Crafting Your 30-Second Pitch

As a parent-entrepreneur, I have many different roles: wife, mom, coach, boss, speaker, author, writer, coach, volunteer, mentor, homework checker, chauffeur, cheerleader, short-order cook … the list goes on . As a parent-entrepreneur, you understand. Really, what do not you do, right?

However, a month or so ago, and someone asked me, "What do you do?" And, usually I can roll a short, sweet pitch, but, oh-no, I bumbled and rambled until this person's eyes glazed over. It was awful. It really made me realize the power of the 30-second pitch.

Really, what would you do if you were riding on an elevator and Oprah walked in? You have her undivided attention for 30-seconds or less. What would you say? Now, hold that thought for a few minutes before answering.

Let's take a step back … What do you say When anyone asks you, "What do you do?" Are you completely tongue tied and stumped? Or worse, you rattle off a five-minute explanation including your services or products from AZ, your credentials, your education, your clients, etc? By the time you've finished, that other person's eyes are glassy and they are mentally writing their grocery list in their head. Why? Because, they do not understand what you have said, do not need what you have, or are just not interested. So, what do you do? You need an effective 30-second pitch that it distinguishes you in a busy, overcrowded, and at times, indistinguishable marketplace. It must set you apart!

Following are seven tips to crafting your 30-second pitch:

1. Make it about them: I think it was Stephen Covey who said, "Be interested to be interesting." Apply this philosophy be making your pitch about them – it focus on what you can do for them not just what you can do.

2. Be clear on your niche and specialty. Niche is the who and specialty is the what. Often entrepreneurs think, well, everyone is my customer. Yes and no. Yes, because, technically, you can sell to anyone. But, no because, you will not effectively reach your ideal clients if you are trying to market to everyone.

3. Focus on purpose rather than skills – what will the person gain (or in some cases, lose). Too often, an elevator pitch definitely describes your skills, as in "Hi, I'm Julie, a coach, speaker and author." Yes, this is all true info, but, well, ick. It does not set me apart from the thousands of other coaches, speakers and columnists. It is useless info. What's your purpose for what you do and who you serve – basically, how do you add value. For example, I could say, "Hi, I'm Julie Smith. I inspire solopreneur-parents to align family and business while also designing their million-dollar lifestyle through inspired success .: Better, right

4. Start with a hook-an intriguing story or question to capture their interest. My good friend and colleague, Kelly Paull, owner of Slumber Parties by Kelly, has a great hook. Here it is: "Picture your husband eagerly taking your children out of the house for the evening, your girlfriends arriving giddy with excitation for ninety minutes of side-splitting laughter and adult entertainment with a lady-like twist." At this point, the listener is intrigued and wants to know more. She's hooked 'em. This listener is either her ideal customer or knows her ideal customer (think referrals!) You can also use a question that addresses your target markets challenge and the outcome of that challenge as your hook. "Have you ever noticed the amount of frustration and guilt is placed on juggling the needs of both a family and home-based business?" (This is where you want heads nodding in agreement, maybe someone says, "Oh yeah that's me or my sister, or my friend" … you get the picture). "I support these parent-entrepreneurs by providing them with 7 fundamental tools to give guilt the boot by aligning family and business."

5. Share a resource. I love sharing resources. I have so many fabulous resources that I share in my Million Dollar Connections and Contacts. Individually or in a group, share a favorite resource and how it helped you. One of my favorite is Vista Print. I think they have impeccable service, quality and pricing. So, I often share this resource with the added reinforcement of a business card or flyer. It shows the quality of the work from the resource and provides a visual pitch.

6. Prepare and practice. The big secret to your pitch here is persistent preparation and practice. Consider your audience and how you can help them (remember, it's all about them), and what they can gain. Next, write it down, practice it out loud in front of the mirror and with others.

7. Practice more! Nothing sounds worse than a poorly prepared or canned pitch that sounds like you do not know what you do or are not confident in what you do. Keep practicing it!

Your 30-second pitch is your one of your most valuable marketing tools for distinguishing and branding yourself and your business. So, keep practicing and perfecting it so the next time, you are on an elevator and Oprah walks on, you'll know exactly what to say!