What’s one thing every human being on this Earth has in common? Our desire to communicate. Ideally to not only communicate but to make a connection with others. When we meet new people we often have only a very short period of time to make a connection. That initial connection is important because it will be the foundation for more communication (or the lack there of) in the future.
That’s why today I want to talk about your 30-Second Commercial, or your Elevator Pitch. I’m going to argue that this is important for everyone, but if you are a business owner, this is critical. An elevator pitch is also very useful for students who are applying for scholarships, job candidates applying for a job, or anyone engaging in networking activities.
30 Second Commercial
The purpose of a 30-Second Commercial is to provide the listener(s) with the most important information about you in a short amount of time. Usually this is about 15-30 seconds, but sometimes you may have a little longer. Your pitch is a way to quickly and concisely share the most basic but essential facts about you.
There are really two levels of presenting your pitch. The first is to only give the facts: your name, your company, and what you do.
The second level is to connect with your audience. This goes beyond the facts an makes the message interesting, asks questions, and includes a call to action.
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Level 1: The Facts
- Identify Yourself (First and Last Name)
- Identify Your Company (or your school, or what position you have or are applying for)
- Explain what you do and how you specifically can help benefit customers (or relevant stakeholders)
Example: “Hi, my name is Krista Palo. I am the owner and CEO of Evolve. I am a John Maxwell certified speaker, teacher, and coach. I help individuals and companies make lasting positive change.”
This is the bare bones minimum. I have identified the critical information and shared it in a quick easy to deliver way, but it is not particularly engaging. I may get a few people interested in what I do, but if I use this I won’t really stand out. My message will just blend in with everyone else.
Level 2: Engage the Audience
Once you have the basic information down, ask yourself these questions:
- Does my message catch the attention of my audience?
- Does it ask an open-ended question that will lead the conversation to the next level?
- Did I include a call to action?
There are a few simple ways you can catch the attention of your audience. You can share a story, a success, a customer experience, or a testimonial. You only have a short amount of time, so make sure that you strip down all of the extra and just share the most important elements.
Open ended questions are very effective for engaging your listener. Using any sort of a question can be powerful but an open ended question can get your listener thinking and encourage them to come back and ask you more questions.
I would argue that the most important part of your pitch is a call to action. You have given your listener the important information about you, they know who you are, what you do, you’ve given them a compelling story, and engaged them with a question. While you have their full attention, ask them to do something! The hardest part in marketing is finding an audience, the worst thing you can do when you actually have an audience is to miss the opportunity to have them take action.
Give the listener a reason to act. Give them something specific to do now, not later, now. If they are going to do it “later” chances are you’ve lost them. While you have their attention, encourage them to do what you need them to do!
- Name: Hi, my name is Krista Palo.
- Company: I’m the owner of Evolve.
- What I do: Most small business owners struggle to manage their time and priorities. I teach clients how to slow down, be intentional and in the moment, which allows them to tap into their intuition and have greater success in reaching their goals.
- Power Question: Do you or someone you know struggle to reach your goals, with competing priorities, or time management?
- How we can help: Let me help you be more productive and increase your bottom line. I offer speaking, teaching, and coaching services.
- Call to action: Would you like to schedule a FREE consultation?
Even in this example, I can still improve. I asked a yes or no question for my power question. I could have asked, what is the one thing you struggle with the most in your business? Then I could go into how I can help and my call to action.
And even in my call to action, instead of having a question, I could have used a statement. Lets get together for a FREE consultation.
- Facts tell, stories sell.
- Focus on the benefit, success, or the customer experience
We have a tendency to want to be the hero in the story. But our customers want to be the hero in their own story. Instead of being their hero, position yourself as the guide that will take them on the path to be their own hero.
What benefit do you offer to help your customer? What success will they have because of your help?
Get your listener involved! Facts are boring, get down to the good stuff! Why should the customer go with you?
Chances are that you will be networking in a variety of locations, and even if you only network with the same group, you can still change up your pitch to keep it engaging and different.
How to Change up Your Pitch
- Specific Products or Services
- Target Market
- Competitive Advantages
- Problems You Solve
Click the following link to download my FREE 30-Second Commercial Worksheet to help you brainstorm different things to include in your pitch!
The trick is to have your pitch seem natural, but it shouldn’t be exactly the same everytime. Target your pitch to your audience. What you would use with surgeons is probably different than what you would use for mechanics. Be aware of your audience and try to use a pitch that will resonate with most of the audience.
Words to Avoid
- Anybody: saying anybody brings nobody to mind, be specific.
- Full Service: this means different things to different people.
- Just: the word “just” diminishes whatever content that follows it.
- Very, Absolutely, and Totally: these words do not add value, just drama.
When we are networking in a business setting, the goal is to make our company, our business relevant. If we use words like anybody, it really does not help the person we are talking with identify a specific person that could benefit from our products.
The more specific you get, the easier it is for that person to think of someone.
Networking Do’s and Don’ts:
- KISS Principle: Keep It Short & Sweet.
- Focus on your strengths and assets.
- Mention your industry/profession.
- Make sure you can back up what you say with facts and results.
- Have more than one version.
- Ask for a business card and/or advice for a future action.
- Ask if there is someone else you should also speak with.
One of my favorite questions is, “Who do you know that I should know?” It is a phenomenal question I learned from John C. Maxwell that can help lead you to amazing future opportunities.
The KISS principle is also really important, when we are networking, we should be communicating the most simple version of what we do. Unless you are in a room of professionals that also work in your industry, don’t assume other people know what you do.
- Don’t use industry jargon or acronyms.
- Don’t ramble. If you run out of things to say, ask a question.
- Don’t forget to follow up!
Your 30-Second Elevator Pitch
- What You Do
- Power Question
- How You Can Help
- Call to Action
“The words we use are important, and most of us use to many.” – Krista Palo
I hope that you have found this article helpful in putting together a great 30-Second Commercial. The key to making it effective will be to practice. It should sound natural but not completely canned. Have a few versions you can switch through to better target your audience.
Remember, the goal is to identify potential customers where you can fill a need with one of your products or services that will help them be the hero in their own story.