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28 Seconds. (Or Simplicity Sells Part II)

I love living in Switzerland.  The precision of the Swiss is incredible and even a source of humor, even among them.

As you drive in my native U.S., you may come across road signs that read, “Stop Ahead.”  Not in Switzerland.  Here you’ll find a “yield” sign with “96m” immediately below it.  Not 100 meters, but 96 meters!  Or 117 meters… or… you get my point.

So it should not have come as a surprise to me


last Friday, the day after posting “Simplicity Sells,” during a meeting with a Swiss client and friend, when he said, “28 seconds.”

We had been trying to “tighten up” the USP of a new product he’s developing.  We had to simplify what he would say in a cold call or in an intial approach to a prospect.  “You’ve gotta’ nail, right out of the starting gate,” I said.  “Do that, and you can go right in to the client’s needs and challenges.  But if you don’t get it right in the first few sentences, we’re dead.”

“28 seconds,” he replied.

“Not 30 seconds… 28,” I quipped.  “O.K., got it.”  And we burst out laughing.

He knew that he had to keep his opening simple.  He understood that it had to be compelling while not being too technical, especially not in the early stages.

It took us an hour more to drill down to the simple USP, the grab, the “killer opening.”  In fact, we’re still drilling… getting close, but still drilling.  When we find it, I’ll let you know how deep we had to go… right to the millimeter.

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