Do You Have an Elevator Speech?

Often I’m asked about this thing called an elevator speech. And, a lot of sales people have no clue what it is, why you need one or how to create one.

So, today, I thought I would take a moment to share what I know about the famous “elevator speech” and how and when to use it. Especially since I find most b2b sales people answer the “what do you do?” question with the self-defeating and end of conversation – “I’m a Sales Person with XYZ Company.” Tall about a show shopper.

Okay, here are the answers you are looking for regarding the what, when and how to build your elevator speech…

First, what is an elevator speech? It is a very short presentation designed to attract the interest of the person you are telling it to – with the best response being “how do you do that?” or better yet – “I need some of than for my business!”

Second, when do you use the famous elevator speech? Whenever you are one on one with a possible business person who would have an interest in what you have to offer. Notice I’m using the phrase what you have to offer rather than a product or service you sell. The key to the success of an elevator speech is it attracts attention and desire without a sales pitch. Soft sell if you like.

Third, how do you build an elevator speech to use when asked “What do you do?”. The best description I have found to create an elevator speech is a three step process. Since I like simple and three steps sounds simple to me – as I hope it does for you – let’s start with this. So here is the three step method…

  1. Create a Common Question – This is a question for a possible lead or customer that starts with these simple words: “Do You Have…”  Now you need to think about situations you regularly deal with or eliminate for a customer. Think in terms of problems or issues keeping them up at night, what one issue would they relate to immediately. The reason for this type of question rather than a statement is simple – the question makes the person think about the issue. If this person has the issue or is dealing with it, it will increase the immediate interest in your next statement.
  2. Explain What You Do – This NOT a discussion about products or services, it is a quick discussion or description of what problems or processes you perform to eliminate a problem. In other words, you are telling the person a very quick version of what problems you fix. You can use the following phrase as the starting point for your statement – “Let me explain what we do…” and tell a short version of the superior thing you or your company does for customers.
  3. Explain the Benefit – The third part seals the deal for you. It can start with a simple ” So What They Can…” and you fill in the blank with what your customers have told you that your product or service has done for them. This is the statement that creates a desire to want it too. Therefore, the next thing you will hear from the person – if they are a candidate for your business – is “How Can I Get This?” or “Do You Have Some Time to Meet with Me Now and Discuss This Some More?” At this point, you must decide if you are ready to proceed. If not, explain you don’t have any time at the moment – however, what is their schedule in the morning (or afternoon)? The key here is not to let much time go away since the person is actively engaged and ready to discuss a solution to their problem or issue. When interest is high – the desire to act is also high, so move quickly.

There you have an explanation into what, when and how to create an “elevator speech” for your advantage. Again, the key is to take the time to design the response and practice it before you have an opportunity to use it. Key b2b sales tip – take the time to practice it enough to make it short (to the point) and easy for you to remember so you can say it in a natural way.

If you only wing it – like most b2b sales people – you will probably miss the opportunity to gain an appointment with a warm prospect. Now if you enjoy cold calling and don’t have time for working with a warm lead, then any answer will do – I know sarcasm is bad, sorry! What is important is for you to take the time to prepare for when you have someone ask that routine of questions – What do you do?

No more I’m a Sales Person for XYZ Company. Blah! Do more and win more.

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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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