Can you name what you sell (or do you need an elevator pitch)?

It's taken me five years to get to a point where I can confidently tell people what I sell:

I am a marketing consultant.
I sell marketing plans.

Five years.

Why so long to figure out something seemingly so basic? Because at first, I wanted to be fancy. I couldn't imagine that merely being a marketing consultant, selling marketing plans, could be anywhere near good enough. Admittedly, I wanted to dress it up in fancy language.

The funny thing is that despite not having a clear name for it, I had an elevator pitch that beautifully described the value I added. Strange how it is somehow easier to spin a 30-second story than give it a concise name!

I find many business owners have a similar problem. After tweeting my initial thoughts around this topic in the past week, someone responded saying it took one of their clients two years to figure out how to name what they sell!

The challenge is clear, in two seconds (not thirty), answer me this: What do you sell?

It is quite a humbling exercise because most of what we sell is in reality so very basic. At its core, even the mighty Amazon (dot com) is nothing other than a large retail chain that takes orders online. Google helps you find things on the Internet. Coca Cola sells you a drink. Short answers. Nothing fancy.

Can you leave your elevator pitch behind and tell me what you sell? How do you do marketing and sales if you can't tell people what's available?
All businesses are built on the back of human needs, and at its core, all human needs are pretty basic. It should come as no surprise that at its heart, no matter how fancy your business model is, it could well be that it all boils down to a simple "we sell cold drinks" or "I write marketing plans". One-liners.

Doing business may be complicated, but customers aren't really. They have a need. They look for a solution. It's your job to give that solution a name, otherwise, how will they find it?

What do you sell? Can you name it?

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