck, elevator pitch, sales pitch, or just talking to someone at a party – you’re going to want take the lingo down a notch.
Here are four steps to simplified success:
Before you start, think of your product, answer these questions, and look to them often for anchors.
1. Why does this exist?
Most people tell the ‘what’ before the ‘why’, and the listener loses interest. Answer the question, ‘so what?’ before some even asks it.
Let’s take a great example. If you watch HBO Silicon Valley, here is the product elevator pitch before (By the CTO, Richard) and after (The Visionary, Erlach):
The what (Richard): “Pied Piper is a loss-less middle-out compression algorithm.”
The why (Erlach): “Today’s user wants access to all of their files, from all of their devices instantly. That’s why cloud-based is the holy grail. Now Dropbox is winning, but when it comes to audio and video files they might as well be called Dripbox. Using our platform, Pied Piper users would be able to compress all of their files to the point where they truly can access them instantly, we control the pipe they just use it. ”
2. Replace jargon with how it works
What’s the point of sounding smart if no one knows who you are? The best leaders are ones that show people what they are doing. Particularly in ad technology, it’s a really really crowded space and everywhere you turn there’s a new best practice article about what all these acronyms stand for.
3. If you’re struggling, use metaphors
If you’re not able to identify a problem that you’re solving, try to explain how your product works using metaphors. This works best when you’re talking about your product at a networking event. If you’re talking to a total stranger with no knowledge of their background, it’s an easy way to get people on the same level before hitting them with the facts. Here’s an example:
Jargon: When an ad is fetched from its source and is counted whether or not the ad is clicked is not taken into account.
Translation: An ad impression can represent an employee that showed up to work but didn’t really do anything, and still got paid. When an ad is loaded onto a web page, and there’s a chance that someone will view it, it’s counted as an impression even without clicks. (Jargon translated from www.mediaratingcouncil.org).
4. Write an email
If you’re having trouble writing an email about what your product does write it, then delete it, and write the entire thing again — it is guaranteed to be clearer the second time around.
The first time you write it out, your mind is just working through how it works – rather than the bigger picture. When you clear your physical space and write it again, it will come out with more brevity and clarity.
Need help simplifying your message? That’s what we do. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.