By Carolyn Landesman
Do you fumble for words when asked… “What do you do?”
You might even respond with….. “I….ummm…errr…I am a ….. I’m a designer!” Oh dear not particularly memorable is it? If you constantly respond like this that means you haven’t prepared an elevator pitch!
So….. “What do you do?”
You will often meet people who will ask this question and how you answer it can make the difference between generating a sales lead or not.
Everyday opportunities present themselves where you can make meaningful connections and who knows, that connection could lead to a paying customer. What an elevator pitch does, is tell the person asking the question 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.
How do you create an elevator pitch?
1. Identify your target market?
Consider who your ideal customers are and the best way to do this is to create what is known as buyer personas.
Buyer personas are fictional characters that allow you to identify who your ideal customers are, where they live, what they do for a living, how much they earn a year, what their problems and opportunities are and why they should buy from you. Buyer personas are a must for any business because they also help you with your entire marketing and promotional campaigns. Before you can craft an elevator pitch, you have to know who your audience is.
Once you know who your ideal customers are, you can then craft a ridiculously powerful elevator pitch that will resonate with them and lead to referrals and prospective customers.
2. Identify their problems & opportunities
You want to know what problems and opportunities your typical customers experience because you can then weave this into your elevator pitch. This becomes the WHY the other person should continue to find out more about what you do.
For example, if you were an accountant and your target market typically experiences a lack of cash flow in their business, you could say something like:
“I’m an accountant who specializes in helping small business owners like yourself increase their cash flow and bottom line profits.”
If you were a human resources consultant you could weave in the results you get by saying something like this:
“As a human resources specialist I work with companies just like yours to attract and retain outstanding employees. My unique approach has saved some of my clients up to $50,000 in personnel costs.”
Perhaps you are a photographer you could respond with something like this:
“I’m an award winning photographer who not only creates special memories at weddings, I also capture special moments as the couples go onto to have a family. Memories they treasure for a lifetime.”
These answers sound so much better than, “I’m an accountant”….. “I’m a consultant”…. or “I’m a photographer!”
3. Identify how your customers feel about their problems or opportunities
You notice in the examples above, you are appealing to the others person’s emotions. Let’s face it, people don’t buy insurance, they buy peace of mind. They buy insurance to take away the fear of losing their house, their car or their job. 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?
- Do they want to feel fabulous and amazing?
The person listening to your response will take far more notice of what you are saying if your elevator pitch appeals to the emotion. The question they have in their mind when listening to your responses will always be, how can this person help me or others I know resolve problems or help realize opportunities.
If they can relate to the benefits your products or services provide and how you help others, if what you do is not for them, they may know someone who could use your services and refer you.
4. Identify your objective
For example, if you are at a social event, your elevator pitch may be more generic focused on a general audience and achieving general results. If you are in a business setting, you may get more specific about your products and services and craft an elevator pitch with very specific results tailored to your target market.
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.
5. Draft an elevator pitch
When crafting your elevator pitch, use emotive words when applied to your target market. What would help resolve their problems or realize an opportunity. The other person is not interested in what you do – they are interested in the benefits they will receive if they were to work with you.
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 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%.”
6. 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?
7. Practice Practice Practice
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.
Perfect practice makes perfect.
8. What is the take-away?
Once you know your objective and intended audience, think about the one thing you want that person to take-away after you deliver your elevator pitch. It’s like an advertisement, you are looking to craft an elevator pitch that gives a short description of who you are, what you do and how you add value.
What you are NOT trying to do is sell the person your products or services. No no no! What you want is for them to follow up with this type of response.
- That’s really interesting tell me more?
- That sounds interesting, how do you go about doing that?
- How do you go about…… ? (whatever the results you get)
You also need to know how to handle the follow up. Yes, you can go on forever about the amazing results you get for other people and blah blah blah. Always remember, they are not interested in you – they are interested in what you can do for them!
Look to make a connection
If you are in a social setting or a networking event, it is not appropriate to rattle on and on about what you do. What you are looking to archive above and beyond anything else is a connection with that person. You want to build rapport and ask for their business card. What this does, is open the door for further discussion in a more appropriate environment. You could respond by saying;
“Would you mind giving me your business card. I’ll give you call next week to arrange a meeting over coffee where we can chat more about what your needs are.”
“I have some great information that might help you with that (problem or opportunity) I’ll email you the link when I get to the office in the morning.”
Look to Connect Connect Connect – NOT Sell Sell Sell!
On a final note
When you create a concise and compelling elevator pitch that leaves a prospect wanting to know more, you are far more likely to generate quality leads.
In a Nutshell
- Identify your target market
- Identify the problems and opportunities your ideal customers experience
- Identify how your customers feel about their problems or opportunities
- Identify your objective
- Draft your elevator pitch
- Check test and refine your elevator pitch
- Practice practice practice
- Identify what you want to take-away
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