Write Your Elevator Speech

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Write Your Elevator Speech
know Your Audience ...........................................................................................................29
    who Are Your Customers? .........................................................................................29
            Your Customers’ Attributes .............................................................................30
    what do Your Customers want and need? .....................................................31
            Your Customers’ wants and needs ............................................................31

deliver a Compelling Message........................................................................................32
    Craft a Great Beginning ................................................................................................33
    keep Them listening......................................................................................................33
    hook Them at the end .................................................................................................33
            Your elevator Speech ..........................................................................................35
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           It usually takes me more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech.
           —MarK TWaiN




           O
                        nce you’ve settled on a business idea, you’ll want to tell people
                        about it. What will you say? Depending on the circumstances,
                        you might not have time to say much, so you’ll want to capture
           their attention right away and hold on to it. For that, you need an
           “elevator speech.”
              it’s called an elevator speech
           because it’s supposed to take no            Glenna retired from a long career
           more time than you’d have to                as a county clerk and became a real
                                                       estate broker. her first reaction to the
           ride an elevator from the bottom
                                                       question, “what do you do?” was to
           floor to the top. Of course, the
                                                       respond “I’m a real estate broker.”
           actual amount of time would
                                                         That’s certainly succinct and sure
           depend on how tall the building
                                                       to	take	less	than	30	seconds.	But	it	
           is, how fast the elevator goes, and
                                                       doesn’t say what her business can do
           whether you have to stop at every
                                                       for customers—and it doesn’t draw in
           floor. But you get the idea. Many           the listener.
           people start with a 30-second
                                                         Glenna revised her opening line.
           elevator speech (about 80 to 120            now she says, “I help people find their
           words), but it’s a good idea to have        dream home.”
           speeches of different lengths that
           you can use in various situations.
              When we ask people to tell us about their business, they almost always
           talk about their main product or service. i sell flowers. i design websites.
           you may be inclined to do this, too, but remember that people don’t
           really care about your business; they care about their own wants and
           needs: What’s in it for me? you’re more likely to capture their attention if
           you focus on them rather than on you or your business.
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Know Your Audience
      What you’ll want to say to a
      potential customer could be              Glenna focused on the desires of her
      different than your speech to            customers, most of whom were young
      lenders or to family members.            couples with children. Their biggest con-
      So you’ll need to tailor your            cerns were the complicated process of
                                               buying a home and getting a mortgage,
      speech for different audiences.
                                               neighborhood safety, and the quality of
      The attributes of a good elevator
                                               schools. So, Glenna wrote the middle
      speech will always apply, but your
                                               of her elevator speech to address their
      message may change from person
                                               concerns:
      to person.
                                                 “I help people find their dream home.
        Because the most likely audience       Then, I handle all the details to make
      for your elevator speech will be         their home-buying experience smooth
      potential customers, we’ll focus         and easy. I help take the worry out of
      our discussion on them. you can          getting a mortgage, too. Most of my
      use these same techniques to             clients are young families, like yours, so
      write an elevator speech for other       I make sure they’re getting into a safe
      audiences, too.                          neighborhood and introduce them to
                                               local teachers and principals.”
        The first step is to know who
      your potential customers are. you
      can describe them in two ways: by
      their attributes and by their wants and needs.

      Who Are Your Customers?
      Use the Tool below to describe the attributes of your customers. How
      old are they? Do they live in cities, in suburbs, or in the country? are
      they typically male, female, or both? if you’ll be selling products or
      providing services to organizations, think about how many employees
      your customers have, whether they’re geographically dispersed or operate
      right there in your home town. We’ve included several attributes in the
      Tool—feel free to add others.
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                           YoUR CUSToMERS’ ATTRIbUTES

             Selling products and/or providing services to individuals:
             what is their age?
             Are they male or female?
             what is their marital status?
             where do they live?
             do they have children? do the children still live at home?

             do they own a home?
             what is their education level?
             what is their income level?
             what are their interests?
             what work do they do?

             Selling products and/or providing services to organizations:
             what industry is the organization in? what does it sell?


             what’s the job title of the person you’ll deal with most? And what’s the
             job title of the person who’ll make the decisions about buying your
             product/service?


             how many people does the organization employ?
             what is the organization’s average annual sales volume
             (in volume or dollars)?
             where is the organization located? where are its customers?
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What Do Your Customers Want and Need?
You can see a lot just by listening.
—yOGi Berra


Now, focus on what your customers want and need. if you do, you’ll be
able to craft a good answer when they ask, “What’s in it for me?”




                 YoUR CUSToMERS’ WANTS AND NEEDS


  Complete the following statements about your future customers:
  why will your customers want or need your product or service?
  what problems are they trying to solve? what desires will they fulfill?




  what else could your target customer buy to satisfy their needs?




  how much is your target customer willing to pay?




  why will your target customer purchase from your business instead of
  another?
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Deliver a Compelling Message
           Emphasize everything and you emphasize nothing.
           —HerSCHell GOrDON leWiS


           your elevator speech must deliver a compelling message about what you
           and your business can do for your listeners. Maybe yours is a plumbing
           business and you know customers want reliable service from a licensed,
           experienced plumber. Maybe what’s most important to your project
           management clients is that you complete projects on time and are great
           at tying together loose ends.


                                       Creating Your brand

               In marketing terms, creating a clear customer-focused message is often
               called “branding.” no, it’s not about hot metal applied to an animal’s
               rump, although there are similarities. Ranchers brand cattle so they are
               clearly distinguishable from other cattle. That’s exactly what branding
               can do for your business.
                People often think of a brand as a name or symbol, like the nike
               “swoosh.” But that is just a physical representation of the intangibles
               behind the brand, such as quality, safety, innovation, style, or value.
                what will your business be known for? Technical expertise?
               Imagination? Reliability? Focus on what your customers want and
               how you can help them. Think about what sets you apart from your
               competition. Consider not only what you do but also how you do it.


             you’ll get your message across if you write a great beginning, middle,
           and end to your elevator speech.
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Craft a Great beginning
if you don’t capture your listener’s
attention right away, it’ll be tough     Glenna’s elevator speech was almost
going. Their eyes will glaze over        done—she just needed a hook at the
and they might not hear a single         end. here’s what she wrote:
word you say. So get straight to           “I help people find their dream home.
the point.                               Then, I handle all the details to make
                                         their home-buying experience smooth
                                         and easy. I help take the worry out of
Keep Them Listening                      getting a mortgage, too. Most of my
you may have two or three points         clients are young families, like yours, so
you want to make, based on               I make sure they’re getting into a safe
your evaluation of what your             neighborhood and introduce them to
target customers want and need.          local teachers and principals. In fact,
Organize your points, perhaps            just last month I helped a very nice
from most to least important,            couple buy their first home—for them
rather than rattling off a jumbled       and their six adopted children!”
list. Tie them together to reinforce
your message.

Hook Them at the End
you’ve done a good job if your listener is intrigued during your elevator
speech. if you want to keep their attention a bit longer, end your speech
with a hook—something that makes them want more. This might be a
question for them to answer or an interesting anecdote.
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                        Some Dos and Don’ts for Your Elevator Speech

               Saying everything you want to say about your business in a compact,
               engaging elevator speech can be a challenge. But you’ll do it well if you
               keep these tips in mind:
                Do focus on your listener. Be sure you answer the question, “what’s in
               it for me?”
                Do	include	stories	or	examples. Stories are often more memorable and
               engaging than facts. Stories and examples are a great way to tell what
               your business can do for your customers.
                Do believe in what you’re saying. You’ll sound sincere, relaxed, natural,
               and passionate about your business.
                Don’t rush. You’ll be surprised how much you can say in just a few
               moments, so be efficient rather than fast.
                Don’t use jargon. You aren’t trying to impress your listener with
               your vast knowledge or vocabulary. keep your language simple and
               understandable.
                Don’t be too cute. Yes, you want a good opening line and a good hook
               at the end. But if you go overboard, your listener might think you’re all
               show and no substance.
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              YoUR ELEVAToR SPEECH


Use the following steps to develop your elevator speech:
Determine your message. Review your customer descriptions in the Tools
above. write down two or three key words or phrases that describe their
wants and needs and how your business will help them.




Craft a great beginning. Capture your listener’s attention without going
overboard. Focus on your customer and “what’s in it for me?” Try to ad-
dress at least one of the key words or phrases you listed above.




Keep them listening in the middle. Include any key words or phrases you
didn’t fit into your opening line.




Hook them at the end. Include a final story, statement, or question to
make your listener want more.




Practice. Try your speech in front of the mirror. Get feedback from
friends. Record it and listen to the playback. do you sound interesting?
Sincere? Intriguing? Trustworthy? energetic? enthusiastic?
Try various lengths. You never know just how long you’ll have for your
elevator speech. expand and contract your speech until you are comfort-
able with various lengths.

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