Elevator speeches and 30 second introductions come in for some bad press – let’s face it, in theory it’s straightforward but in practice it isn’t that easy to summarize what you do in 30 seconds, especially when you want to grab attention.
Here are some examples and the reasons why some are better than others:
For example: “I am a Life Coach” or “I work for Acme Financial Planners”
This is particularly common when your business is well known. However it isn’t very attention grabbing for a couple of reasons:
Firstly you assume that everyone has the same understanding of your label as you do. They don’t. They may have a completely different perspective on what a life coach does than you do. This isn’t a disconnect you want.
Secondly you give them an open door to think “Ah, OK – I know what that is and I have that covered.” Now they are not really listening anymore.
“I do small business and personal taxes”
This is a better opening statement but again, it doesn’t speak to the challenges that your audience may be facing. It also invites the response “I have that covered”. If your process description is more complex or unique, you risk the listener not understanding what you do or being confused.
“I save people money on their taxes”
This approach is commonly advised and has some merit. Making it about the benefits you provide gets them thinking and benefits are more attractive than a simple label. However there is a danger of such an approach lacking punch – after all, who doesn’t want to save money? In addition processes can be complex to explain and there is a danger that the explanation becomes complicated and unclear and, even worse, strewn with industry specific jargon. Remember the listener doesn’t care HOW the process works at this stage.
“I work with people frustrated they are paying too much in tax”
This is the strongest example and one we recommend as a means of grabbing attention (the overall goal of an elevator speech after all). Why? It speaks directly to a real pain point that your target market is feeling. Issues and challenges such as these dominate people’s thinking and they are looking for solutions. Notice the use of emotive words in this example (“frustrated”) to drive home this point.
“I work with people frustrated they are paying too much in taxes – I help them save money”
This builds on the problem statement although it is essentially largely unnecessary. When you state that you help with a particular problem your audience is facing, that implies that you have a solution (or else why raise it?) So, you can certainly use this version but may have more immediate impact with a straight problem statement.
There is more to an elevator speech than this of course, but sometimes you only get 10 seconds to get your message over. This is called the 10 second wow! Statement and may well be enough to get the attention you are seeking, from your ideal client prospects!