You’re at a networking event. One by one everyone stands up and gives their elevator pitch. They’re going around the room, table by table. Pretty soon it’s your turn. Your heart starts beating fast. You break out in a sweat. You have one shot to let everyone in the room hear your pitch. What are you going to say? You’ve learned the formula for the elevator pitch and created a message that follows this template, but it’s really awkward to say and it has never attracted clients in the past.

When you go to networking events like this where you are asked to recite your pitch in front of everyone, what is painfully obvious is the majority of the elevator pitches sound the same. After 3-4 people stand up and give their pitch, you can’t remember who does what. If the goal of the elevator pitch is to attract clients, you want a pitch that people will remember. You want a clear and compelling message that resonates with your target audience.

You can have a professional sounding elevator pitch that clearly explains who you are, what you do, the name of your company, and how your product or service benefits your clients. However, very often the pitches that use this template fall flat for several reasons.

  • They’re awkward to say.
  • They sound phony.
  • They use professional jargon, so no one gets what you do.
  • They make no connection to the people they are targeting.
  • The benefits of their product or service are not clear.

The end result is people don’t remember what you do, because they don’t care. The message doesn’t resonate with them, and therefore, they have no reason to remember you.

How do you change your pitch to make a connection with a potential client? Here are some suggestions:

  1. First of all, ditch the pitch formula and create a message that is authentic and, therefore, easy to say. For example, use a personal story of why you started your business or what your connection is to your product or services. People love stories and they remember them. Here’s an example. “For many years I was a human yo-yo. My weight and self-esteem bounced up and down and I struggled to maintain some consistency. I was unhappy and disgusted with my inability to stick to a diet and eat healthy. Can you relate? If you are currently living in this nightmare, I can help you. After years of searching for solutions, I found that the answer was inside me all along and I’m here to help you to stop your yo-yo pattern and be healthy once and for all.”
  2. Ditch the professional jargon and language and keep it simple so people understand what you do. Here’s an example of a pitch that sounds professional, but is so technical and cumbersome, informed investments while avoiding pitfalls. We believe customers should buy solutions not just it misses the mark. ABC Communications is a telecom and IT advisory firm that believes technology is a required investment and our goal is to support our clients’ effort to make technology. Our experts bring together resourceful knowledge in developing long range plans, identifying the short term task and policies that must be in place to have any technology be successful; a virtual IT technical design team.” Do you have any idea what this company does? Do you even care or are you so bored by the end of their pitch that you already put them out of your mind?
  3. Make an emotional connection. People make buying decisions for emotional not logical reasons. Determine the pain or need of your target audience and tailor your message to show that you fulfill the emotional needs of your customers. How will you customers feel and what will they experience after they have experienced your services or used your product?  The key to making an emotional connection is to take your prospects to that emotional place in your pitch. Open your pitch with a question that highlights their pain or need or use a statement that shows you understand their challenges. As an example, “Imagine a day in your life, when you walk into your office and your desk is organized, files are put away, your calendar is up to date and you are calm and focused and ready to start work right away. This is possible if you….” People who can benefit from your product or service will immediately identify with what you are offering. They immediately understand what the emotional payoff is for them. In this case, it’s about feeling calm and focused because the office and business are under control and organized. People who feel their business and life are out of control will gravitate to you. These are the customers you want to attract.
  4. Grab their attention with a song title or lyric, humor, cliché or quote. “Pearl Bailey said what the world needs now is love. Well, I can’t help you out with love, but I can help you get organized. I’m a professional organizer…..” This type of opener sets you apart from the crowd. It’s unexpected and refreshing and people will remember you and what you do as a result.
  5. Stimulate their curiosity. Give them just enough information so they are interested in learning more about you. “I often tell people I became CEO of ABC Company by accident” or “What exactly does a museum consultant do? I am asked this question a lot.”
  6. Explain the benefits. Explain clearly how your product or service benefits your target audience. To do this you must connect the dots between your offering and how they benefit. Most service-based entrepreneurs focus on the process (i.e. I offer financial planning services), and most product-based entrepreneurs tend to describe the features of their product, (i.e. this product consists of a 3 CD program and free ebook). Unless you spell out what the benefits are, people will tune out and move on to the next person. Clearly describe what the big payoff is for the. What’s in it for them? As an example, “How do you respond when someone asks you what you do? Do you have a message that attracts new clients and referrals?  If not, I can change all that and help you to get more clients and referrals now. My name is Bonnie Marcus and I’m a ‘What Do You Do Expert’. I coach women entrepreneurs to create rock star elevator pitches to differentiate themselves, grab people’s attention, and get more business.”
  7. Practice your message so you know what you want to say whenever someone asks you what you do. Leave yourself a voice message. Recite your message in front of a mirror or to your friends and relatives. When you are comfortable saying your message, your confidence increases and people respond favorably. They correlate your confidence to competence and therefore, feel more confident in their buying decision.

In today’s fast paced business environment, people are too busy to seek you out. It’s up to you to differentiate yourself right out of the gate. Keep your pitch simple. Think of unique ways to open your pitch so you don’t sound like everyone else. Make an emotional connection and clearly explain the benefits. The goal is to capture their interest with the first “Hello. What do you do?”

For more information visit Women’s Success Coaching