There has been a lot said recently about ‘elevator’ speeches and their effectiveness. There is no doubt that if you are in business; be it selling a product or service to a prospect and are therefore prospecting, you need some sort of ‘elevator’ speech. The majority of people, however, fail to realize that before you give an ‘elevator’ speech, you must first get in the ‘elevator.’
When someone asks you: “What do you do?” what they are really saying is: “Do I need to know you?” It is that essential first impression which either gets you invited onto the ‘elevator’ or left in the lobby. Mark Twain said: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Therefore, in order to ride the ‘elevator’ with your prospect, you have to make that first impression count. The challenge, according to numerous studies, is that you have only 7 seconds to make that first impression. Typically, ‘elevator’ speeches last 30 seconds, which by simple math, equates to the fact that they have not listened to the last 23 seconds and you have wasted the opportunity to capture their attention in the first place. The end result is that you are stuck in the lobby.
In order to be the most effective, I challenge you to describe in a compelling, clear and stimulating manner, what you do, or, sell in 10 words or less. In other words, 7 seconds. Your objective is to get the prospect to say: “That sounds intriguing. Tell me more.” He has now invited you to ride up with him in the ‘elevator’. It is at this point, at the invitation of the prospect by asking for more, that you launch into your well-crafted, poignant and specific ‘elevator’ speech. Those 10 words or less have to come out of your mouth so naturally as if it is something that you say every day of your life. You cannot stumble, mutter or stutter. Remember, 7 seconds is all you have.
As an example, whenever I get asked: “What do you do?” Without hesitation, I always answer: “Deliver profits and productivity by aligning behaviours, attitudes, and techniques.” Ten words, that in a majority of cases, always gets some kind of reaction including: “Tell me more.” “That sounds interesting. What is it all about?” “How do you do that?” Those statements are the invitations to join them in the ‘elevator.’ Your first impression line should never change unless it has become completely ineffective. This way, it becomes second nature and you don’t even have to think about it when asked: “What do you do?” The ‘elevator’ speech, however, should always be in flux and changed to meet the particular needs and challenges of the prospect who you are delivering it to. We would all agree that prospects are all different and as such, should all be treated in a unique way. Therefore, tailor your speech to meet their needs, not yours. The essence stays the same, but the delivery may change depending on the circumstances.
During our programs, crafting an effective, productive and efficient ‘elevator’ speech is a two plus hour process. In subsequent blogs, I will share with you some of the essential components required to craft your ‘elevator’ speech. However, unless you get invited to ride in the ‘elevator’, it is completely useless. Remember, 7 seconds to either be riding u or, still standing in the lobby. Which side of the door are you standing on?