I remember reading a dating book at one stagein my life (don’t ask) and the author offered some sage advice about what to talk about on a first date. Here’s what she said: Don’t talk; listen.

We’ve all had the experience of meeting someone who wouldn’t shut up about themselves, and we mainly have come to the same conclusion – move on and try to avoid speaking to them again.

Engagement is about a conversation, and that applies as much in business as it does in friendship. That is why every business should ditch the elevator pitch and start a blog.

Nice suit. Like a coffee?

I compare a great website to the quality of our suit, and the openness of our smile. It’s a start, and its important to make a good impression.

We have a very short time to engage the attention of potential customers – seven seconds, according to Bri Williams, a very clever behavioural economist who I profile this week (see Why we buy) and who will help you transform your website.

Your blog, however, is the coffee conversation that leads an exchange of phone numbers, and the dinner date that eventually becomes a holiday together.

Over time, your blog shows your human side to the people who might buy from you. You can show what you know, reveal different ways of thinking about it, uncover new research, give them the ammunition they need to take action and build the trust they need to do business with you.

Innovators’ essentials

Who amongst us wants to be “pitched”. I don’t. I’ve never made any big decisions in 60 seconds, and I never want to.

I prefer to get to know the people I do business with, especially the innovators who are doing cutting edge work I need to understand better before I buy.

First impressions are important, of course, but I’m on a campaign to replace the elevator pitch with timely, relevant and trusted blogs that your customers will look forward to reading.