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Building your Elevator Pitch

Posted on 26/11/2015, 10:11

Have you ever been in that situation? You know the one……you are in lift, with a stranger, it’s a slow lift and they ask that question:

‘So, what do you do?’

All those training sessions where some, well meaning, person has told you that you need an ‘elevator pitch’ flash through your mind and you stand there, like a rabbit in the headlights. You launch into a ramble and before you even get to the good part, the stranger reaches his floor and you’ve lost him. All he has is the memory of a strange chap, in a lift, who couldn’t explain his business.

An elevator pitch is a 30-second answer to the question, “So, what do you do?” You need an elevator pitch because the question is often asked by complete strangers in random places. You need a response that is both cogent and simple.

The big mistake most people make with their elevator pitch is to state their title and give a brief job description. That’s not what it’s about! The idea is to engage the questioner, identify the customer need your service can satisfy and how your service can benefit them.

So, how do we do that in 30 seconds? Here’s how:

  • Do that thing your teachers (and my mum) used to tell you off about – answer a question with a question. In this case, the question you ask is “Do you know…?” This gives you the opportunity to identify a customer need. As a Business Coach I use, “Did you know that many small business owners are so wrapped up in the day to day workings of their businesses that they often aren’t seeing the rewards and benefits they started the business for. They are too busy working in the business and not on it.”
  • This then gives you the opportunity to say how you can help. “What I do is help them to identify and understand the key issues that could be holding their business back and then help them overcome these.”
  • The final part is the ‘big benefit’. I use “This means that they can start to reap the rewards they deserve and start enjoying running their business again.”

You can construct your own elevator pitch using this simple structure:

  1. First, ask a question beginning with the words “Do you know?” that identifies the itch that needs scratching or need that your service addresses.
  2. Second, describe your service, starting with “What I do” or “What we do.”
  3. Third, explain why your product or service is valuable by describing the benefits it delivers, beginning with the words “This means.”

This simple structure will help you devise a memorable elevator pitch so you’re prepared every time someone asks “So, what do you do?”

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