Do you have an elevator pitch? It’s a short description of your business that you respond with when someone asks, “What do you do?” The idea is to have your pitch ready at hand, memorized, for whenever and wherever that question arises. For example, in an elevator when you’re heading to the 10th floor. Not a lot of time to talk about what it is you spend your hours at, day in and day out.
It has to be short, of course. How long does it take the elevator to get to the 10th floor? That’s your exit; you better be done talking by the time you get there. It has to be concise. It needs to encapsulate the essential problem your work addresses, and your solution to that problem. Your elevator speech needs to do that in a way that any listener will find intriguing and want to know more. (Maybe they step off on the 10th floor with you in order to learn more.) It needs to capture their attention immediately, in a way that appeals to their emotions and intellect.
I am grateful to have a mastermind group I can use every week to perfect my own elevator pitch.
In our group, during our first round of the circle, we each deliver our elevator pitches. It’s an opportunity to keep honing it each week, tinkering with it, improving it little by little, polishing it, until it becomes a gem you are happy to present to others. Does your mastermind group start with a round of elevator pitches? You each have just one minute to deliver your pitch. Most weeks, there is no discussion or feedback about the pitch, it’s just boom boom boom around the circle, one after another, each delivering their latest iteration, based on feedback from last week. Then a bit of discussion and debate about one or another of them, with goal of making each of them better and better and better.
There are plenty of other reasons to be participating in a mastermind group, especially if you are an entrepreneur. But continually improving your elevator pitch should rank pretty high on the list.
I love this! For the first several weeks, I stumbled through a poorly thought out jumble of descriptives about what I do. And then I got serious about it and wrote down an actual first draft. Got some feedback that week, and wrote a second draft. The following week I wrote a third draft. In my mastermind group I just simply read my elevator pitch from a notepad on my iPhone. It was evolving rapidly from one week to the next. It’s probably not done yet, but by the fifth draft I think it’s getting pretty good. Here is how I now introduce myself when someone asks about my work here at Oakley Studio.
My Elevator Pitch
“I’m Peter Oakley, webmaster at Oakley Studio Websites in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
We’re a “Website Property Management” firm, which means we manage all our clients’ online
assets. Domains, websites, hosting, backups, SSL certificates, security updates, professional
email service — these are all valuable assets of any business, and we maintain and monitor
their security and performance for the benefit of our clients.”
If I’m feeling especially confident about my delivery, I’ll add,
“Our brand represents defense against the dark side of the Internet.”
If I were pitching in an actual elevator, I’d be sure to have a business card in my pocket, ready to offer up to my new acquaintance who pops the inevitable question: “What do you do?”
Are you ready? Is your pitch practiced, memorized, and good to go at any moment? Be sure to hand your latest potential client your business card as you are stepping out the elevator door. Bid them a good day and the best of success in all their endeavors.