Friday, June 23, 2017

Tips for your elevator speech

PMPs often get the dirty jobs that no one
else wants, including crawling hot attics
for termite, varmint and rodent control.
How many times do you get asked what you do for a job? Or, "What's your company all about?" And when asked, do you have an "elevator speech"?  A clear, quickly delivered "infomercial” about you or your business or other passion?

I thought it might be fun to ask what interesting bits of infomercial-worthy information might go into an elevator speech about pest control. So I've put together some ideas that might serve as an interesting mixture of thoughts and facts to entertain, inform and impress those who have no idea what we do every day in the pest control profession.

  • Pest control is more than a job.  It's a profession that's all about protecting your property, health and welfare. 
  • Pest management professionals help schools, businesses, homeowners and renters manage termites, rodents, cockroaches, ants and bed bugs. And we do it efficiently using the best science-based methods. 
  • Pest control employees not only go through apprenticeships and exams to get licensed; they're now required to get safety- and pest control-related continuing education credits annually in most states.
  • Insecticides are safer and more thoroughly tested today than ever.  The average cost of discovering and getting a new insecticide to market today is over $250 million, about $67 million of which is devoted to environmental and safety testing. Next to pharmaceuticals, pesticides are arguably the most thoroughly tested products used by consumers.
  • We're a modest-sized industry doing a huge job. The pest control industry is estimated to be worth $8 billion dollars a year--about the same as how much Americans spend on Halloween
  • Speaking of Halloween, how scary is it that a cockroach doesn't have to touch you to make you sick? Just breathing the air of a roach-infested home exposes you to cockroach allergens, which can lead to asthma. And over 60% percent of US homes have these allergens (the percentage is even higher for inner city homes--estimates range between 78% and 98%). 
  • Almost 1 million households were treated for bed bug by the U.S. pest control industry in 2016, up 11% from 2015.
  • One of the fastest growing pest control industry segments around the country is mosquito control, battling the deadliest animal in the world (mosquito-borne malaria kills close to 3/4 million people a year). 
  • Rodents chewing on wires and gas lines in attics and walls cause an estimated 20-25% of all fires of mysterious origin.  A PMP knows how to eliminate rats and mice while minimizing the risks of dead rodents in unwanted places.
  • A single house mouse visiting your kitchen in one night leaves behind over 50 virus and bacteria-laden droppings and up to 3,000 micro-urine droplets on floors, on countertops and in drawers. 
  • As U.S. cities grow, and apartment densities soar, the need for pest control is growing now at over 4.5% ($100 million) a year.
Of course, together these facts are way too long for an elevator speech (which should be 25 to 30 seconds, no longer than 80 or 90 words).  So pick one or two things to commit to memory and pull them out when you've got 30 seconds with a prospective customer (or your mother who still doesn't know what you do).

You probably have other things for your personal elevator speech.  If so, and you're willing to share, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.


John Gedeon, Jr. General Pest Control, Cleveland OH said...

My favorite response when asked “what kind of work do you do?” is: “I am a nature interventionist. I work at keeping all of the creatures that live outside from getting in to where you live, eat, work, play, and relax.”

That usually gets a smile from most people.

Dion Lerman, The Pennsylvania State University said...

Here’s mine:

"Integrated Pest Management is a about preventing pests. It’s based on sanitation and maintenance, controlling the conditions that let pests feed and shelter. The goal is to protect health of people pets and the rest of the planet while getting rid of the pests."