You’re probably familiar with the elevator speech formula that goes, “I help [who?] [do something] so they can [result]. I do this by [name of your program or method].
What you might not know is the reason behind each element. Knowing these reasons will help you craft a more strategic elevator speech.
The overall reason for the elevator speech is to paint a picture in the mind of the listener so they instantly picture who needs your services (might be them or it might be someone they know.)
Each section of the elevator speech does its part in painting that picture.
A secret to know about people you’ll be talking to is that the human brain is wired to instinctively jump in and help. You see this when a complete stranger risks his life running over to a burning car to rescue the people trapped inside.
So when you say, “I help…” you trigger that part of the listener’s brain, and they start going through their brain’s database of all the people they know who fit that description and might need your services.
So it’s good to start with “I help…”
“I help [who?] …”
When you say “I help (generic) people…” we don’t get a picture of a specific person in our mind, so it doesn’t compute. We’re already starting to disengage and tune out what you’re saying.
That’s why you want to have a specific, narrowly defined audience you serve. This is scary at first because we think we’ll get more business if we aim to serve “everyone.” Most of us learn this the long, hard way, including me. So a good thing to keep in mind is that “Everyone” = “No one.”
To illustrate this, imagine you and a competitor are at a networking event. A female veteran who has the problem you both solve is listening to each of you.
Your competitor says, “I help people…” The veteran is already tuning out.
You say, “I help women veterans…” She recognizes herself, so she’s going to listen to your whole elevator speech to find out if you can help her.
So be as specific as you can about who you help.
“I help [who?] [do something]…”
Now that this female veteran is listening, you and your competitor are going to tell her what you do. Your competitor says, “I help people go through life transitions…” The woman veteran is in transition so she’s wondering if this person understands her particular transition issues or if it’s just anybody in transition, such as people going through divorce.
Nope, too generic. She feels unsure, so she turns to you.
“I help women veterans transition out of the military…” Bingo! This is exactly what she’s struggling with, so she’s all ears. You have nailed her problem. Many elevator speeches stop here. But there’s one more secret element that’ll seal the deal for her.
“I help [who?] [do something] so they can…”
The secret is to add a “so they can…” result statement.
Secret: It’s often the “so that” part of the statement that sells people on your services because it’s the transformation, the result, they’re looking for.
“I help women veterans transition out of the military so they can quickly start thriving in their new life in the world.”
You now have a fully engaged prospect who can’t wait to hear more about how she can get started with you.
“I help [who?] [do something] so they can [result]. I do this by [name of your program or method].”
Another secret is that people don’t care “how” we help them, they just want the transformation. So they don’t need to know about the tools we use, at least not until they’re “sold” on the idea that you can help them.
That’s why you never want to start with what you do. “I do coaching and online programs…” That makes it about you, and nobody really cares what you do.
In a “full” elevator conversation, at the end you’d add something like, “I do this by using solution-based/proven xyz tools.” And then the conversation could include a case study showing how the tools helped someone. But really, at a networking event this type of situation probably won’t come up.
“I help women veterans transition out of the military so they can quickly start thriving in their new life in the world. I do this through coaching and online programs.”
I’ll bet your brain has run through your database of people you know and you’ve come up with at least one possible prospect, right?
Really, I say that introverts never have to go to networking events again if they don’t want to. Networking events are inside the extrovert’s Comfort Zone, and I help introverts uncover ways to take action and reach their goals from inside their own Comfort Zone. (Not to be confused with “Complacency Zone.”)
But you’ll still want to craft a clear, concise elevator speech so you can use it as a touchstone for your marketing messaging.
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