Why It's Time to Ditch the 30-Second Commercials and Cold Calls

I cringe when I see articles, courses and consultants pushing salespeople and business owners to hone the skill of the 30-second commercial—the old-school sales technique where you have to tell someone exactly who you are and what you do in 30 seconds.

According to the believers, that little rant should help you connect quickly and memorably with people that matter.

My take? It’s annoying. I often feel like I’m living in a bad version of “Glengarry Glen Ross” when someone approaches me at an event and immediately tosses a business card in my hand, smiles and tells me why I should buy from them.

I don’t know them, now I don’t like them, and I surely don’t have enough information to trust them. The deal is dead before it started.   

The key to a great sales career: building relationships, not broad net fishing. Not dialing for dollars hoping you might actually get someone on the phone that may give you the name of the buyer. Not running around a chamber meeting handing out business cards or spending hours on LinkedIn spamming InMail boxes with your pitch.  

It’s about finding the right people—people you like, people who understand you on a core-values level, and people who appreciate what you can deliver to them as a problem-solver.

Nearly three decades ago, as a young insurance agent, I decided that construction and home builders was going to be my niche market—the same grandiose idea as 90% of commercial insurance agents out there. Pretty much every large agency “specializes” in construction or manufacturing.

I was a little fish in a big sea, but getting swallowed up wasn’t an option. I was not only young—I was also a woman in two male-dominated worlds: insurance and construction. I knew cold-calling would fail—no one was going to take my call. I knew sending out sales letters would fail—I’d kill a tree and add it to a landfill because 99% of those letters would be tossed.

I had to get in front of the people that mattered. So I joined the Home Builders and Remodelers Association’s local chapter here in Connecticut. I got involved and adopted a mindset of “give to get”. I sat on committees, I fundraised, I educated, I helped and helped some more—and next year, I am honored to begin leading the local association as president.

Nearly 30 years—not 30 seconds. When you want to make a difference, when you want to create sticky relationships, you need to adopt a mindset of giving.

Do the work. Spend the time. Slow and steady. Give to get.

Kim DiMatteo is branch manager and insurance supervisor at DiMatteo Insurance in Shelton, Connecticut.

Go-Getter vs. Go-Giver

At DiMatteo Insurance, I give every one of my employees the book “The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea” by Bob Burg and John David Mann. That book changed our culture—and me.

When you change your focus to giving versus getting, the world changes. When you put other people’s interests first and continually add value their lives, that’s when the magic happens. Core values align, relationships deepen and, by default, sales happen. —K.D.