So you’ve made it to a networking meeting, ready to talk to people about the wonderful world of image consultancy (or whatever your business is) and then someone asks you “What do you do?”
Alternatively this could happen at a social function, at the school gate, on holiday or even in the supermarket queue. This is the perfect time to deliver your Elevator Pitch, but how often do we end up a stuttering and mumbling mess?!
What is an Elevator Pitch?
It could be described as – “A way to introduce yourself and your business in a succinct and engaging way, that encourages the listener to ask further questions.”
I’m sure you’ve been on the receiving end of other people’s attempts to introduce themselves – a boring tirade of irrelevant information or a full-on sales spiel – this isn’t what an elevator pitch should be!! The concept behind it is that you should be able to introduce yourself in the time it would take an elevator to travel to the top floor of a building (max 30 seconds). This doesn’t give you much time, so you need to be interesting, engaging and focussed so that the other person is intrigued and wants to learn more.
Remember, networking is all about relationship building, so if you can create an interesting introduction that makes people curious, interested and actually want to talk to you then they are ultimately more likely to buy from you or recommend you.
We all know that first impressions count so if you come across as professional with a memorable and positive elevator pitch then people are more likely to believe you.
A fantastic elevator pitch will also help to breakdown any misconceptions people might have about your profession – I have had people back away from me many times looking worried when I’ve said “I’m an Image Consultant”!!
You need to use something different from just saying your job title or profession eg accountant or divorce lawyer – people’s eyes may start to glaze over!!
How does it work?
Your elevator pitch needs to be memorable to the right people and it should give a congruent message – in line with your website, business card and personal branding. People will be judging you, your ability and your potential value to them – all within a few seconds so you need an effective opening that taps into people’s emotions, their senses, their minds and their needs.
A good elevator pitch will build your credibility as you describe how you help your clients improve their businesses or lives. You will, however, need more than one elevator pitch depending on your audience and how long you have to speak so it is worth developing and practising a few options.
Think about your niche – what you do and for whom – and the value that you offer them. It is all about appealing to their emotions and stressing the benefits of what you can offer them in a clear and concise way.
As an Image Consultant or Personal Stylist the benefits of what we offer to someone would probably fall into one of the following categories:
Save them time
Save them money
Save them effort
Get more work
Get a promotion
Get a date!
Your elevator pitch should mention: who you work with, the problem that you solve and the positive result of working with you.
Here is a quick example of different length elevator pitches with the same basic message:
A high impact 3 word introduction:
“I change lives!”
A short and punchy 7 – 10 word introduction:
“I help business owners make the right first impression.”
A 15 second elevator pitch:
“I help business owners feel confident when they meet new clients for the first time by ensuring that they always make the right first impression”.
A 30 second elevator pitch:
“I work with small business owners who want to create the right first impression. What we do is develop a personal brand so that what they say, do and look like is congruent with their business image, which in turn means that they are seen as believable and trustworthy”.
The idea is that after you have delivered any of the above pitches the listener will say something like, “That sounds really interesting, tell me more”. Therefore it is imperative that you do have something else to say to them and that you now engage in a conversation! And once they have expressed an interest ensure that you take their business card and follow-up or arrange a meeting there and then.
Hopefully you can see how much stronger your networking will be with a great elevator pitch – so get practising!!