You’ve just been introduced to an amazing prospect … overheard a person with a problem you can solve … or been asked “So what line of work are you in?” … how will you reply?
Whether you call it an elevator speech, an elevator pitch or a business introduction, the first minute you spend chatting with a prospect will make or break the deal.
A clear and impressive elevator speech cuts right to the chase. It opens up a conversation about your business, and gives you an opportunity to reveal your passion and expertise. Best of all, once it’s perfected, there are literally dozens of ways you can use it to help kick-start your new business.
- Forward it to family and friends so they can help spread the word about what you do.
- Post it on your Facebook fan page
- Add it as a signature to your outgoing emails
- Use it for networking
- Say it to people you are introduced to
- Use it as your introduction when cold-calling
- Leave it as a voice mail message
- Plus more!
This article will help you build an irresistible elevator speech. (*You’ll find elevator speech examples at the bottom of this page to help you.)
Let’s get started!
1. Start Building Your Elevator Pitch by Slipping Into Your Customers’ Shoes
An effective elevator speech will be interesting and appealing to the customers you serve. The first step is to understand your audience. Start by creating a customer “profile” (almost like an image or avatar) so you have a good idea of what 80% of your BEST customers would LOOK like.
Of course, most businesses serve a mixture of people with various character traits, but I want you to think about the 80/20 rule and visualize the majority. Are they men or women? What’s their average age or education level? Where do they live? What phase of life are they in? etc.
Jot down the common characteristics that best describe the type of customers you are most likely to attract.
2. Use Your Elevator Pitch to Release your Inner Passion
The easiest way to “toot your own horn” without boasting or bragging is by expressing your passion for helping others.
What problems can you solve?
What promises can you make?
How do people feel after using your products or services?
How are your customers’ lives improved?
Your elevator pitch is not the time to pat yourself on the back. It’s the time to be humble and appreciative. People don’t care that you graduated Summa Cum Laude or that you were the youngest person ever to make partner in your firm. Rather than focusing on you and your accomplishements, jot down everything you can do for them and why it’s important for you to help them. You’ll find examples of elevator speeches below.
3. To Make Your Elevator Speech Unique Let Your Personality Shine Through
For a new business market positioning is everything. If you focus on something unique (something that sets you apart from your competitors) your prospects will want to learn more. How can you hook your audience with a unique selling proposition? What can you do better, cheaper, or more customized? Be specific and come up with something that your competitors can’t duplicate.
Start by writing down what you do … but not in terms of your job title. Instead of writing, “I’m an accountant,” think about all the ways your customers benefit! For example: “I help businesses lower their tax liability.” Rather than saying that you sell beauty products, you could say that you help women look 10 years younger. You need to brainstorm at least a dozen ways to describe your job duties. If something seems silly or ridiculous, write it down anyway. This is not the time to censor yourself; you can carefully evaluate each statement later.
Remember, a feature is explaining that a beauty package has an 8oz bottle of body wash, 3 lipsticks and a sample perfume. A benefit is telling your prospective customer that the package will moisturize their skin and leave them looking glamorous. Again, it is all about what’s in it for your prospect. Tell them how your product or service will make their lives better or easier. Everything else is just boring details.
One such elevator speech example would be: “Last year, after reviewing the books for one of my small business clients, I was able to knock 25% from their state and federal taxes.” It’s these types of comments that build curiosity and entice people into wanting to learn more. To get your creative juices started, view the elevator speech examples below.
4. Adding a Touch of Personality Will Pump Up Even The Dryest Elevator Speech
Story telling is a great way to reveal a bit about yourself, add honesty and interest, and connect more deeply with your prospects. By adding a bit of a story to your elevator speech it will be more facinating and more memorable.
Why did you start your business?
Why are you passionate about helping others?
When do you feel the most successful?
How do you feel after you help someone solve their problems?
5. Keep The Elevator Pitch Concise and Focused
You’ll want to keep your elevator speech punchy, concise, and to the point. With only 30 seconds to fit everything in … and a normal rate of speech of around 150 words per minute, keep your elevator speech to about 75 words, tops! Any longer and you’ll probably lose your prospect’s attention.
6. End with a Strong Call to Action
As you pull together your elevator speech, keep in mind what you hope to accomplish at the end. Of course, your goal in speaking to someone at a cocktail party will be very different than a chance encounter with the Chief Financial Officer, however try to end your elevator speech with a strong close that’s customized to the person you’re speaking to.
If you are speaking to a person that can help you raise capital for your business, you could ask to send a more detailed business plan. If you are just introducing yourself for networking purposes, you can say “If you know of anyone that could benefit from my services can you please keep me in mind?” The point is to wrap up your elevator speech with a request that will hopefully allow you to continue your conversation in the future.
Come up with 10 action statements and requests that can be used at the end of your elevator pitch. These could range from asking for a referral, setting up an interview, requesting a business card or offering your services. Again, don’t censor yourself right now, you can always select the best responses later.
7. Pulling Together Your Elevator Story…
Now, it is time to put all your notes together. Re-read what you’ve jotted down and highlight the strongest points. Then, organize your highlights into a logical sequence. This will be the beginning of your elevator pitch! Next, find a few good friends whose judgment you trust and test your pitch on them. Ask them if it sounds honest and natural. Is it too long, or too short? Does it clearly explain what products and services you provide? Would people easily know the types of customers you serve? Does it create curiosity and interest? Make adjustments as needed.
Once you have the pitch just right, say it until it becomes second nature. Even better, record your elevator speech, and play it back a few times until it sinks in.
Elevator Speech Examples
Here are a few sample elevator speeches for you. Keep in mind, that not all of your elevator speech needs to come out in one long rambling blurb. You can make it sound more natural by adding in a slight pause, or delivering it in sections. The main idea is to be prepared, so that you sound professional and polished.
- Hi, I’m John Doe, and I help businesses reduce their tax liability. Last year, after reviewing the books of one company, my suggestions reduced their federal and state taxes by 25%. I’m sure I could help your business save money as well. While some of my competitors charge an hourly rate, I use a flat fee so my clients know exactly what their costs will be. I am currently accepting new clients; may I send you some additional information?
- It’s so good to meet you. My name is Mary Smith. I have been helping women find their inner beauty for 15 years. The products I sell are only available through independent consultants and are not sold in stores. Our products pamper you and can make you look years younger. I have one client who is 67 years old and all her laugh lines disappeared after using our products. Can I interest you in a product brochure?
- I help struggling entrepreneurs to restructure their business. Together we automate procedures to eliminate time guzzlers; add systems to improve work flow and customer services, and look at some serious ways to slash costs. After 10 years in bank management, I’m proud to finally able to help the small businesses who need it the most.
- I create comprehensive web-based business management systems for large manufacturing companies like Xerox and Toshiba. The management systems gives key decision makers all the stats and facts about their manufacturing operation so they can run more efficiently. I’d be thrilled to provide details on the projects I’ve worked on, if you’d like the details.
- I provide a spick and span house cleaning service to upscale clients in Beverly Hills. I bring all the supplies needed, and clean with baby-friendly organic cleaning products. And of course, I’m bonded, discrete and reliable. I currently have an opening, would you know of anyone who could benefit from my services?
When opportunity knocks will you be ready?
Hopefully the elevator speech examples will get you started? Remember, a great speech is an indispensable part of your marketing arsenal. It can lead to referrals, gain sales or land you that dream job or project.
You never know when you’ll have a chance to gain an influential partner or make a big sale. It can happen at a networking function, when you meet someone new at a friend’s BBQ, or when a happy customer walks into your office with a solid referral. Either way, it’s in your best interest to make a favorable impression.
Once you have your basic pitch down, don’t be afraid to customize it or make changes later. As you practice using your elevator pitch and learn what grabs attention and what makes your prospect’s eyes glaze over, refine your selling points.