Have You Memorized An Elevator Speech?
Or have you ever even heard of an elevator speech?
It’s the short and sweet explanation of what you do for a living that you give when someone asks. And… it is your carefully thought out self-promotion. It’s called an elevator speech because it should be short enough to say between floors if you’re talking with someone on an elevator.
I’d heard of an elevator speech, but hadn’t thought much about it until I started trying to give sensible answers to people about “what I was doing these days.” Everyone in town knew me as a real estate broker, and even after several years, some people don’t know that I don’t do that any more.
If they have no need to buy and sell real estate, why would they know that I’m not there?
I’m not expecting to get copywriting business from the people I meet in the grocery store, but you never know. So it’s a good idea if I can convey what I do without causing any confusion. When you say copywriter, most people think of copy rights, not of writing.
You probably have a less confusing career description. For instance, you may be a real estate sales person. Even so, when someone asks what you do, it’s not enough to just say “I sell real estate.” Instead, you need to convey the benefit of doing business with you.
For instance, you could say “I help first time buyers find homes they can afford and be comfortable in.” Or, in today’s real estate market, you could say “I’m a real estate agent, specializing in getting short sales closed.”
In other words, leave the other person with the knowledge that you help someone achieve their goals – not just that you make a living selling something.
What if you have some other career? You might be a hairdresser, or a mechanic, or the owner of a small business that sells local handicrafts.
Whatever you do, it benefits someone. A hairdresser could say “I make people more beautiful by giving them perfect haircuts.” A mechanic could say “I keep people’s cars running in tip-top shape and save them from expensive break-downs.” The owner of that store could say “I help local crafters present their wares to the buying public at my shop on Main Street.”
So stop and think about what you do, and who benefits because you do it. Then work on putting that into no more than 3 sentences. Once you know what you should say the next time you’re asked, write it down and look at it every day. Memorize it. Say it out loud until it comes naturally.
Oh, and be sure to keep a few business cards in your pocket. That person who asked just might be interested in doing business with you, and you don’t want to scramble around looking for a paper and pen. There isn’t time for that between floors on the elevator.