One of the fastest ways to find new customers and partners for your business is to start networking. But to make networking pay off you need to know what to say when the conversation turns to”…. and what do YOU do (for a living)?”
When this question comes up, you have only a small amount of time to communicate who you are and what you do (in order to grab the other person’s attention and generate a positive response).
An elevator speech (also known as an elevator pitch) is a short, persuasive speech you use to introduce yourself, your product, or your company. Its purpose is to explain the concept quickly and clearly to spark interest in who you are and what you do.
An elevator speech should be 40-seconds long at maximum: short enough to get your message across any time and anywhere—even during a quick elevator ride (hence the name). If you talk (or write) too much, the listener (or reader) will become bored, or think you are rude or too self-centred.
Here are the main points for creating your elevator speech:
1. Introduction - "My name is..." Look the other person in the eye. Smile. Shoulders back. Speak with confidence. Sincerity and passion are crucial in making a strong early impression. Explain what you do and why you love it.
2.Your Business Name -"I work for..." or "My business is ..." Loud clear proud again. Do not ask "Have you heard of us..?" or wait for recognition. Describe the contributions you’ve made, including the problems you’ve solved. Give a short, striking example of your value. Explain your interest in your listener(s)
3. Your personal specialism and/or offer, and your aims- Express what you offer in terms of positive outcomes for those you help or supply, rather than focusing on technical details from your own viewpoint. Load your statements here with special benefits or qualities. Be positive, proud and ambitious in your thinking and expression of what you do. Include in this statement what your aims are, to show you have ambition and that you know what you are seeking from network contacts.
4.Call to Action - Ask for an appropriate response to this interaction (contact info, a referral, an appointment, etc.)
Depending on the situation, aim to complete your explanation in less than 40 seconds. Less is more: lots of powerful points in very few words make a much bigger impact than a lengthy statement.
It is a sign of a good mind if you can convey a lot of relevant impressive information in a very short time. Conversely, a long rambling statement shows a lack of preparation, professionalism and experience. While you are speaking look the other person in the eyes, and be aware of his/her body language to gauge for interest and reaction to you personally, and to help your assessment of the other person's character and mood.
After your 'elevator speech' end in a firm, positive, constructive way.
Ending with a question enables more to happen than letting the discussion tail off nowhere or into polite small-talk. Depending on the situation and visible reaction (again see body language for clues of interest) you can end in various ways, for example:
- "What's your interest here/at this event?"
- "What are you most wanting to get out of this event/your visit here?"
- or obviously if you've not already asked: "What do you do?"
If you already know the other person's interests and motives, for example, ask:
"How would you like to improve/change/grow... (various options, for example - your own network, your own business activities, this sort of event, etc)?"
Elevator Speech Examples
Use these examples as guidelines in crafting your own elevator speech. The best way to format a compelling “elevator speech” is to keep it simple and focus as much as possible on “what’s important to the other person” vs talking about yourself. You want to position what you do in such a way it’s easy for other people to see the value, and recognize how your products or business can help them.
Here are a few examples you can use to start crafting your own killer elevator speech:
I help ___________________ (your prospect) to ________________ (achieve benefit or result you know – or can guess – is important to them).
I help moms to make a great income working from home.
I help small business owners to boost their monthly income with an extra source of revenue.
I help baby boomers to feel healthy and have tons of energy.
A slightly more complex elevator speech focuses on both the IMMEDIATE benefit and LONG TERM benefit of your product/business. The long term benefit captures the overall feeling or experience that your prospect ultimately wants.
I help ________________ (your prospect) to ________________ (do this thing or get this result) so they can ________________ (have this experience or feeling, what they REALLY want).
I help moms to make a great income working from home so they can spend more time with their kids during the most important years.
I help small business owners to boost their monthly income with an extra revenue source so they can retire early and spend more time on the golf course.
I help baby boomers to be healthy and have tons of energy so they can feel fabulous and really enjoy their retirement years to the fullest.
Another variation of the elevator speech communicates what people get to AVOID by using your product/business. Many people will do more to avoid pain than gain pleasure. This approach grabs attention and motivates people to take action.
I help ________________ (your prospect) to _______________ (get this result) so they don’t have to ________________ (feel this pain/or deal with this problem).
I help moms to make a great income working from home so they don’t have to feel guilty about missing out on time with their kids.
I help small business owners to boost their monthly income so they can sleep better at night, knowing they don’t have to worry about their retirement fund.
I help baby boomers to feel healthy and have tons of energy so they don’t miss out on fun times with their grandchildren and other priorities.
Write It Down
Using the above examples as a guide, write your own elevator speech. Be sure that it:
….Focuses on your PROSPECT (not you)
….Communicates clearly what you can do FOR THEM (results, benefits, experiences, feelings)
….Shows what you help them AVOID (pain, problems, costs, etc.)
….Focuses on WHY (they should use your product or join your business) over WHAT (what’s involved, the details, logistics, etc.).
“Why” connects people to their emotions. It provides them with reasons and motivation to buy your product or take action. “What” focuses on information and logic, such as the features of your product or business. (“What” can be interesting but it won’t motivate people to take action in the same way that “why” does).
Memorize and Use It
The most important aspect of creating an elevator speech is to MEMORIZE IT.
There’s no point in writing a killer elevator speech if you don’t have it memorized and ready to go. And be sure to practice it—at home, with your kids, on your friends, on your pets (any captive audience will do)
Whether you’re in an elevator, on a playground, or at a networking event, you can use your “elevator speech” to grab people’s attention. Use this strategy to turn a brief meeting into a coffee date or phone call where you’ll have more time to share about your products and business, and transform “casual connections” into new customers and business partners.