Picture it. They are coming towards you and you know they are going to ask you what you are doing now...
If you impress them there could be plenty of business coming your way, but if you don't...
The overriding temptation is to leap straight in and explain what you do. "I sell computers", "I design houses", "I make cars". This is understandable but wrong.
The truth is that people are rarely impressed by the "what". Decision making has been proven to be controlled by that part of the brain that is linked to emotional engagement not reason - the area where trust and happiness exist. In this part of the brain, judgements will be influenced by the "why" not the what.
So a better approach would be to get to the why you are doing something in the first 10 seconds - don't hang around....
"You know I'm passionate about how small businesses need expert advice, so now I am ...."
"I've always been fascinated by design, so now I..."
"I've realised that I love helping people work together..."
Try it and wait to see their response.
Polishing your elevator pitch
Having got your "why" established - what are the other considerations for that chance encounter?
Whether it's just you or a large number of employees - it's essential that you all have a well practiced and polished elevator pitch.
The 5 key elements:
1. Start with the why. We've covered that - make it compelling and don't be scared to show some passion.
2. Succint. Unless its the tallest lift in the world, you only have 30 seconds at the most to say your piece. Don't risk losing their interest. Leave them wanting to ask more.
3. Provable. Don't lie or risk hyperbole. It will undermine their confidence and belief in you.
4. Relevant. There is no point extolling irrelevant features - customise the pitch to them.
5. Valued. Target the things that they value themselves - make it personal.
For more information on creating your own elevator pitch, contact email@example.com
Chris Lorimer is an
experienced consultant who has helped many organisations to grow through his unique 4 Ps approach.