I met with an attorney recently who runs a small firm in Texas. It was a casual meeting of cycling enthusiasts but we eventually talked about his business, just kicking around some ideas about systems and such… And he’s built a nice business that is growing and making him money – both very good places to be for any business owner!
He shared with me his personal strengths and weaknesses in terms of how he is managing his business. One of his ‘pride points’ was how he ‘simplified’ his response to the question “what do you do?” from family, prospects, and the general public. He often found himself stumbling around that question so he simply created a brief explanation that he had printed on the back of his business card – so he simply responded to that question by handing out his card.
Having moved from the insurance business to the software business then back, I understand the challenge of delivering an interesting and informative “elevator pitch” that gives someone a 15 second “what can this guy do for me” solution, or worse – “what is he going to sell me?”
The two of us agreed that a better, more thought out response to the “what do you do?” question might help him open more doors and generate more immediate interest in his firm.
How do you overcome the trap of the elevator pitch – meaning how to you set yourself up as a person of value? How do you overcome both the potential “I’m asking but not listening” and the “he’s giving me a sales pitch?” reactions that most people will most likely put forth?
Matt Oechsli hit the nail on the head with his blog post “Don’t Sell Yourself Short” when he said that you have a rare opportunity to make a value statement with your elevator pitch… And then leveraging that opportunity by combining good body language and a concise statement…
His litmus test for the elevator pitch? Can your spouse and/or support staff explain and articulate your elevator pitch with ease? When they can, you can say your mission statement has the potential to be of value to you, and those you meet.