You’re at a party and someone asks you the stock standard, dreaded question, “So, what do you do?” You mumble your way through your usual, uninspiring, and slightly confusing response, only to be met with a blank stare. Good chat. But we’ve all been there. Talking about what you do often evokes a sense of self doubt and uncertainty. However, being able to summarise your passion into a succinct, compelling soundbite is one of the most valuable things you can do to move forward in business.
Now imagine you step into an elevator and following you is your dream client. In a flurry of professional serendipity, they ask you the old ‘so, what do you do?’ line. You realise that you have about seven floors and thirty seconds to convince this dream client that you have something pretty damn good to offer them. You might freeze, mumble or offer the uninspiring spiel you’ve stumbled through for years. Or, if you’ve done your homework, you can deliver that succinct, compelling soundbite, and thirty seconds is more than enough to win them over. This winning approach is aptly known as the Elevator Pitch.
Formulating a succinct elevator pitch is incredibly valuable for gaining leads and finding new business. Often we get so bogged down with day to day operations that the romance and story behind what we do is lost. Knowing why you do what you do not only helps to open these doors, but it keeps you in check too. You can remind yourself of the reason – the passion – behind why you started your business. Here’s our formula for putting together a great elevator pitch.
1: Talk about Benefits, Not Features
Your prospective client doesn’t want to know if the latest sneakers you designed have a polyvinyl chloride or polyurethane sole, they want to know if they’ll be able to run faster and longer when they wear them. Granted, there might be some people out there who do really want to know, but with thirty seconds up your sleeve, this information can be reserved for later. By the time they ask you about the features, you’ve probably already won them over with the benefits. When thinking about the benefits of your product or service, always ask yourself the question, how will this improve their lives?
2: Focus on ‘Why’
Consider a broad statement that clearly articulates why you do what you do. Reeling off services is a surefire way to eat into your valuable time. Never assume that the list of services you rattle off will meet your client’s needs. You can sell yourself short if you leave off the one, crucial option that offers them the perfect solution. A clear, concise statement that creates meaning and value for your client will trump services any day.
3: Be a Storyteller
Everyone has a story about why they went into business. We also have our own versions of the universal stories that help us to relate to each other. Harnessing this will undoubtedly make you more approachable, trustworthy, and the prospective client will warm towards you far more readily. Tell your story and utilise humanising anecdotes.
4: Focus on Your Audience, Solve a Problem!
When you started your business, you did so by creating a service or product that answers a question. This act stems from our skills and experiences. By articulating what question that is, you also articulate the common problem that your customer faces. Further articulating the emotions this problem conjures up gives you a head start on the game. Acknowledging these emotions gives your prospective client an opportunity to connect deeply to your offering. Not only this, but anticipating this emotional landscape keeps you in control of the pitch.
5: Use a Case Study
Prove how good you are. A case study, client testimonial or anecdote that backs up your ability is a game changer in the elevator pitch. You’ve done the hard work and you should be proud of your successes to date. Clients should know about these wins and if you don’t talk about them, you’re only selling yourself short.
To find out more about how you can open more doors for your business, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org