The Art and Power of an Elevator Speech
Many business owners hurt themselves by not being able to CONCISELY VERBALIZE exactly what it is that they do. This is the art of an “elevator speech” – a powerful marketing tool.
An “elevator speech” is a relatively short prepared synopsis of what your business can provide to the listener (a potential customer, partner, or investor). The key words in the last sentence are SHORT and PREPARED.
“How short?” you may ask. Well, short enough for you to express all the important elements of your business model in the time of an average elevator ride (roughly about 2-3 minutes).
“How prepared?” Prepared enough for it to sound fluid, not rushed, and natural – almost as if the person you’re speaking to asked you something that would take no thought to answer such as your age or address. In order to become good at it you would need to do the following three things….practice, practice, practice. (I suggest practicing it in a mirror.)
The real skill of an elevator speech is to know who your audience is and how to present your speech to them in a way that would be more intriguing rather than a turnoff. Are you talking to a potential investor, customer, or partner? Your speech will vary depending on who you are talking to. Use your imagination to pique the interest of others. For instance, “My name is Paul Smith, and I help give credit where credit is due….” AKA, I’m a mortgage broker. Or “My name is Paul Smith and I help people see things the way that they really are…. “ AKA, I’m an optometrist. Stating what your business is or what you do in a creative way helps you become memorable.
The next logical question one may ask is “Why would I ever need an elevator speech?” The truth of the matter is that you really don’t. You also don’t need a sign on your business, business cards, or any other type of advertisement or marketing material. But doing business without these things would be extremely difficult. We live in a fast paced society where most any information can be gotten as quick as you can find your phone and we expect results even quicker. With that being said, your elevator speech is the first impression one gets of you and your business. It is essentially a marketing tool and should be designed as such – captivating and to the point.
Ok, now that you have created and practiced your elevator speech, how do you utilize it? Although I am sure that it would work in an elevator, I would suggest you go out to events where you are likely to meet potential partners and customers. There are usually numerous networking events or business organizations that you can join to interact with other business owners and more importantly potential customers. The more people that you meet, the larger your network will become. The larger your network becomes, the greater the potential is to have business referred back to you.
For a great example of an elevator speech to an investor, check out this video of NYC Business Solutions customer, Precious Williams.
Paul Smith is the Center Director of NYC Business Solutions, Bronx. If you have comments or questions for him – about your elevator speech or another aspect of your business – please drop him a note in the comment section below!