It’s that ubiquitous networking question people dread:
“So, what do you do?”
It seems so innocuous, but as business owners, we know that any time we have the opportunity to answer that question, we have an opportunity to introduce ourselves to potential new customers. What was a simple question is now a Big. Deal.
Of course, we don’t want to come across as desperate. Or needy. Or pushy. Or uncertain. If you’ve ever been to a conference or business networking event, you’ve seen the people who work their way around the room, introducing themselves to everyone and shoving a business card in their face.
We definitely don’t want to be that guy!
So how do you do it? How do you craft a compelling answer to the question “What do you do?” in just a few sentences and without coming off like the weirdo with the business card fetish?
This is what we call an elevator pitch — the name coming from the idea that you only have the length of an elevator ride to tell someone important who you are and what you want. Like all pitches, being able to deliver one is a vital business skill, which is why I’ve devoted an entire Destination Guide and month inside Business Class to crafting the Perfect Pitch.
Inside the guide I discuss:
- How to increase your confidence in pitching and make your offer catch your audience’s attention.
- An actual script of a pitch I used to land a client worth tens of thousands of dollars for my business.
- Examples of great pitches from companies in different industries.
- A selection of templates that you can use to quickly and easily craft your own perfect pitch for a variety of situations.
- And more!
And it’s why I’ve put together the following tips and a free Elevator & Sales Pitch Template to help get you started with a fill-in-the-blank script and examples — just click the link to grab the template and read on!
- Know your purpose. Think about your audience and what you want them to take away from the pitch. The clearer you are on your purpose, the clearer your pitch will be. Think about the opportunity you want to present to the listener — whether it’s to do business with you, make a referral, partner, or something else.
- Don’t say what you do. Too often when we are asked “What do you do?” that’s exactly what our answer is. But what the other person really wants to know is, “What do you do for your customers?” Answer that question instead.
- Don’t get too cute with your title. I know lots of entrepreneurs who shy away from traditional titles — like coach, copywriter, designer, etc. — because they think it’s too limiting or doesn’t really describe what they do. That’s fine, but if you make up a title for yourself like “Chief Explorer” or “Actualization Catalyst” don’t expect anyone else to know what that means.
- Start with how you help. A great way to start formulating your elevator pitch is to start by saying, “I help…” and describe your ideal customer. That way your listener knows immediately a) if they are a potential customer for you and b) if they know anyone who fits the bill.
- Get specific. When describing who you help, get very specific. If you say you help “women,” that’s not going to trigger anyone’s memory. If you say you help “women in midlife who are struggling with career change,” it’s both more memorable and will instantly trigger the other person if they know someone who fits that description.
- Talk about results. After you say who you help, talk about the problem you help them overcome. If you sell shirts, the result isn’t the shirt, but how people feel wearing the shirt. If you are a coach, your don’t want to dwell on your clients’ problems, but how you help them overcome those problems.
- Tell a story. Work on making your pitch as engaging and novel as possible with the words you choose. Don’t just say that you make clothes that are comfortable; say you make clothes that feel like wearing a cloud, that feel like armor protecting you from the world, or that feel like wearing nothing at all! I guarantee a story description will get people to sit up and take notice.
- Include a “so that…” statement. After you’ve said who you help and the results you help them achieve, tack on the phrase, “so that…” This is the benefits statement that conveys why someone really wants to work with you or buy your product. You don’t actually have to use the words “so that” but be sure you include the sentiment.
- Include a differentiator. What makes you different? Especially if you do something that is fairly common — like an accountant, real estate agent, photographer, etc. — you need to spell out what makes you different right up front. You can even say something like, “Unlike [my competition], I [key differentiator]…”
- Keep it short. Remember, this is called an “elevator” pitch for a reason — you need to be able to deliver it in a short amount of time. Don’t try to include your entire story, every product you sell, or every demographic you serve. Keep it short, sweet, punchy, and to the point.
- Have a call to action. You’re making this pitch for a reason, right? What is it? This is the part you will probably customize the most from opportunity to opportunity. If you’re talking to someone you already know might be a good customer, you could say, “Could we schedule a meeting to talk more about this?” If you’re talking to a stranger, you might say, “Do you know anyone who…?” Either way, know what your ask is and make it.
- Practice. The only way to get better at your elevator pitch is to practice. Write it down, read it out loud, and try it out on your friends and family. It will probably feel awkward at first, but you’ll get better at it as you go.
In the Elevator & Sales Pitch Template, I offer more examples and a fill-in-the-blank template for crafting your elevator pitch, but here are a few more examples:
Instead of saying, “I make jewelry,” you could say:
I help professional women feel more confident with a jewelry wardrobe that is beautiful, unique, and appropriate for any boardroom so that they stand out without sticking out.
Instead of saying, “I’m a graphic designer,” you might say:
I help musicians and bands create a visual brand that helps them get known and recognized with innovative designs for gig posters, album art, merchandise and more.
Instead of, “I make online trainings for business owners,” I might say:
I help women business owners learn the skills they need to be successful, #workfromwherever, and grow to a million dollars a year in revenue.
See how specific that is?
Now it’s your turn! Download the free Elevator & Sales Pitch Template from inside the all new Pitch Perfect Destination Guide for Business Class members. And of course, the template is just the beginning — because learning to pitch yourself and your business is both an art and a craft that every business owner must know. I go into much more detail about how to become a pitching pro and use that to create lasting success in your business.