There are many reasons why every business owner needs to know how to write an elevator speech.
The primary one is a result of the fact that people are busy. They can be just as busy or even busier than you. People have a billion other things on their mind as they go about their daily affairs or business. If you want to communicate to anybody about your business, you’ve got a hurdle to overcome. It’s getting your point across in a short period of time. For this you need an elevator speech.
An elevator speech (some refer to it as an elevator pitch) is designed to be delivered rapidly. It’s for those moments when you meet somebody in the elevator, you have 12 seconds and you need to explain succintly what you’re doing now and what the benefits are of that.
As a business you need to be seen and heard otherwise how will anybody know that you exist? Without knowing that you exist, people cannot buy from you. The Elevator speech is a clear and concise overview of your product, service or business that is compelling and can be delivered within 1 minute. It should leave the listener feeling that they want to know more.
Let’s look at the benefits of creating this speech and memorising it.
What should you know about your elevator speech
Your USP and elevator speech will change and improve overtime as you gain more experience and different insights into your business. Both of them are the absolute foundation of all of your marketing efforts. If you are not clear on your USP and your elevator speech, you are not clear on what you offer. If you aren’t clear than other people won’t be either. The elevator speech is the basis for your ads, website content, finding your customers, your search engine optimisation and branding – and that’s just for starters.
If you have already spent time developing your elevator speech, meeting an unexpected potential business partner or even wholesale purchaser of your goods will not be a problem for you. You will be so prepared already that you will be able to tell them exactly what your product or service is and be on your way to clinching the deal. There will not be any fluffing of lines or conveyance of confusion or even ineffectiveness. Nobody wants their customers to think that they are not capable of performing and that is likely to be the result, unless you’re crystal clear in your delivery of your prepared elevator speech.
Even if you feel that you have already undertaken the exercise of defining your elevator speech, then go through this exercise again as this is a regular task to perform as your business grows, changes shape and develops.
How to write an elevator speech
Before we go further, let me tell you a little story.
One time, a friend of mine was walking his dog through the local park, when along came another man with the same type of dog. After some small talk Steve and his acquaintance moved onto talking about what they did for a living. It turned out that the dog walker was investing other people’s money into new ventures. It also turned out that they were both in exactly the right place at the right time.
The moral of the story is that you cannot predict who or when you might come across. You need to be prepared at all times so that you don’t miss out on opportunities.
Essential ingredients for your elevator speech
- Keep everything simple and very clear. Use words that your own children (aged 10 or so) would understand to be certain that there cannot be any misunderstanding or confusion about what you offer.
- Know who you are delivering the elevator speech to. You don’t want to spout information that will mean nothing to your audience
- Know who your product or service is for and why it would matter to them
- Stick to the WHAT and not so much the HOW of your service or product
- Share you enthusiasm, energy and passion about your company. You’ll make more of an impact.
- Use powerful imagery if possible, and a touch of humour to make the speech memorable
- Do not use fantastical claims such as ‘state of the art’ or other hyped up descriptions of what your product or service is. Keep the contents with feet on the ground. Your product or service needs to sound credible and authentic otherwise you will lose the trust of the listener
- keep to less than 250 words
- use a summary sentence to begin your pitch, then explain more about what problem your solution solves
- do not waffle with unnecessary information and detail
- start the summary sentence with words along the lines of:
- Once you’ve got your elevator speech written up, you need to memorise it. You need to rehearse it in front of the mirror so that you really have got it down to a T.
- Keep a copy of it next to your computer. Then when you are responding to customers or writing up marketing copy you will be keeping to the same message about your company consistently. Consistency is key as you may know what your company is all about but you need to teach and prove that to your prospects. You also need to be consistent with the message that you give to your employees too.
- When you deliver your elevator soeech, listen to what the first question is from the audience. Paying attention to this will teach you about the content of your elevator speech, whether something is missing, whether it is engaging and compelling for the audience.
- Be ready to expand on your speech. Be prepared for whatever questions may come about as natural follow on from your audience. Your elevator speech will be a conversation opener.
- Be prepared to revisit your speech regularly. With new products emerging and changing markets, you need to stay abreast of what is current.
Example of an elevator speech
A short opening sentence for the power tools company could be something along the lines of:
Potter Power Tools save tradesmen time and trouble with a mobile repair workshop that guarantees to repair or replace. More time to complete your projects.
Then the elevator speech would go onto explain
If there is an issue with one of our products within the first year, we offer a guaranteed repair or replacement service. The tradesman will not have to visit our workshop, we will come out to the customer. This provides more time and less trouble for the power tool user.
In summary, it’s crucial that your business has an elevator speech. Many opportunities will arise and you need to be prepared and ready to make the best of them.