“So, what do you do?” How many times have you been asked that question? At a networking function, a business event, a barbecue, in the elevator, anywhere?
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How did you go answering the question?
You may have nailed it in a clear, succinct sentence or like many people you may have stumbled, paused, gathered your thoughts and then launched into a jumbled monologue about what you do and how you do it that ended up either boring your questioner or losing them in the details.
Many people find it difficult to articulate what they do in a simple and easy to understand statement that is delivered with sincere confidence.
This statement is often referred to in sales as your ‘elevator pitch’. Why is it referred to as an elevator pitch? Wikipedia has a succinct definition:
An elevator pitch, elevator speech or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organisation or event and its value proposition.
The name ‘elevator pitch’ reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately 30 seconds to two minutes. The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will continue after the elevator ride or end in the exchange of business cards or a scheduled meeting.
A variety of people, including project managers, salespeople, evangelists and policy makers, commonly rehearse and use elevator pitches to get their point across quickly.
So how do you create your own elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch needs to be easy to say and remember. It needs to be written in simple language (no jargon). It should be easy for anyone in your business to understand and relate to so that they can share it at a barbecue or any event. It needs to be written from your customer’s (user’s) perspective.
When we are asked what we do at Barrett this is what we say:
We help companies improve their sales operations. By working with us our clients can sell more, more effectively with greater margins and less risk than they did before.
That’s it. Often this gets people wanting to talk to us more. Which is great.
So what is your elevator pitch?
Remember everybody lives by selling something.