Creating An Elevator Speech
You need to create an elevator speech for your business. This term originally came from the early days of the Internet when companies were clamoring for investment capital. If you wanted to get your message heard, you had 30 seconds or less to get your entire point across. In many cases, you might only get to talk to the right person on a short ride on the elevator. If you couldn’t get people excited about what you had in less than 30 seconds, you were done for.
Having a concise elevator speech is vital for introducing yourself and your business to someone. It is used for networking with others at events. It empowers word-of-mouth marketing and referrals. It would be used if anyone asks you to introduce yourself in front of a crowd. It creates the first impression people have of you (which you should know is very hard to get rid of once it has been created). It answers the common question, “What do you do?”
How do most people answer the question, “What do you do?” They say things like, “I’m a real estate agent.” Or they say, “I sell cars.” Or the ever popular, “I’m a lawyer.” Maybe you should say, “I own a website selling dog toys.” That might have been what you’ve been saying up till this point. If so, you’re missing out. If you say I’m a real estate agent, your listener will then think back to all the real estate agents they know and label you exactly the same. If you say you sell cars, they’ll think about any bad experience they may have had with car salesman. Now you’ve been labeled and they know to avoid you.
Think about the statements you’ve been making. If you simply tell people you’re a real estate agent, you’re not giving them any benefits. These statements are focused on you, not on your clients. Everyone you meet is really only thinking about one thing, “What’s in it for me?” So what if you’re a real estate agent. We have enough of those around here. So what if you sell toys for dogs. There is a pet shop down the street. So what if you sell cars. There is someone doing that on almost every street corner.
Every one of us is always thinking about ourselves, our lives, our friends, our family, and our stuff. People you meet are more interested in themselves than they are in you. Let me give you a little hint to what I’m talking about. People don’t mean what you’ve been thinking when they ask, “What do you do?” What they’re really asking is, “What can you do for me?” From now on that is what you need to hear when anyone asks you what you do.
Tell them the benefits of working with you. Your answer shouldn’t be about “you.” It should be about what you do for them or people they may recommend you to. Remember this rule. Even if they’re not your potential client, they know someone who is. When you first meet someone, do three things: smile, give them your card, and tell them who you are and what you do for people. If you make it exciting and benefit rich, you’ll see your word of mouth advertising expand exponentially.
This elevator speech is connected to your Unique Client focus and is just an expansion on the same principles. I like having my clients create both at the same time since they build on each other. In fact, you’ll often find your focus statement is simply one short piece of your longer elevator speech. It’s the most important element of your pitch.
Here is an example one (one I’ve used for my own coaching business):
“I’m Terry Dean and I help business owners and professionals earn more, work less, and enjoy life! Many business owners are frustrated because they work long hours, have little time off, and earn low income. They’ve lost their passion and excitement for life. I train, consult, and coach them in 10 key strategies proven to increase profits and reduce workload in any business. Would you like to know more?”
Notice I didn’t even say I’m a business coach. Many people don’t even know what a business coach is! And those that do know definitely don’t want one because of experiences they’ve had with poor ones in the past. Anytime I’ve told people I was a business coach, I got one of two responses. Sometimes people would simply ask, “What is a business coach?” Others would just give you a knowing stare and shrug their shoulders saying, “Uh huh.”
This quick speech shares the benefits in the first sentence. Then it points out the “pain” in the marketplace in the second (the frustration, work, and low income of the business owners). Then it tells them how I solve the problem (through the 10 key strategies). Finally, there is a “call to action” sentence asking them if they’d like to know more about this. It is short and to the point. Originally it was much longer, but I cut it down till it had the bare essentials.
Here’s the basic outline for what I did:
1. Unique Benefit Sentence
2. Explain the pain (you learned this in your customer research).
3. Tell them how you solve the pain.
4. Call to action – ask them if they want more information or know someone who might.
This elevator speech should become the example for developing one of your own. This elevator speech then becomes a basis for your copywriting and your sales presentations. If you notice, this is actually a mini-salesletter.
What makes you different from the competition?
What pain does your business solve.
How do you solve the pain?
What do you want them to do next?
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