Elevator speeches and 30-second presentations are bad press; Let’s face it, it’s simple in theory, but in practice it’s not so easy to summarize what you do in 30 seconds, especially when you want to get 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 doesn’t attract much attention for a couple of reasons:
First of all, it assumes that everyone understands your label the same way you do. They do not do it. They may have a completely different perspective on what a life coach does than you do. This is not a disconnect you want.
Second, you give them an open door to think, “Oh, okay, I know what it is and I’ve got it covered.” Now they don’t really listen anymore.
“I do personal and small business taxes”
This is a better opening statement, but again, it doesn’t speak to the challenges your audience may be facing. It also invites the “I’ve got it covered” response. If your process description is more complex or unique, you run the risk of the listener not understanding what you are doing or getting confused.
“I save people money on their taxes”
This approach is commonly recommended and has some merit. Talking about the benefits it provides makes them think and the benefits are more attractive than a simple label. However, there is a danger that this approach lacks force; after all, who doesn’t want to save money? Furthermore, the processes can be complex to explain and there is a danger that the explanation will become complicated and unclear and, worse, filled with industry-specific jargon. Remember that the listener does not care HOW the process works at this stage.
“I work with frustrated people because they are paying too much in taxes”
This is the strongest example and one that we recommend as a means of getting attention (the overall goal of an elevator pitch after all). Why? It speaks directly to a real pain point that your target market is feeling. Problems and challenges like these dominate people’s thinking and they seek solutions. Notice the use of emotional words in this example (“frustrated”) to clarify this point.
“I work with people who are frustrated because they are paying too much in taxes; I help them save money.”
This is based on the problem statement, although it is largely unnecessary. When you state that you help with a particular problem facing your audience, that implies that you have a solution (or why raise it?) So you can certainly use this version, but it can have a more immediate impact with a direct statement of the problem.
There is more to an elevator speech than this, of course, but sometimes you only have 10 seconds to get your message across. This is called the 10 second wow! Statement and may well be enough to get the attention you seek from your ideal prospects.