Have you ever been asked what you do for work only to stumble through some awkward answer?
This has definitely happened to me! And when it does, one of two things will happen:
- Either the person will “get” what I do because they have some familiarity with my industry or related profession, or,
- They have no clue. They have heard of “marketing” before but they don’t know enough about it to keep the conversation going. They give me a flat, polite smile… You know, the one that says, “I’ve seen Mad Men so I think that’s what you do, but I’m going to pretend like I know what you are talking about so I don’t look clueless?”
The conversation comes to a screeching halt!
But what if you could turn it into an opportunity to effortlessly network? Maybe the barista at Starbucks doesn’t need your services, but if you play your cards right, they could know someone who DOES!
Importance for Service Professionals
For those of us that sell services, especially if we are self employed, business from word of mouth is crucial! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a lead from somewhere I didn’t expect.
Referrals don’t always come from current clients. Many times I have gotten leads from old high school or college friends, or from random acquaintances because they understood what I did for a living, and thought of me when the opportunity came up.
So how can we make sure that everyone we know, and everyone we meet, understands exactly WHAT WE DO and WHO WE HELP?
Tip 1: Don’t give teenager answers
As a parent, I know that asking my kids, “how was your day?” or “what did you learn today?” is going to get me answers like, “fine” and “nothing.” I know to ask open-ended questions to get more information and keep the conversation flowing.
This is like the opposite, but often when we are asked what we do for a living we give one or two-word answers that cut off the conversation.
“I’m a marketing consultant” or “I’m a lawyer” or “I build websites.”
The first tip is… give MORE than just your title. However, on the flipside, we don’t want to sound like walking infomercials.
“For only 5 easy payments of $19.99 I can change your life!” Which brings me to my second tip.
Tip 2: Two-ish sentences is a great balance
Generally, two sentences will strike the right balance of offering enough context to help someone understand what you do, without going overboard.
It’s enough information for people to follow up on if they want to ask more questions or talk more about it, but it doesn’t make them feel like they are trapped in a time-share sales pitch.
Tip 3: Practice your elevator pitch
My third tip is to practice, practice, practice until your answer rolls off your tongue and sounds (and feels) completely natural.
Back in the day I did some work in direct sales, and we were provided sale scripts we were supposed to use. I remember they felt awkward and clunky because they didn’t sound like me, at all! I was assured that if I would practice them until they felt natural, it would sound natural. This was true!
The benefit you have here is that you get to choose your own words, so it should already sound like you.
It still might not roll off your tongue the way, “I’m a consultant” does, but with practice you can make it second nature!
Elevator Pitch Script Ideas
Here are three “elevator pitch” script ideas that you can use as inspiration for creating your own unique way of introducing your business!
The first way is to paint a simple picture by describing the common problem you help solve:
“You know how (INSERT COMMON PROBLEM)? Well, I help (WHO) to (INSERT SOLUTION).”
An example from my business: “You know how sometimes new businesses struggle to find customers? Well, I help business owners learn how to use social media to find a steady stream of income.”
The second way is to shorten this up a bit and basically drop the first sentence.
“I help (WHO) to (INSERT SOLUTION).”
An example: “I help new moms transition to their new “normal” by providing streamlined meal preparation ideas.”
The third way is to give your job title or profession and add more context.
“I am a (TITLE) and I typically help (WHO) that are trying to (PROBLEM THEY NEED TO SOLVE.”
An example: “I am a marketing consultant and I typically help business owners that are overwhelmed by marketing to create some doable systems to bring in new customers.”
What is your new elevator pitch? Please inspire us by sharing below!
Molly Marshall teaches small business owners and online entrepreneurs how to systematically and simply grow a profitable online presence through social media. Get your FREE Instagram Strategy Guide now!