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Develop an Elevator Pitch

15 Jan

Imagine this scenario. You step into an elevator. The door closes. Someone introduces himself and asks you what you do. You have less than 30 seconds. What do you say?

You need an elevator pitch. According to Wikipedia.com, “An elevator pitch is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product, service, or organization and its value proposition. The name ‘elevator pitch’ reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes.”[i]

You need an intelligent response. The person who asked could be your next customer, investor, or someone who refers you to a big customer or investor. The response has to be direct, smooth, and sincere. It cannot sound like a sales pitch.

I met some business owners a few years ago who had a practiced and consistent elevator pitch. They owned a company that rented boats. Their customers could call and schedule boat time as if they were scheduling service on a car. Staff would make sure the boat was available, prepare it for use, and clean it afterwards. I asked one of the owners what he did and he replied, “Well, do you golf? We are like a country club for boaters. Our clientele can call us and reserve a boat. We do all the prep work beforehand and cleanup afterward. All you have to do is show up on time.”

I found someone else with a name badge for the same company. I asked her what she did. She recited the same exact elevator pitch. I found two others, asked them what they did, and received the same pitch. Imagine that! Four people had the identical response. I’m impressed that all four had practiced their responses. They gave me enough information to answer my question, but they didn’t drown me with an unwanted sales pitch. Maybe they sat at somebody’s kitchen table and said, “OK, how do we respond when somebody asks what we do?” When you create your elevator pitch, give yourself and your staff permission to vary it. The pitch should always sound fresh.

My current elevator pitch is, “My name is Mark. I help people attract business by using social networking. I help people stay in business by keeping their computers and networks working. That is what I do…I’ve been doing this since 1992.” It is concise, yet it doesn’t drown people with all the details of what I do. It helps qualify people who may need to hire me. It also helps weed out the ones who probably don’t.

It is your turn. Grab an index card and create your own elevator pitch. Time yourself. You have 30 seconds. Practice, practice, practice.

*****

Mark Anthony Germanos is the author of two books, Escape the Cubicle: How to leave your corporate or government job for something better and How to Make Computer Systems Work for You. He has faith in a slow but sure Sacramento business revival. Sacramento small business owners are leading the way. His second book, Escape the Cubicle, is for those who want to escape cubicle jobs and become successfully self-employed. Escape the Cubicle answers the questions: "How can I grow my business" and "How do I become my own boss."

Mark is the President of Cameron Park Computer Services. As a business owner and computer networking consultant, he has seen habits that successful Sacramento small business owners embrace. He helps Sacramento small business owners embrace those habits to increase their profits, efficiency and happiness. An advocate of Sacramento business revival, Mark believes everybody should run their lives like a small business, perform SWOT Analyses and use social media campaigns to improve business. He used to say “social media is stupid.” That was until he attended a conference and saw how Sacramento small business owners can use social media campaigns as a valuable tool. Since then, he has earned more than $40,000 in business via social media. His Sacramento small business clients also have five-figure returns. Sacramento small business owners that launch social media campaigns give themselves a comparative advantage over those who lag behind. Mark does not do everything, but his clients do receive great results and participate in the Sacramento business revival when they follow his advice.

Mark moved from Chicago and restarted his business in California with a cell phone and a Honda Civic. An active triathlete, he has a life, a dream wife and a dog. For additional details, visit http://markanthonygermanos.com. Twitter: http://twitter.com/markgermanos. Facebook: http://facebook.com/markanthonygermanos. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/markgermanos.

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