Sell Yourself with a Winning Elevator Pitch

Can you introduce yourself or your business in a brief, compelling way?

An elevator pitch does precisely that. While the origins of this term are debated, the name reflects the idea of a quick speech that could be given in the span of an elevator ride (thirty seconds to two minutes).

An elevator pitch is a short description of an idea, product, or company that explains the concept in a way that any listener could understand. This engaging summary could be used to entice an investor, to explain an idea, or to sell your services. Done right, your pitch can help you land a job or connect with prospective customers.

It can take time to solidify your pitch, but here are four tips that can help:

1. Build a Connection

The start of a conversation is a perfect time to establish a relationship.

Begin by introducing yourself and, if possible, build off a previous connection or shared experience. As you share, try to reference your credentials, training, or something that differentiates you from competitors.

Here are a few engaging openers:

–How does your organization recruit new employees?

–Can I tell you about the best mobile tools for training your staff remotely?

–Let me tell you about the time I took our products all the way to South America for ___.

2. Introduce Your Company or Career Goals

To move the conversation forward, draft a one-sentence story that answers the question, “what do you/your business do?”

Since listeners are inherently self-focused, make sure your account highlights what you can do for your prospect, including the value you can deliver or the problems your business can solve.

If you’re selling yourself, remember to outline your big picture vision. Say something like, “I’m looking to land a role in marketing,” or “I’m hoping to relocate to ___ for _____.” When a person understands your role or goals, they are in a better position to help to connect you to someone who can.

3. Highlight Your Unique Value or Achievements

After establishing who you are, now it’s time to shine.

Point to any unique selling points or personal achievements that make you (or your business) stand out. Back this up with evidence or testimonials from satisfied customers. Anticipate potential skepticism ad head this off with facts, examples, or trustworthy referrals.

4. Ask a Question

As you close your introduction, be sure to ask an open-ended question.

This can help engage the person in a longer conversation or open the door for you to trade business cards or follow up with a company brochure or a personal resume. 

Here are a few compelling closers:

“Here is my contact information, can I get your email and follow up with you later?”

“Could you connect me with your business manager so I can share more about what I could offer your team?”

“If you have time, I would love to meet again to chat more.”

Practice Makes Perfect

It takes time to grow confidence, so hone and refine your speech over time.

Most people will go through multiple drafts before settling on the words that are just right. And depending on your audience, your pitch may be slightly different each time. Remember, the most potent conversations are those whose subject matter is highly relevant to the listener.

­­Be upbeat and flexible and you’ll make connections like a pro!

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