Small Business Marketing: Your Elevator Speech
Have you ever been in a situation where someone asked you what you do, only to stammer and stumble your way through an answer? The problem for a lot of us is that when we’re put on the spot it’s hard to come up with an eloquent answer. So we give an answer that half explains what we do, running the risk of losing the person’s interest in the meantime.
The solution is the elevator speech (also known as an elevator pitch, 30-second pitch or a 60-second pitch).
What is an Elevator Speech?
An elevator speech is a short speech—no more than two sentences (or 30 to 60 seconds)—that clearly explains who you are, what you do and who you do it for. The goal is to be as clear and concise as possible, so you don’t lose your audience’s attention. At the same time, you have to give them compelling information about yourself, to encourage them to consider you the next time they are in the market for goods or services your business provides. Then, you finish off by handing the listener your well-designed business card, so they have no trouble remembering you or your business.
What goes in an Elevator Speech?
The elevator speech includes information about who your are, what your company or organization does and who it provides that good or service for.
An example of an elevator speech is: “Gold Leaf Graphic Design and Consulting helps small business owners with their marketing strategy by designing marketing collateral and functional websites that grab people’s attention and encourage them to take action. We get potential clients excited about your organization.”
Some people include statistics in their elevator speech, such as, “ABC Consulting is a technology consulting firm that helps increase productivity in medium-sized technology corporations up to 60 percent by streamlining company procedures.” Of course, if you’re going to use statistics in your elevator speech, make sure you have the facts to back those statistics up.
It’s important that your personality and enthusiasm shine through, so use language that is natural to you and shows off how excited you are about what you do. That excitement will engage the person you’re speaking with.
How Long Does an Elevator Speech Take to Develop?
The speech can take a long time to develop and it should change as your business evolves. The important thing is to practice it frequently, so it becomes natural to say and so it sounds natural to your listener. The difficult thing is to become so familiar with your elevator speech that you know it by heart, but not in such a way that it sounds rehearsed or phony. Take time to practice with friends, who can help you refine your speech.
You can also have a number of speeches depending on your audiences. For example, at a small-business networking event, you may want a speech that highlights your services for small businesses, while at a technology conference you may want a speech that focuses on technology. One company may be interested in lowering costs while another is interested in your unique services. So it helps to have a couple of elevator speeches on-hand, in case you need them.
Listen (and be prepared to follow up)
When you’ve finished your speech, give your listeners a chance to respond. They may have follow-up questions based on what you’ve told them. For example, they may ask how you can help their company or what unique services you provide. Or, you can close with a question about their business, to help identify their business needs. Always be prepared to follow up your speech; don’t expect that the conversation will end when your speech does.
Hand Out Your Business Card
Every speech needs a good ending that encourages listeners to keep you in mind when they’re in need of your products or services. One of the best ways to do this is to have a well-designed, attention-grabbing business card to pass to your listeners at the end of your speech. By handing out your business card during your elevator speech you’ve not only given them a way to contact you, you’ve provided them with an association for that business card. That way, they’ll remember you.
A great elevator speech will encourage listeners to ask more questions about your business or how you can help them. A well-designed business card is the perfect way to close your elevator speech, and the right card will generate interest in you and your business. A great elevator speech combined with a fantastic business card are memorable and will encourage potential clients or customers to think of you in the future.
So take a few hours, grab a few good friends and practice your elevator speech. Then, make sure your business card is as memorable as your speech.
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