Step One: Appreciate the importance of a good elevator pitch.
Big doors swing on small hinges. The one minute or less you are given to speak to dozens of people in a room is the most important one minute of your day, or maybe your week. Be calm, cool and collected. Projecting a lack of confidence shuts down interest in you and your services. If you look rushed or nervous getting your message across—you are dead on arrival. Be prepared. Be relaxed. Be confident.
Step Two: Make it interesting.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that a memorized set of sentences that just talk about you and the features of your services is a great presentation. You need to do more than inform people of what’s on your business card. You want to gain their interest. If you bore people the first minute they meet you, why would they want to spend their valuable time hearing you drone on in a sales presentation? So step two is have a reality check that if you only talk about yourself or your services in an elevator speech, you will be taking the elevator by yourself when you leave the networking event. If you want to get people’s attention, realize it’s not about you, it’s about them!
Step Three: Understand that in order to open doors, we need to first open minds.
To open minds, you need to create curiosity about how you can help the listener. Talk about how you help your clients. Brag about the benefits they experience. Others relating to a benefit they personally would like to experience will create curiosity and interest in what you do. Interest seeks information. If people have questions or want to speak to you afterward concerning your services, you have successfully stood and delivered the million-dollar elevator speech.
Step Four: Stay in the allotted time given for each person in the room to give their presentation.
Your first sentence should introduce you, your company and what your services are. The next two sentences should be enough to share some exciting things that can happen when people trust you with their business. Don’t forget to smile and don’t forget to stop talking and sit down. Leave your audience wanting to hear more.
Step Five: You are not done yet.
You still have work to do. Because you were so well prepared with your speech, you can concentrate on what others are saying, not just what you want to say. Actively listen as others introduce themselves with a pen and paper in your hand, noting each person’s name and what they do. Listen for opportunities. Who is a good candidate for your service? Who has a similar client base that may be able to cross pollinate referrals? Put a star next to their name and go over and introduce yourself when it’s appropriate.
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Biz, Volume 1, Issue 10 (October, 2011).
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