While most business owners know exactly what an elevator pitch is, very few have one prepared and even less admit to using them to strike up a conversation with a potential client or customer!
We often assume we know our business inside and out and could explain it to anyone, but when the pressures on and you know you’ve only got a matter of minutes to impress someone, it’s easy to get a bit tongue tied and forget to mention important aspects of your business!
We spoke with International Training and Support Manager of Express Business Group, Kym Krey, on why every single business owner should have an elevator pitch prepared and how to create a high impact sales pitch you’ll want to use over and over!
Firstly, you want to think of your elevator pitch like a verbal billboard creating a memorable first impression, Kym explains. “It’s the way you connect with a potential customer, grab their attention, convey the problem you solve simply and concisely and leave the customer wanting to know more. As you walk away, they should be thinking, “Wow!”
There are so many situations where you’ll be asked, “what do you do?” and every one of these is an opportunity to grow your business if handled well. Regardless of whether you are at a bar or a networking event, with a great elevator pitch you will become a client magnet!
“Your goal is to always eave someone interested, intrigued and wanting to know more about you. If you’re trying to ‘close’ within 30 seconds of meeting them, you risk coming across as pushy and driving people away. Engage them, capture their interest or curiosity and make an arrangement to catch up again,” Kym says.
And… it’s far more important to get their business card than it is to give them yours. With theirs, you can give them a call to follow up and make an arrangement to meet to chat further. If you only give yours, you could be sitting by the phone, waiting for a call that never comes because they’ve either forgotten or lost your card.
So what should your elevator pitch include? Here are Kym’s top tips for perfecting your elevator pitch!
Keep it short and sharp
An effective elevator pitch should be 30 seconds or less, engaging and to the point. Much longer than that and you’ll not only lose your potential customer’s attention but you’ll probably see them backing away and looking for the door! Save the full description of what you do for the next meeting. With well-chosen words, less is definitely more.
Confidence is key
Having confidence in yourself and your business is critically important for how you will come across to the other person. New customers will be drawn to you when you sound like you’re an expert at what you do. Remember to offer them a firm handshake, look them in the eye and smile!
Be a problem solver
Offer an explanation of the problem you solve, the value you offer and who your ideal customer is. E.g. “I help small business owners do X….”, or “I help busy householders free up time by…” or “I’m working with neighboring businesses to…” etc. This is where you would tailor your pitch to the person you’re talking to if you know who they are or what they do already.
Love what you do
Let your passion for your business shine through your personality! It must be evident that you love what you do and passionately believe in the value of the service you offer. If you don’t think what you do is fabulous, they’re unlikely to as well!
Know your call to action
This could be anything from: “I’d love to catch up when you have a few minutes and tell you more about how I can help. In fact, I’m working in the area again on Friday if that works with your schedule?” to “Does that sound like something I can help you with?”
Explain how they benefit from your service
The biggest no-no in an elevator pitch is telling people ‘what you do’. The only person who cares what you do is you. Your prospect wants to know what you could do for them.
Once you’re confident you know what you want to say, take the time to sit and write it out, over and over again, until you have 2-3 sentences (maximum) which convey your message in a light but powerful way. “In doing this, you’ll think of new words to use and better ways to explain yourself until you really nail it. Then, practice, practice, practice until you know it off by heart and can say it effortlessly from memory – and not sound like a robot!” Kym says. “You need to know this so well that if I woke you up at 3 am and said “Quick…. what do you do?” your elevator pitch should just roll out of your mouth without a moment’s thought. If you’re struggling to remember it when you need it, you haven’t practiced it enough.”
Kym recommends steering clear of investing cash in marketing your business until you get this right, or you’ll burn whatever opportunities or enquiries come your way. It’s that important!
“Once you’re fluent, tailor your pitch for a few different types of customers or businesses by focusing on their unique issues and how you solve them, so you can demonstrate that you know your stuff and position yourself as an expert. If you’ve already worked with other businesses in their industry or people with that particular problem, don’t be afraid to mention that. This gives you real credibility,” Kym says.