By Emma Richter
You press the button, either up or down and two doors open.
Anybody can be in the elevator when the “ding” chimes: a potential customer, employer, celebrity, co-worker–anyone.
When you are put on the spot and have to answer the question, “So, what do you do” or “what do you sell?” you want to be ready with an answer that will wow!
Many people get “stage fright” when asked about themselves and their companies. They hem and haw. That’s not a sign of confidence.
That’s why having a corporate elevator pitch ready–yes, it’s called that for a reason!–is the epitome of prior proper planning. It’s called an elevator pitch because, ideally, it’s an introduction of yourself and your company that you can do during one short elevator ride. Quick. To the point.
Online, your website becomes your elevator pitch.
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In addition to digital marketing, there are many opportunities for networking–offline and outside an elevator. Regardless, making a great first impression means having an elevator pitch ready. It’s important to start perfecting the art of an elevator pitch now. Learn how you’re going to market yourself and your company in 60 seconds or less.
According to Forbes, “recent trends suggest that people, especially millennials, are becoming increasingly invested in the why behind a business–the greatest purpose your company exists to serve…”
That being said, make sure your verbal pitch (and website) tell the “why” behind your story! Just as you don’t waste your site’s “About Page” with history no one cares about, make sure your verbal pitch makes a lasting impression and will compel people to want to know more.
Tell prospective customers WHY they should buy from you.
In person, the first step to making connections is to create a bond or connection with your audience. Introduce yourself in the most polite and professional way. But, it is also important to stay genuine to who you are and what your company is about, while avoiding the feeling or need to act “robotic” or stiff.
Many people hate traditional face to face networking because they feel awkward trying to just jump into a conversation–much less start one. In these cases, body language speaks volumes. People can pick up on awkwardness and forced connection, and it could be detrimental to how you come across.
The next step is having what you want to say prepared beforehand. It doesn’t have to be a script, in fact, it shouldn’t be memorized. That’s why you need to practice your personal and business pitches in advance.
Who Is Your Audience?
Truthfully, you will need a couple of pitches, because you wouldn’t be introducing yourself to a potential mate the same way you would a potential client or boss, right?
Once you know your audience, you need to put together a short introduction that offers the receiver the “essence” of who you are. And, really, who knows you better than you? When it comes to a personal intro, just sit with yourself and think about who you are and how you want people to view you.
Professionally speaking, if you think there is someone who may know you as well as you know yourself, consider asking them how they would describe you. You can use their words to craft your own professional introduction.
People want to do business with people, not random companies. Google drives traffic to websites (when your site is properly optimized) but when someone gets to your site, your content messaging needs to be informative and helpful to the person to get them to contact you and/or “buy now.”
But in person, it’s a whole different story. You’re on! So, you need to be ready. As a starting point, you can start by writing down a couple of adjectives that describe you, as well as skills that you have obtained that reveal your expertise in your particular area and some personal characteristics. For example, honesty, loyalty, a sense of creativity and passion are necessary for both pitches.
Let’s face it, a CEO of a company won’t want to hear about your hobbies first, they’re going to want to hear about what you can bring to the position that nobody else can bring. But that CEO is a person too. If you see their office filled with photos of dogs and you love animals, it wouldn’t hurt to drop the fact that you like to volunteer at the local shelter or even that you have a dog at home.
It is also a good idea to bring up a story that has impacted you or shaped who you are. In that story, it can tell your audience who you are and all about your company’s raison d’etre.
In an elevator or not, the art of an elevator pitch is key to sharing yourself with others for a variety of reasons from winning a new client to getting a new job to meeting a new friend. Your pitch is the essence of your brand, Yes, YOUR brand. You have one. Don’t be afraid to talk about it with everyone you meet.
So, practice your talking points. Take a deep breath. Your star is on the rise so press the “up” button and start selling who you are to the world. First impressions do matter.