Let’s imagine you are at a networking event and someone asks you what you do and you said……
- I’m just an accountant
- I’m a website developer
- I’m a lawyer
- I’m a consultant and just started my business
- I’m a junior partner with…
Not very memorable is it? If this was your answer would a prospective customer want to know more. Don’t think so!
So….. “What do you do?”
You will often meet people who will ask this question. It’s a million dollar question and how you answer it can make the difference between making a meaningful connection or not.
Everyday opportunities present themselves for you to engage with a prospective customer who could benefit from using your products and services. They might not know it yet. What you need to be able to tell them is what you do in a clear, concise and compelling manner that entices them to want to know more. Bang – now you have an opportunity to make a meaningful connection.
What you need is an elevator pitch sometimes known as an elevator speech, so that you can tell someone in a clear concise and compelling manner about what you do and how your products and resources can benefit them. It’s called an elevator pitch because you should be able to deliver it in 20-30 seconds between floors of an elevator.
A well crafted elevator pitch answers the question, “What do you do?” without floundering for the answer.
What makes a good elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a short description of you and your business so that prospective customers know what you do and how you add value.
- It needs to be conversational and roll off the tongue easily
- It needs to specifically define your target market – who you typically work with
- It needs to focus on a prospective customer’s needs (solve a problem or help them realize an opportunity)
- It needs to describe how your target market feels about their problems and opportunities
- It needs to describe the results (benefits) customers receive from using your products and services
Ultimately it must help prospective customers understand the value they will receive from your products or services. A great elevator pitch will also include your value proposition and will leave the prospect asking for more information which is what you want.
How do you craft an elevator pitch?
1. Identify your target market?
Consider who your ideal customers are and what industries they operate in. Be very clear about who you want to work with when looking to craft an elevator pitch. If you work in different markets, then you would need to prepare more than one elevator pitch aimed at each of your markets.
2. Think about your objective
What is the objective of your elevator pitch? Is it to launch a new product or service into your current customer base or is it to enter into a new market? Is it to tell people about you and your business or do you simply want to tell people what you do for a living?
You need to tailor your elevator pitch for your intended audience. For example, if you know the problems your target audience predominantly experiences, you would prepare a problem based elevator pitch. If your target audience is looking for opportunities you would deliver an opportunity based elevator pitch.
3. Write down the problems or opportunities your target market might be experiencing
Your target market might typically experience problems like:
- Lack of cash flow
- High labor costs
- High operating costs
- Low profit margins
- High compliance costs
- Low customer and employee retention rates
Typical opportunities might be:
- Bringing new products or services to market
- Up-skilling employees
- Process improvement
- Increase conversion rates
- Increase customer retention rates
- Retain valuable employees
4. How do your customers feel about their problems or opportunities?
It’s the impact of not resolving a problem or realizing an opportunity that ultimately causes a buyer to take action. When crafting an elevator pitch, what emotions do your customers feel about their problems and opportunities?
- Are they struggling or frustrated?
- Are they experiencing stress and anxiety?
- Are they looking for security or peace of mind?
- Do they want a sense of achievement?
A prospective customer will take more notice when they can relate to what you are saying particularly if it’s an emotion they are experiencing.
5. What do you want your audience to remember about you?
Explain what it is that you do and the typical results you get. Do you solve problems or help people realize opportunities? If so, quantify or qualify this with metrics and focus on the benefits others receive by using your products and services.
Use motivating words like the following to describe the typical results and benefits a prospect would receive from using your products or services.
These are emotive words. When applied to your target market would help resolve a customer’s problem or help them realize an opportunity. The prospective customer is not interested in what you do – they are interested in the benefits they will receive if they were to work with you.
6. Draft an elevator pitch
Using the ideas from above, craft a draft elevator pitch as follows:
I’m a [insert what you do] and I work with [insert target market] who experience [state the emotion] because [state the problem]. By [state how you add value] I have been able to [insert the result].
Example of a problem based elevator pitch
“I’m a consultant who works with small business owners who are struggling to grow their business. By introducing them to a proven sales formula I have been able reduce their stress levels by helping them double, triple and even quadruple their sales.”
Example of an opportunity based elevator pitch
“I’m a consultant specializing in working with small businesses who want to expand their business and drive sales. By introducing them to a proven sales formula, I have been able to increase their sales. Conversion rates have increased by up to 80% and profits in excess of 200%.”
7. Check, test and refine your elevator pitch
Once you have drafted your elevator pitch its then time to check, test and refine it until you are satisfied.
- Does it roll off the tongue easily?
- Is it conversational?
- Can you deliver it in under 30 seconds?
- Is it clear, concise and compelling?
- Does it identify who you work with (target market)?
- Does it state a problem or opportunity and use an emotive word to describe a feeling?
- Does it have an outcome or a result?
- Does it state a benefit with a metric attached?
- Does it add value?
8. Practice Practice Practice
Perfect practice makes perfect. In order for an elevator pitch to sound conversational, it needs to roll off your tongue easily so you do have to practice. Practice in front of a mirror. Leave a message for yourself on your phone to hear how you sound. Practice with friends, family and colleagues to get their feedback. Video yourself on your smart phone to judge how natural you come across.
Crafting a problem based elevator pitch
For small business owners and operators, having limited resources is particularly challenging. Problem based elevator pitches would include words like:
- Growing a small business can be challenging and frustrating. We specialize in…..
- Managing cash flow in a small business causes great anxiety with small business owners. We help…..
- Meeting compliance obligations can be confusing. We help small businesses reduce their compliance costs through….
Crafting an opportunity based elevator pitch
Others small business owners and operators, might be looking for opportunities to grow their business or improve what they are already doing. Opportunity based elevator pitches would include words like:
Example: I am a business consultant [what you do] specializing in helping small businesses [target market] improve their profitability by attracting and retaining more customers [the opportunity and benefit]. One customer of mine found that by following a proven sales system, their conversion rate went from 19% to over 80% in just three months [metrics demonstrating how you add value].
On a final note
A well planned and practiced elevator speech will make the difference between making a new connection with a prospect, leave them wanting to know more giving you the ability to convert them into a customer.
In A Nutshell
- Identify your target market
- What is your objective
- What problems and opportunities do your customers typically experience
- How do they feel about their problems and opportunities (emotions)
- What do you want your audience to remember most about you?
- Craft a draft problem based elevator speech and an opportunity based elevator speech
- Check test and refine your elevator speech
- Practice practice practice