We've all heard one, we've all tried one, but at the end of the day- do we know what we heard or said? And better yet, do we understand how and where success can be created in a conversation that we just had?
A porch pitch, an elevator pitch, a brief rambling… call it want you want, but at the end of the day, if you don't know what the person across from you does... how can success be created for either side of the conversation?
For an entrepreneur/intrapreneur looking for collaboration or connection to a resource; make it easy for others to understand what your needs are. After all, you're networking for a reason and if you can't describe in short form why you exist, you may have given failure an opening.
For 2 1/2 years I've been practicing my elevator pitch. I'll be the first to admit... it's not great... but it's getting better. The fact of the matter is that many times your elevator pitch may change based upon your audience. And while the words may be different, the meaning of your business shouldn’t change. With that in mind, what core values does your business possess? The following questions can assist in uncovering the value within the corporation you work for or within your own personal practice.
Why do you exist?
Describe what the need is in the marketplace and why you fulfill the need. You don’t have to validate (in this initial conversation) that there is a market for your product or service, but make sure you plant a seed in another’s mind that you understand your industry. In a networking situation, you have succeeded if the other person seeks to know more about your personal practice. The follow up conversation can lead to marketplace validation.
Why are you different?
Describe how your business or personal practice is not a commodity. Whether the differentiation comes from experience, attitude, motivation or even a niche within a niche; a person needs to know why you stand out from others. This doesn’t imply being quirky. Your description should cause them to remember your business needs, not your behavior. Your behavior and mannerisms will cause you to be remembered for your personality, not your business.
Who do you work with?
Describe who and where your target markets are. This can be achieved by simply stating two or three needs that you currently have. The idea is to say the right “buzz words” that connect a person within their network to your resource needs. Be careful to NOT limit yourself to certain industries. Success often lies around the edges of your business model.
The ability to explain your existence, differentiation and target market will put you in a position for a successful elevator pitch. Not everyone will know someone that can help you, but it’s important to remain in the mind of others. This activity takes time to perfect and will only get better with practice.