Ask anyone who’s taken music lessons what the fundamentals are, and they’ll tell you, “learning scales.” The first thing you need to do is learn how to play the notes, up and down the range of the instrument.

When it comes to selling your skills, the fundamental building block is your “ten-second introduction.” It is a single sentence that you say to introduce yourself. It is designed to get the attention and arouse the interest of a qualified lead. It takes a maximum of ten seconds to deliver. Five seconds, or less, is preferable. It will begin with your name, followed by a statement of benefit. Once your ten-second introduction has been determined to be effective, and your delivery properly calibrated, a lack of interest can be taken as a lack of qualification.

Here is the format for your ten-second introduction: “Hi, my name is __________(name), and I ____________(statement of benefit).”

You must test your ten-second introduction to make sure it is effective. Remember that only a certain percentage of the general public is going to be interested in what you are offering. If you deliver your ten-second introduction and the person doesn’t indicate that they’re interested in what you’re offering, you can assume that they have either disqualified themselves, or they didn’t understand what you said. You must test your ten-second introduction until you can be confident that you know the difference. A response to look for would be something like, “Oh yeah?” Or, “How’s that?” Or, “Tell me more.”

You are going to need different ten-second introductions for different target markets. It is critical to understand what, in particular, is going to arouse the interest of that particular listener.

Here are two ten-second introductions used by this author:

  • “Hi, my name is Patrick Bell, and I’m the world’s only opera-singing magician.” (When introducing himself to a new audience at the beginning of his show, Opera-Kadabra.)
  • “Hi, my name is Patrick Bell, and I’m going to be your entertainment. I’m both a singer, and a magician, so I’m going to be singing for you and doing magic tricks.” (When introducing himself to an audience with an anticipated need for repetition of the information for understanding.)

“Hi, my name is _________,” gets the person’s attention. If the person prompts you for the information first, such as by asking, “What do you do?” you can leave off the greeting and identification and go directly to your statement of benefit. Notice that each ten-second introduction is tailored to the recipient, and is designed to elicit interest. In the first case, the audience knows they are observing an entertainer, so the “world’s only” qualifier will create curiosity. In the second case, the objective is to repeat the information enough times in different ways so that a person speaking English as a second language, or in a loud environment that would cause a hearing issue would still have their interest aroused by understanding the information.

Here are two more ten-second introductions:

  • “Hi, my name is Patrick Bell, and I help people turn what they love to do into what they do for a living.” Or,
  • “Hi, my name is Patrick Bell, and I teach people to sell their skills.”

Notice how the first example is targeting the listener’s curiosity, while the second example is designed to get the person to mentally flag anyone they know, or identify themselves, as someone that might have a skill that they would want to sell.

Try it out for yourself. Write out a list of the main benefits of the service you are offering, and try each one out as a ten-second introduction. Test them out on prospects in the marketplace and decide which feels the most natural, accurately communicates the main benefit of your service, and arouses the most interest. Have multiple ways of saying the same thing because you’re going to need different ten-second introductions for different situations.