Networking can be a nerve-wracking experience. It’s easy to put pressure on ourselves to say exactly the right thing at exactly the right time to exactly the right people.
Should I be funny? Should I try to talk to everyone? Should I be serious? Should I talk longer with fewer people? Should I join that conversation? Should I wait for people to approach me?
Networking events can feel like our eighth-grade dance all over again.
But knowing some of what you’re going to say ahead of time can take a lot of that in-the-moment pressure off, making it easier to mingle and be yourself.
This is just part of why many networkers recommend crafting a 30-second “elevator pitch.”
Not only can you enter a conversation confident in how you’ll introduce yourself, but you also know you’ll be consistent throughout the networking event. When you don’t have to divide your attention between listening to the conversation and deciding what you want to say, you can focus more authentically on building connections—which is what networking is all about.
But making things less intimidating is just one of the reasons your elevator pitch is your most important networking asset:
When you clearly explain who you are, what you do, and who you help, a successful elevator pitch doesn’t just attract the people who hear it directly—it also empowers anyone you’re networking with to reach into their network and send you prospects.
This makes every networking event more effective. Every contact you make has the potential to foster even more connections, allowing your pitch to reach a larger network of potential clients and customers.
Here are the three essential components of every effective elevator pitch:
1. Who You Are
The first step is to introduce yourself, including both your name and your job title. If you’re speaking on behalf of your company, you’ll also want to include your company name.
For me, this is as simple as, “Hi, I’m Dr. Steven Kirch, coach and trainer of business coaches with Profit Minds, LLC.”
2. What Problem You Solve
Next, briefly explain what you do in a way that is easy for people to understand, even if they’re not in your niche. Most importantly, make sure that it’s crystal clear what problem you solve for your clients or customers.
There are two important components to this: the people you serve and the problem they face.
When you describe who you serve, you might use a basic descriptor, like “corporate executives” or “small business owners,” or you can be even more specific, like “small medical practices” or “business owners in the trades.”
When you describe the problem your potential clients or customers face – and this is perhaps more important – you should include something that reveals the emotional state of your ideal client. For example, in my case, I indicate that my ideal prospect is somehow dissatisfied with their current life situation and looking for a change.
In my elevator pitch, I say, “I work with corporate executives or small business owners who are tired of their hamster wheel and are looking for a new opportunity where they can truly help others – and at the same time build income for themselves to support the freedom they have always dreamed of.”
3. How do you do that?
In a networking mixer, I stop right there. You want to entice the listener into a conversation, so don’t give them too much information, but enough to beg the question: “How do you do that?”
Once you’ve made it clear what problem you solve, this next step is to get more specific about your strategies and what makes you unique.
When people ask me the “how” question, for example, I respond by sharing, “I teach coaches our system to attract and retain high-paying clients. I set them up in their own business and teach them techniques that enable them to say ‘I can find 30-$50,000 in untapped revenue for ANY small business in under 45 mins.’
All I require is empathy, an entrepreneurial spirit, and the ability to learn and follow our system.
Within 6-8 weeks, they will be on their way to earning six figures in their own coaching business.”
BONUS: What to Listen For
Not everyone who hears your elevator pitch will be the right fit to work with you. In fact, you never want to try and sell directly to the person you are speaking with – even if they are actually a perfect prospect. But when implemented correctly, an effective elevator pitch can invite the listener to send you prospects and share what you do more broadly, even if it’s not applicable to themselves.
This is why it’s especially important to make sure the people on the receiving end of your elevator pitch know how they can recognize others who might benefit from working with you. If they are a prospect, they will recognize themselves in your description.
In your pitch, particularly at a regular networking meeting where you are a member, be sure to include what to listen for, with phrases stated in the first person.
For example, I might say, “If you hear a client or friend or family member say something like, ‘I’d love to retire, but I’m not sure I’m ready (or can afford it) (or what I’d do to fill my days)…’ or ‘I’m really tired of doing the same thing day after day and am looking for a new opportunity…’ or ‘I would love to find something to do where I can really help others…’ those would be great introductions for me.”
Nailing Your Pitch
Developing an effective elevator pitch can take time. There will likely be a period of trial and error as you figure out the best ways to describe what you do and who you serve. And the more you practice sharing your pitch, the more comfortable you’ll get and the more effective your delivery will become.
But the time and effort are absolutely worth it.
Once you have an effective elevator pitch, you can use it not only in your networking interactions, but also in your social media, on your sales pages, in your email communications, and on your website.
If you’d like help crafting your elevator pitch, set up a call with us here.