It is one sentence, two at the most, and serves as your benefit statement. Your elevator speech needs to be just what its name implies, short enough to share on an elevator ride.
It should provide clear, jargon-free information about who you are, what you do and what’s in it for the prospect.
Craft your elevator speech when you have a crystal clear picture of your business. Simply stating your industry and title is too vague. You must be able to articulate the main problem your specific type or business focus solves for your target market.
You must also know your target market and what motivates them. For example, when I was networking with financial planners, I tested a few elevator speeches to see which got the best response.
The one that worked well was “I partner with new financial planners who want to blow their numbers out of the water.”
The one that flopped was “I coach financial planners so that they can effectively market themselves.”
The latter describes what I actually do with them, but that language is not as appealing to them as the other statement because they tend to be competitive and driven to win.
What to Include in Your Elevator Speech
1. Your name
Oddly, some people forget to put their name in their elevator speech. You are promoting yourself, so be sure to state your full name clearly.
2. Who you work with or who your product is for
Identify your target market. Being this specific won’t eliminate buyers, it will make it easier for people to refer you business.
3. What’s the benefit they get if they buy what you’re offering
You can state either the end result or share the problem that you solve.
4. What is your product or service
Most elevator speeches work well without mentioning the actual product or service, because most of the time people buy the benefit. Sometimes it is necessary to include. If it is, do so without going into detail or listing the features of what you offer. Come up with a succinct and attractive way to state what you sell.
What Not to Include in Your Elevator Speech
1. Your title
In most cases your title doesn’t tell people much about what you do. It wastes words and time. If they are interested, they can see it on your business card.
Never include what you charge in your elevator speech, but do be prepared to discuss your fees if asked.
Features are not benefits, but many professionals confuse the two. Features are things the product or service has, such as a new car’s features might include anti-lock brakes, a lighted mirror on the sun visor and six cup holders. The features may provide benefits, such as safety or comfort. In your elevator speech, focus on the benefits.
Unless your packaging is what makes your product or service unique, such as video conferencing, then leave it out of your short description.
Formula for Composing a Great Elevator Speech
- Your Name + Target Market + Benefits or
- Your Name + Product/Service + Target Market + Benefits
Example 1: I’m Tracy Manning. I facilitate virtual teams to maximize their productivity.
Example 2: I’m Jonathan Smith. I guide at-risk teens to develop their sense of self-esteem and stay in school.
Example 3: I’m Jane Doe. As a room designer, I partner with new homeowners who want to their new home to feel like a summer cottage in England.
Example 4: I’m Jason Horn. Carpet Layers International specializes in quality installations for property owners with round staircases.
Take note of the strong verb used in each of the examples. You will want to choose an equally impactful verb for your elevator speech.
I suggest using the formula to create a basic elevator speech and then spice up the language.
Once you’ve crafted a couple of elevator speeches you’ll want to test them out to see which gets the best response.
After you’ve identified the winner, the key to using it effectively is to practice, practice, practice. Say it out loud in front of a mirror until it flows comfortably off your tongue.
Your elevator speech describes who you are and what you do professionally. Take pride in it.
Recommended Books on Crafting an Elevator Speech:
- Small Message, Big Impact: The Elevator Speech Effect
- The New Elevator Pitch
- Give Your Elevator Speech a Lift!
- How To Craft Your Elevator Speech
New Business Mentor Leah Grant publishes Startup Success, a weekly enewsletter. If you’re thinking about starting a new business or are in the early phases of entrepreneurship, get your FR.EE New Business Startup Kit including the Secrets of Successful Business Owners audio at http://www.leahgrant.com
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- Differentiation: Smart Marketing Strategies for the Solo Entrepreneur
- Do You Believe in the Products You are Selling?