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  • Writer's pictureYochi Eisner, Owner


Updated: Sep 30, 2020

YEA! Marketing The Elevator Speech blog

Like so much else ‘out there’, even the proud elevator speech has been reduced to an over-used, misused and misunderstood term.

The premise behind the elevator speech is simple: the ‘guru’ of your industry and you enter an elevator together at the ground floor of an office building. Your guru presses her/his desired floor and you press a floor higher up. In our dream you are all alone with your guru, who is now your captive audience. Now you have some 40 to 50 seconds to impress your guru with your wonderfulness before your guru arrives at her/his floor and is never seen again.

The guidelines to the elevator speech are simple:

  1. You must be able to explain what you do in the allotted 40-50-60 seconds.

  2. Your story must be compelling, this means your story must be convincing, captivating and fascinating and NOT boring.

  3. Your story must be understood by a high school student of average intelligence.

The implication is simple – if you cannot fulfill these three guideline points, you don’t know what the heck you are doing and should not be doing it. Which in turn means you need to take the time and effort to invest in developing your business story, just as you took the time to develop your business.

What IS and ISN'T an elevator speech:

Elevator speech

1) An elevator speech is not the place for an alphabet soup discussion you have with a colleague/co-worker. {Scary example: "Just FYI, I have a killer USP for our SP1's B2B app if we can get it through the GNG with the CTO and leave the B2C for Q2."} Your guru knows the lingo, knows the issues and knows the players in your industry. Get to the point - simply!

2) An elevator speech is the place to tell your guru about your new OR improved (not both!), fascinating ‘what’sit’ that you offer and how will it make your mutual world better.

3) An elevator speech is not the place to regurgitate your resume, it’s not the place to talk about the thousands of man hours spent developing your ‘what’sit’, or how "unique"' or ''cutting edge" it is. (Think of "unique" and "cutting edge" as four-letter cuss words you should never use in polite company!)

4) An elevator speech is the place to tell your guru your great short business story.

  • Start by introducing yourself, plain and simple. (Business card at the ready!)

  • Then acknowledging your guru.

  • Smile. Keep good eye contact, but don’t send your guru into a corner ready to reach for the pepper spray.

  • Then, to paraphrase the great Sargent Joe Friday, from the classic 1950’s show Dragnet, ‘stick to the facts, just the facts’. Use sentences/phrases such as “We do.” “We provide.” We can.”

  • But, ah there is always a “but’, your elevator speech must show passion and depth. If you do not put heart into your words and show your passion, then you will never get through to your guru or anyone else.

  • Now tell your guru what you want; telling your story is not enough. This is an opportunity, not only to tell your story, but to create a dialog and a connection with your guru and others. State what you want: “I would love the opportunity to meet and discuss…” You need to end your speech with a modified ‘call to action’, otherwise your elevator speech just stalled!

Now you can ask: I have no guru, only a small business, do I really need to invest the time in creating an “elevator speech”?

The answer is a simple: Absolutely! An elevator speech is the story you tell someone standing next to you while waiting in line in Kupat Holim; when you first meet someone at a simcha; when you announce to folks - whom you have known your whole life - that you now do whatever. People need to know what you do so they can share the information with their friends. People love to show how much they know and how well connected they are! Become their resource in your field!

If you just say “… I do A, B and C” without heart, they may not remember, but if you tell them a story, they can, in turn, tell the same story to others.

This elevator speech is also a great opening line or lines for a cold call script (a phone call you make to someone who is not expecting your call) or cold email (an email introduction you send to someone, who is not expecting your email). The elevator speech can be the opening lines you need to start a conversation with anyone!

Want to develop a convincing and compelling elevator speech for your small business? Want your networking group to learn how to develop and improve their 60-second introductions? Contact me today for full details about my elevator speech services.

Want to know more about building and branding your small business?

Contact ​me today. Make today the day you and your business work together.

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