by Amanda Herr, Herr Company, LLC
I spent 17 years working for the largest news network in the world as one of their top sales executives. I was the go-to person for many in the company to solve problems and get things done. I was known as a “go-getter”. However, the morning I rode in the elevator to the 10th floor with our CEO I realized…I wasn’t on top of my game.
I was asked a simple question by the man who held my career in his hands… ”What’s new Amanda?” I was a deer in the proverbial headlights. I was prepared to talk about the weather, even the latest football game (to which I had no interest but had studied “just in case”). However, I didn’t have a quick response to “What’s new Amanda?” I knew he wasn’t asking about what was new with me, but with my team. This was my chance to get our name out there. This was my chance to sing the praises of my team. This was my chance to get him interested in our goals for the year. What did I say? “We are having a great year. What’s new with you?”
What a missed opportunity!
You may not find yourself in the elevator with the CEO of a top news network. You may however be given the opportunity in an elevator, in a chance meeting, or over coffee to get someone excited about your vision…your start-up. Are you ready?
If you get this conversation right with the right people, it could literally take your start-up to the top floor (we are on a pretend elevator right?). How do you communicate what you are so passionate about in 30-seconds?
Start with these 6 steps:
Step 1: Decide the 1 thing you want them to take away from the conversation and make sure you include that 1 thing in your conversation at least 3-times. Studies show it takes 3-times for someone to pick up on a key point. That’s why those annoying commercials repeat their phone numbers 3 (or more) times. I can probably call many companies I will never need just because of this repetition.
Step 2: Give them an executive overview and let them know right up front why they should listen. Who’s your target audience? Why do they need your start-up?
Step 3: Let them know what problem you focus on and how you solve that problem. Every company or mission is focused on solving a problem. If it wasn’t, there would be no need for the company. Even an ice cream shop solves a problem. And yes, it is a problem if there is no ice cream. So tell them the problem and how you solve it.
Step 4: What makes you unique? Why are people choosing you? What makes your mission or company stand out?
Step 5: Always end with an ask. Would they like to know more? Would they have time to discuss this further over coffee? Would they like to attend your next event? Make sure to leave them thinking about OPPORTUNITY.
Step 6: Practice! It will feel strange; however, you need to practice either in a mirror (no I’m not kidding) or with a co-worker. You don’t want to sound “canned” when presented with the opportunity to give your pitch, but you do need to know your pitch. When you practice you not only remember the key points, you can deliver those points in a relaxed and natural manner.
This “elevator” pitch is something you, and your team, can use over and over again…so spend some time crafting it. When you are given the opportunity to tell someone about your start-up…seize it! Take your elevator (pitch) to the top!
* This blog was originally posted at herr.company.