We’ve all been there. You’re at an adults-only cocktail party or on a playdate with some new mama friends when someone turns to you and asks “So, what do you do?”
If you’re like most people, this is the moment you freeze up. Or maybe you launch into a lengthy description of everything your business is about, just hoping that something you say will stick. Unfortunately, neither approach is very effective in engaging the person you’re talking to.
Now, here’s the good news: if you want to prevent a repeat performance, all you need is a great elevator pitch to lean on – and I’m not talking about a dull, old elevator pitch that belongs in corporate boardrooms and speed networking events (you know, the one that sounds like, “I’m Heather and I work in PR”).
Instead, you need an elevator pitch that puts the focus on who you serve and how you help them. Here’s why: people don’t care as much about your job title, industry or company name as they do about what you can DO for them. That means you need to tell people who you work with, how you help them and what results you deliver in your elevator pitch.
I call this a Value-Centered Elevator Pitch, and I’m going to walk you through the steps to creating one here. Nail this piece of the puzzle and you’ll have a concise answer to the “What do you do?” question that you can rely on everywhere, from casual weekend brunches to heymama events.
To get started, you can either open a new document on your computer or get out a blank sheet of paper and complete the following steps:
Describe the people you help – and be specific. It’s not enough to say you work with people or women. Descriptors are a great way to narrow in on a specific group of people (i.e. say “eco-conscious moms”, not just “moms”). You should also keep your description simple – you’re looking for a few words, not a paragraph, that answers the question “Who do I serve?”.
Describe how you help your people. If you get stumped, think about how one of your clients or customers would answer the question “How did I help you most?”.
Describe the results (or benefits) people get when they work with you or buy a product or service from you. If you aren’t sure what results you get people, think back to previous successes, testimonials or reviews of your products or services. The answer is often waiting for you there.
Combine your answers from part one, part two and part three in a single sentence (two sentences tops!) to create your Value-Centered Elevator Pitch. Here’s how it all comes together in a fill-in-the-blank formula.
I’m NAME. I help DESCRIBE YOUR PEOPLE by DESCRIBE HOW YOU HELP so they DESCRIBE YOUR RESULT.
If you’re feeling stuck, here are a few examples (plus one of my own) to inspire you:
I’m Amber. I help new families create connection to the Hawaiian lifestyle by providing island-inspired baby products so they can bring the spirit of aloha into their homes. (Amber Thibault, founder of Coco Moon)
I’m Allison. I help small brands connect with their customers by providing data-backed research so they can better understand their audience and determine how they can turn prospects into relationships and sales. (Allison Farquhar, brand strategist)
I’m Ashley. I help emerging creatives and entrepreneurs stop overcomplicating things and learn how to simplify their business (not to mention their to-do lists) so they can build more sustainable businesses and experience more freedom in their life. (That’s me, business coach, www.ashleymgartland.com)
Before we wrap up, I have just a few final notes for you. First, I want you to know that your elevator pitch will evolve as you and your business grow – and that’s ok. That also means it doesn’t have to be perfect. What you need now is a pitch you can use today and build on in the future.
Finally, I want to encourage you to say your elevator pitch out loud, and often. You can say it to your baby, or out loud in the mirror each morning, or when you first sit down at your desk each day. It sounds crazy, I know, but when it comes time to share your elevator pitch with someone new, you want to deliver it with ease, and practice equals ease.
Ashley Gartland helps emerging creatives and entrepreneurs stop overcomplicating things and learn to simplify their business (not to mention their to-do lists) so they can build more sustainable businesses and experience more freedom in their life. Creating an engaging elevator pitch is just one piece of that puzzle. To learn more about Ashley’s work and the special discount she offers heymama members, visit www.ashleymgartland.com. You’ll also find her hanging out on Instagram with her two daughters in tow and, most often, a kombucha in hand.