If you are like me and many others I know, you have spent way too many hours in front of the computer or a blank piece of paper, working on your elevator pitch. If you had two minutes or less, what would you say about “what you do?”
As I have learned the hard way over the years, if you can’t spell something out on paper, you aren’t there yet. You have the germ of an idea, but no architecture. Hence the need to write first, then speak. Only when you have honed your thoughts through multiple revisions, and then rehearsed it in front of a sympathetic audience, can your words come to life. Very few of us can express what we do in a short phrase – “I fix bicycles” – without attempting a couple of iterations on the theme. Yet we need to distill it, or we lose our audience.
So what happens when I say:
Your elevator pitch. You have two minutes. Or maybe thirty seconds. Go.
Can you make it interesting, fresh and versatile enough to keep people’s interest and deliver those same few lines to contacts the world over and in your own backyard? How do you dress it up for the formality at networking events and down for the banter at kids’ soccer games? How does it look in print?
I recently joined a women’s entrepreneurship group, and six of us presented our elevator pitches today. We all have useful, personalized services to offer. We did not all, however, make a concise or compelling argument about why anyone should buy our services. In fact, a few of us were great in the first fifteen seconds or so, and we should have quit while we were ahead. Others delivered an “information overload” that would send any real prospect right out the door.
The essential elements in an elevator pitch are not what features you offer a client, but what clients you serve and the benefits they get from hiring you. People don’t hire you for your experience, or your fancy “tools” that get the job done, but for what you offer them. Focus on your target audience (i.e., niche) and the benefits of hiring you:
Who do you serve?
What value do you bring?
I would love to hear your answers.
Post originally published on LinkedIn Pulse as Your Elevator Pitch.