Come on, admit it. You’ve heard it or done it. I know I have…The verbal diarrhea that happens when someone has to introduce themselves to a group of peers or prospects. The explanation that drones on and on about what someone does for a living, leaving the listeners perplexed and exhausted. And those are the people who are actually listening to the intro. Most actually have checked out after 5 seconds and are dreaming of their upcoming beach vacation or the hot checkout clerk who helped them at Wal-Mart.
Let’s examine this strange phenomenon more closely and talk about why this odd circumstance happens with a lot of small business owners:
Ok, it’s nerve-wracking to have a whole lot of eyeballs on you, listening and judging you. I get that. However, if you’re in business for yourself, you’re pretty much going to have to get over it and do your thing. At least you can spend the time and effort to do it well so that even if you are wetting yourself in fear, you end up getting clients out of the ordeal.
You Don’t Really Know
If I had a dollar for every time I think this happens…. When a business owner has a verbal-diarrhea-elevator-pitch-moment, it’s usually because they either don’t have a niche (a focused target and specialty) or they have multiple ones that they can’t decide between. Do the strategic research and find out where your business needs to focus on before you try to introduce what it is that you do. Clarity gets remembered. Confused minds don’t buy or refer.
You Get Into The ‘How’
Most people are simple and linear creatures. When they ask you what you do for a living, they’d like to hear something that they already have a category in their head for, like a dentist or a therapist or a consultant etc. When business owners are unclear about how their ideal clients categorize what they do, they try to compensate by getting into the HOW of what they do. They think that by adding more information, that people will better understand what they do.
For example, is it better for an elevator pitch to say ‘I’m a financial advisor and I help divorcing women to navigate the settlement negotiation’ or ‘I’m a resilience activator who helps divorcing women through the settlement negotiation by setting goals, managing relationships and providing financial planning while supporting them through their journey of divorce.’ In my opinion, the ‘how’ version is too long. The elevator pitch is just the teaser to let your audience know if they’re your ideal client. If they are, don’t worry, they’ll ask you to go into more details about how you help.
You Throw in Your ‘Why’
I badly teed off a seminar leader who was making the room full of business women stand up and tell their ‘why they do what they do’ as part of their elevator pitch. I simply stated that in my experience, and in my experience through my clients, that getting into ‘I am a leadership coach who helps IT companies because when I was at ABC Inc, I got unfairly fired etc.’ would actually be an ineffective way to do that initial intro because it was too long and would lose the audience engagement. The seminar leader staunchly stated that she didn’t agree but you should’ve heard how long some of those ‘why’ stories were. I simply couldn’t see how any audience would stay engaged in this particular sort of verbal diarrhea. An Elevator Pitch in my mind is simply to establish 2 things: what business is this person in and can he/she help me or someone I know. Anything over and above that belongs in a deeper conversation.
So don’t be an elevator pitch chump and capture way more interest and dazzle with your concise and distinct self-intro. Believe me, you’ll feel the results almost immediately when people approach you after your intro to ask more about what you do.