How to Develop A 30-Second Commercial That Differentiates You from The Competition


By Chuck and Evan Polin, Sandler Training, The Training Resource Group

“Why not just tell them when we were founded?”

Over the course of your career, you will probably attend more networking events, seminars, conferences, trade shows, and cocktail parties than you can count. If you are like most of the professionals we have met, you have not given much thought ahead of time to the question of how you will introduce yourself when meeting someone at these events for the first time.

If someone were to walk up to you right now and ask you what you did for a living, what would you say?

Would you begin by talking about when your firm or practice was founded, or about how you chose your particular career path, or what your personal area of expertise is?

How do you react when someone begins sharing that kind of information at a party? Does it leave you enthralled? Or does it make you look around the room for someone else who is a better conversationalist?

Here is the real question: how much time and energy have you devoted to preparing your elevator pitch or 30-second commercial?

If you are not prepared to deliver a truly powerful 30-second commercial, you may miss out on your chance to convert a conversation with someone into a new client opportunity.


The best way to begin developing your 30-second commercial is to think about the specific problems that you solve for your clients.

What are the challenges your potential clients might encounter? What types of issues could cost them money, opportunities, or open them up to liability? Are your prospects spending a great deal of their time on issues or projects that you could handle, thereby freeing up their time and allowing them to focus on other, more essential issues?

We suggest that when starting a conversation with people at a networking event or social gathering, you ask them to tell you a little about themselves first.  Getting the other person to speak first accomplishes several goals.  First, it makes the person with whom you are speaking a lot more comfortable, because people like to talk about themselves more than they like to talk about anything else.  Second, as they talk about themselves, you can learn a little more about their background, and this will help you to customize your message when you deliver your 30-second commercial.

When discussing the problems that you solve for your potential clients, begin by talking about the big-picture problems that you solve.  You want to tap into the emotional part of their brain as you do this. We suggest that you utilize emotional words such as frustrated, upset, or disappointed when discussing the problems you can help your clients to overcome, because these are powerful emotions that are likely to connect to existing problems you can solve.

In addition, you may want to utilize case studies and third-party stories.  The more vivid the story, the more your prospects can see themselves experiencing the same issues.

At the end of your commercial, it is important to ask an open-ended question.  You want to get the person with whom you are speaking to self-identify which of the issues that you have mentioned are most relevant.

There is no one right way to do this.  To the contrary, there are many different ways to craft a powerful 30-second commercial.


The key to creating a successful 30-second commercial is to understand that you must create different commercials for different audiences.

If you are an attorney, accountant, or consultant with multiple practice areas in your firm, you should create a commercial for your specific practice area, as well as a firm-wide commercial touching on other practice areas.

Case in Point: One of our clients, Mike, is a litigation attorney with a large law firm.  Mike was frustrated because he would attend several networking events per month, but would never find new business opportunities.  As we provided coaching for Mike, we asked him to recite the introduction that he used at the events.  His introduction briefly mentioned his firm, and then he went into (boring) detail about how he handled litigation for his clients.  In other words, he did not stand out.

Once he was done with his commercial, we asked Mike how often he met someone who either had just been sued, or was about to be sued by someone.  He admitted that it was not an everyday occurrence to meet someone who had an immediate need for a litigator.  We then asked Mike how many practice areas existed within his (large) firm.  He counted eight different business practice areas. We went on to ask if he ever received origination credit if he brought work into the firm that was completed by attorneys in different practice areas.  He told us that he did get credit for business that was completed outside of his department if he originated the work.

We helped Mike build a general, firm-wide 30-second commercial addressing “big picture” problems that business owners were likely to face, such as:

  • Believing they were not getting value for the fees they were paying their current attorney.
  • Feeling frustrated because they were using two or three different small specialty firms to handle their matters, which was costing them more money.
  • Feeling upset that the attorneys from different firms did not coordinate their efforts to come up with a business-wide strategy for the company.


Over the next six months, Mike developed $250,000 in new business by using his firm-wide commercial when meeting new people.  All of this was new business that he developed for practice areas outside of litigation!

It gets better.  Two of those clients ran into issues where they needed litigation over the next eighteen months.  That resulted in an additional $150,000 of work for which Mike was awarded credit.

The 30-second commercial is one of the most powerful tools you will learn about in this book, but it will also be one of the most uncomfortable for you to begin to use.

This information was originally published in “Sandler Professional Services the Sandler Way:  Nobody Ever Told Me that I’d Have to Sell,” by Chuck and Evan Polin, Sandler Training, The Training Resource Group. It is available for purchase on Amazon.


CEO of The Training Resource Group, Chuck Polin brings more than 40 years of sales, sales management, and corporate executive experience to the firm. He has managed numerous sales forces, directed various marketing campaigns and was president of a Fortune 500 Company division.


President of The Training Resource Group Evan Polin joined the firm in 2001 and brings a wealth of training and coaching experience to the firm. Evan is a certified Sandler trainer and his background in the mental health field has helped his clients make permanent change in their behavior.