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Creating an Elevator Pitch that Doesn’t Make People Run Away

When you meet someone at a networking event, a cocktail party, a conference or even in line at Starbucks and they ask, “what do you do for a living?”  What’s your answer? Is it the boring generic answer a million accountants, attorneys, contractors, hair stylists, coaches and consultants give? If so, you could be missing out on huge opportunities, not only to get more business but to expand your network.

Every small business owner, entrepreneur and sales and marketing professional needs a rock solid elevator pitch. It’s one of the most important aspects of a marketing messaging strategy. The key is to develop an elevator pitch that is unique, interesting and engaging. Enticing the listener into wantint to know more.

Here are 6 steps to creating a powerful and interesting elevator pitch that will make people want to learn more:

Step 1: Introduce yourself, but NEVER EVER use your title. A title leaves too much open for interpretation. If I start off with “I’m a marketing consultant” people’s brains will automatically search for experiences they’ve had, stories they’ve read or gossip they’ve heard about Marketing Consultants and will immediately form an opinion about me and what I do that has nothing to do with me. I want to be in control of their first impression of me so instead of a title, a good elevator pitch does the following:

  • Describes the need you fulfill or problem you solve.
  • Describes for whom you solve the problem or need
  • And finally, how you solve that problem

For example my opening sentence is: I help small business owners attract more customers and increase profits. 

What would your opening sentence be? 

Step 2:  Delivering a good Elevator Pitch is as much about how you deliver it as what you say. So after your first sentence, pause. Let the listener ask, “How do you do that?” or “ Tell me more..”  This engages the listener and allows them the opportunity to give permission to go into further detail.

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Step 3: Once they invite you to go into further detail you can describe HOW you solve the problem or fulfill the need. Example my follow up sentence is, “Well, thank you for asking. I help them make smarter, more informed marketing decisions by working with them to identify a target market, study their competition  and do the necessary market research  to create an effective Marketing Plan. A well-researched marketing plan then guides their decisions and helps them be more informed about their business, and their marketing.”:

What would your follow up sentence be?

Step 4: The result. You should wrap it all up with the result you deliver. Example: “Clients who work with see as much as a 300% increase in net profit within the first year.”

What results do you deliver? 

Step 5: Pause again. Gauge their interest.  If they seem interested, ask them a question, for example, I might ask: “Is your marketing yielding the kinds of returns you’d like to see?” Or – “Do you know a small business owner who struggles with getting more customers?”

Step 6: Continue the conversation or wrap it up with a follow- up step: a call, a meeting, sending them information, etc.

Tips for great elevator pitches:

  • Keep it brief.  Our attention spans are abysmally short. Your listener will tune you out in a matter of seconds if you drone on an on about yourself and your business. Honestly, no one thinks our businesses are as interesting as we do!  Your elevator pitch should be no more than 60 seconds.
  • Your elevator pitch should engage the listener. Make it more an elevator “conversation” than a ‘pitch’. If you can engage the listener it’s that much more effective.
  • It should be simple enough for anyone to understand. Don’t use a bunch of industry jargon that most people won’t understand. Keep it simple
  • It should be in your language. Don’t  try to impress your listener with a whole bunch of high- level,  industry-jargon,  mumbo-jumbo unless you like talking to people whose eyes have glazed over. And don’t try to use language you wouldn’t normally use in a a daily conversation. Create an elevator pitch in your language, so when you deliver it, it sounds you speaking to a friend or it will sound fake. A great elevator pitch should be authentic.
  • Practice it until it rolls off your tongue easily. Practice, but don’t over practice.  Your elevator pitch should never sound like a well-rehearsed pitch!  it should roll off your tongue easily and naturally. Also feel free to change it up a little, tailor it to your audience.And most importantly, relax and have fun with it!

If you would like help creating your own elevator pitch or any marketing messaging to promote your business, a qualified Marketing Consultant can help. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

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