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Elevator Pitch- How to Turn a Stranger Into a Prospect in 30 Seconds or Less

elevator pitch
A well crafted elevator pitch can create prospects for your business

If you attend enough networking events, whether they occur offline or online, you’re going to be asked this question approximately one million times.

What’s the question?

“So, what do you do?”

Sound familiar?

How you answer this question can make the difference between creating a prospect who wants to know more about your business, or boring somebody to tears.

Your answer is commonly referred to as an elevator speech, or an elevator pitch. Theoretically, you should be able to deliver your marketing message in the time span of an elevator ride.

We are going to break down an elevator pitch into 4 components

1) Identify Your Ideal Client

You will begin your elevator pitch by identifying the type of individuals that you work with. In order to communicate this successfully, you must clearly understand your target market. Be as specific as possible. For example, let’s say that you are a recruiter. A typical answer to the question regarding what you do, might be to say, “I am a recruiter, I help professionals find jobs.” However, by closely examining your ideal client, you would say, “I am a high end recruiter. I help professionals, who have several years of experience, find their ideal positions.” If you are directing your pitch to someone who fits this description, you will definitely get their attention!

elevator pitch
2) Identify The Problems Faced by Your Ideal Client

Analyze your target market to determine problems that are universal. By showing that you understand their problems, you establish your credibility. Let’s use the example of a recruiter again. After you identify who you typically work with, you would go on to state, “my clients have hit a ceiling in terms of personal and financial growth at their current positions, and they are anxious to find more fulfilling opportunities.” Again, if you are directing your pitch to a dissatisfied professional, they are going to be “all ears”, toward what you say next.

3) Identify The Outcomes or Solutions That You Provide for Your Clients

Potential prospects are primarily interested in what you can do for them. They have a clear, “what’s in it for me?” mentality. Consequently, after you state the problems faced by your clients, you would outline the solutions that you provide. In the case of a recruiter, you would state, “my clients typically increase their compensation by at least 20%, while finding long term career advancement opportunities.”Be SPECIFIC about what you provide. Don’t just say, “I usually get my clients an increase in compensation.” Use real numbers and percentages.

After you finish the first 3 parts of your elevator pitch, wait for a reaction from your potential prospect. If they say something like, “Wow, I could have used someone like you before I took my current position!” Obviously, you have got their interest and attention. At that point, ONLY if they express an interest, go on to step 4 of your elevator speec, which is..

elevator pitch
4) Give Them an Example of One of Your Successful Clients

Tell them a story about how you successfully helped one of your clients find a perfect job. Again, be specific about the improvements they achieved, financially and emotionally, in their new position.

The key to a successful elevator pitch is to be PREPARED. You must rehearse and memorize your pitch, until it flows smoothly without hesitation.

By the way, here is MY elevator pitch…

“I work with solo business owners, who are trying to market their business online, but they are confused by too many choices, and they find it difficult to focus and be productive. I help them find their best marketing options, while helping them to learn to focus on their most profitable activities. Ultimately, they learn to love being their own boss, while doubling their income and working 50% less hours.”

Do you have an elevator pitch of your own? How effective is it? What suggestions can you offer our community for developing an elevator speech? Please leave a comment, so we can benefit from your expertise!

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  1. Robert H. says:

    Elevator speeches are an absolute must at networking events, online forums, and chat rooms. It is amazing how people react when you have identified them as a prospect. Be sure to keep quiet after you give your pitch, and let the prospect talk first.
    Good information, Michael!

    • Mike says:

      Hey Robert! Actually, an elevator pitch is just as effective online, as it is offline. It is very useful ANY time you make initial contact with a person. It allows you to determine if a relationship has business potential. Thanks for your input!

  2. Judy says:

    This post was way cool for me because every time someone asks me what I do, I get kind of tongue tied. Now I know exactly what to say to see if they are interested in my program.
    Loved this post, Michael!

    • Mike says:

      The beauty of MEMORIZING your elevator pitch is that it gives you great confidence when you are making your initial contact with a potential prospect. It allows you to guage their interest, and helps you determine how much you should continue to engage with them.

  3. san says:


  4. Jesus G says:

    Yeah, Michael, I agree. You only have a short time to make an impression on someone, so you have to make every word count. I have used my elevator speec many times, and it’s amazing how well it works!

    LOVE this stuff, man!

    • Mike says:

      Jesus, Thanks for your input. It sounds like you could give all of us pointers, considering you’ve had so much success. Any additional suggestions?

  5. I remember reading a comment in a forum where it was said- “The minute I hear a person going into a “canned speech” or elevator pitch, I am turned off. I interrupt and ask them a question.” I say this not to disagree with the idea of creating a pitch, especially the way you described it, but more about the way it is delivered. I think a conversational approach is best, perhaps include a question to ask. Above all, use it appropriately, for example, when asked!

    • Mike says:

      Hi Richard! The most important aspect of ANY prepared script is to memorize it to the point where you don’t even have to think about it. By doing so, you have the opportunity to infuse your personality into it, according to the personality of the prospect. In MANY cases, people are turned off by poorly prepared people who sound robotic. Most people are too lazy to PROPERLY memorize a script. Thank you for your valuable input!

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