An elevator speech is a sales call in a sentence. It either confirms or destroys your image — not to mention how it affects your results.
If you find yourself stammering and stuttering when you should be selling yourself and your services, consider the following tips:
1. State what you do in terms of a benefit. Example: “We help salespeople really engage their buyers when they deliver a sales presentation or a written proposal.”
2. Make sure the benefit has a “hook.” The hook causes listeners to say to themselves: “Oh, yeah? We have problems with that, too. I wonder how he/she does that?” People don’t really care what you do — they care about what you may be able to do for THEM.
3. Add a credibility builder. You may mention well-known clients to establish that others value your services. Consider key results achieved for clients, such as a certification process “just completed” to accomplish the same effect. Example: “Our clients — such as IBM, ExxonMobil, and Frito-Lay — tell us that they’ve been able to improve their closing ratio by up to 20 percent.”
4. Deliver your “speech” as if off the cuff. Never sound purposeful or canned. Work in some conversational glitches. Stumble on a word, use a colloquial phrase or bridge from the conversation at hand with a spontaneous segue. Give careful attention to your phrasing, speaking rate, tone, and demeanor. They all provide context to make the message sound as if you’re talking friend to friend.
5. Be quotable. Make it memorable so the other person can pass it along to others interested in what you offer. Before you charge me with contradicting the previous point about a casual delivery, let me elaborate: There should be some phrase that sums up the essence of your offering succinctly.
You might deliver your memorable quote in a casual way like this: “I often tell clients that when they need to talk to the top brass, our presentation programs open the door. How well do your people do that in the C-suite — routinely talk to the top brass with the class?”
6. Prefer the vernacular to jargon. Sound as though you’re talking to your brother, not a prospective boss or client.
7. Keep it brief-not more than 15-30 seconds. Remember that people have attention spans geared to 15-second, 30-second, and 60-second TV commercials. And those employ screen changes to hold attention. How often do you flip the channel or leave the room for a snack?
8. End with a question. Your goal is to engage the other person in a dialogue. Example: “How difficult do your employees find it to do X around your office?”
If you just end the “speech,” you’ll typically get a pleasant nod or polite “Hmmm.” And silence leaves both of you uncomfortable. But with a question, the person can either respond briefly and change the subject if uninterested, or continue about the challenges you can help him meet-ideal.