By T.J. Sullivan, Executive Director, Superior Chamber of Commerce

Your time has come to speak about your business – in front of your leads or mastermind group. It’s a chance to highlight your business in a way that might inspire action by others on your behalf. If you nail it, people will make an effort to help you succeed. If you biff it, they will simply forget the 20 minutes you stole from them.


It’s your turn to talk to the group next week. What should you talk about?
The culture of every group is unique, so the first step is to seek guidance from the moderator. What is the purpose of your spotlight?  Is it to simply talk about your services? Are you supposed to share a challenge or marketing strategy? Make sure your remarks are appropriate to the opportunity.

If you’re struggling with things to include, consider these ideas.

What new products are you offering?  People may think they know what your business does, but do they know about the new stuff you’re doing?  Is there a product area or line that needs more market share? Bring samples. Offer a discount for folks to give it a try. It’s like grade school “show and tell” on a greater scale.

Who is your ideal customer?  The fellow members of your group have vast networks of contacts, customers, and friends, but they won’t spend their social capital if a referral will be a poor fit. That wastes everyone’s time.  Give a specific profile of a best-fit customer. Is it a consumer or a business? What sort of business? What frustration is this person feeling? What does your ideal customer value the most – speed, price, quality, or start-to-finish guidance? If you’re the fastest and cheapest, then say that. If you’re all about industry-leading results at a slightly higher price point, say that.

What is your most popular product or service?  And importantly, why? If you’re a real estate agent and have the best success with first-time home buyers, tell us. People want to be affiliated with a success story.

Why are you the best choice? Do you access to better materials? Do you do your business a special way that is different from your competition? What guarantees do you offer? Convince me that you have a compelling value proposition.

How motivated are you for my referral? Do you have a special coupon code for me to offer my friends? Do you have a referral bonus? Do I get some fun item for helping you close a customer?

What help do you need?  People want to help. Is there a part of town you are expanding your services to where I might know people? Is there a product you’re trying to test out somewhere? Let me know how I can make a real impact on your current situation.

Tell me the best way to make a referral. Do you want an email introduction? Should I send along a coupon to the person I know? How can I demonstrate to you that I’m trying to help?

Show me your passion. Maybe start with a great story about a satisfied customer. Build my confidence that you approach your business with care and personal commitment. Make me confident that you’ll treat my friend right if I send her your way.

Tell me something I don’t know. Has the price of your product come way down for some reason? Is there a new trend in your industry? Tell us something that will surprise us.

Ask for what you need.  Don’t make us guess.

Obviously, you can’t hit all of these ideas in a single 20-minute presentation.  But, take a few moments and answer each question above. Get your mind in brainstorming mode and put everything down. Then ask a friend, “Which of these seems most interesting?” and focus there. It’s better to concentrate on a few memorable points than to try and fit everything into one jammed, cluttered 20-minute presentation.

It’s like telling people about your vacation. Give us the highlights, not the entire itinerary.

As people listen to your 20-minutes, they will unconsciously decide that the way you present is the way you do business. Are you relaxed and comfortable, or stressed and edgy? Do you speak clearly about a few relevant things or bore us with a cluttered litany of jabber that makes no sense. It’s not just about what you say, it’s a lot about how you say it.

So many of us focus on that 30-second elevator pitch, but the 20-minute block is so much harder. Follow these suggestions, choose the few points that convince me of your dedication and quality, and then ask for the help you need.