Branding Yourself: How to Create a Great Elevator Pitch

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Can you tell a stranger what you do within 30 seconds in a concise, succinct and interesting way? Are you able to differentiate yourself from all of your competitors in only a few sentences? When you meet someone new, do they hear what you do and say WOW!!! Does your website, brochure and business card draw interest and attention to you? If not, you need a great elevator pitch – a verbal and possibly written calling card lasting only the length of time it takes to ride an elevator to the top of an average building, about 30 seconds. A good elevator pitch will differentiate you from your competition. It will help develop referrals because your clients will tell their friends exactly who you are and what you do. If you don’t define yourself first, others will do it for you. It is tempting to be a generalist: everything to everybody. But the result is becoming a commodity.

It is the job of your prospect to decrease your expertise. That way they can cheapen and drive down your value. For example, “You should go see my financial advisor. He is really good. Why? I don’t know, I just like him.” That doesn’t give them any reason to change from their advisor to you. But if you say, “My financial advisor is brilliant. He keeps in contact me every three months and gets above-market returns with below-market risk.” Now that is a reason to book an appointment. It’s your job to appear an expert and gain their interest and later respect.

Recently after a tennis match, one of my buddies, “Hollywood,” was asked by a club member what he did for a living. Hollywood said he was a financial advisor and went back to his beer. He completely lost any opportunity to gain a client. Anyone who asks what you do or asks you to explain something related is asking your advice. If you are successful, you may also gain an appointment.

Five steps to successfully tell others what you do and generate interest

  1. Label yourself in three sentences or less.
  2. Articulate three benefits you deliver to your clients.
  3. Tell a story using those three benefits.
  4. Probe for needs.