by Laurel Staples
Elevator speeches – a 30-second pitch used to describe your business – can make or break your first impression with potential new customers. In fact, having a boring or unclear elevator speech can cause you to lose business from great prospects who would have otherwise been interested in what you do.
These days, you can’t just create a regular ol’ run-of-the-mill elevator speech – you have to create a hot hook. In other words, you have to construct a clear and compelling mini-pitch that will immediately eject people out of their daily trance and grab their attention (instead of slowing watching their eyes glaze over).
The mistake that I see small business owners make over and over again is that they think that just because they are excited about their business that other people will be, too. This is not quite the truth of the matter. Just because you live and breathe your business, doesn’t make it interesting to anyone else. People will only be truly interested in your business if you make it directly relevant to them and/or present it in a way that’s truly remarkable.
There are three big mistakes that I notice when meeting other business owners at networking meetings and other events…
The person doesn’t have an elevator speech. You know this is the case when you ask a business owner what he does and you get the response, “I’m a freelance writer” or “I’m an affiliate marketer” or “I run a sign making business.” Your eyes almost immediately glaze over.
No one wants to know that “you are a [fill in the blank]” – this doesn’t typically spark a person’s interest. Instead, people want to know what problem you can solve or value you can provide with your business.
The person practically puts you to sleep with their prepared elevator speech. These are the people who don’t have a hook in their elevator speech – there’s nothing about what they’re saying that piques your interest or inspires you to learn more about their business. This problem looks something like…
Potential client: “So Bob, tell me what you do?”
Bob the Business Owner: “I own a PR agency that I started with my wife two years ago called XYZ Company. We’re a small firm, have five employees and are located in an office in XYZ part of town.”
Press the snooze button now please. Yes, Bob the Business Owner has articulated what he does for a living, but who really cares?
The person can’t clearly communicate what he or she does. With this group of people, you are still left wondering what in the world their business is all about even after they try to explain it to you. This problem looks like this…
Potential client: “So Suzy, what do you do?”
Suzy the Business Owner: “Well, I guess you could call me an internet marketer. Umm. I do a lot of videos… umm… podcasting… umm… and also… I have a blog at XYZ.com. You should definitely check it out. If you want the real scoop on internet marketing, I’m the person you come to. Oh… sorry… no, I don’t have a business card.”
Unfortunately, if you were playing the game Telephone, you would have no idea how to relate Suzy’s message to the person next to you.
Obviously, it’s not a great feeling when you share what you’re passionate about and the other person doesn’t seem to care, looks confused or isn’t interested. That’s why you need to avoid all of the common mistakes listed above and create your own catchy, compelling hot hook so that people are hanging onto every word you say.
How do you do that? Well, all you have to do is follow this simple formula…
I teach/show/help [fill in your target market here] with [insert specific problem that your target market wants to solve] so that they can [insert the specific results they achieve] without/while [insert any pain they want to avoid or added benefits].
Here are a few hot hooks in action…
Instead of saying, “I’m a freelance writer,” you could say…
“I help small Internet-based businesses to clearly communicate their message and value to potential customers with authority so that they can sit back and start collecting more passive income without having to spend a ton of money on advertising.”
Instead of saying, “I’m an affiliate marketer,” you could say…
“I teach busy small business owners how to triple their monthly income through affiliate marketing so that they can spend more time growing their business while not having to constantly worry about cash flow.”
Instead of saying, “I run a PR agency,” you could say…
“I help musicians, authors and artists reach more people and quickly build their fan base thru PR so that they can turn their creative hobby into a money-making business and do what they love full-time without having to spend the next 10 years waiting to be discovered.”
You get the idea, right? Take some time to dig into the emotional push-buttons and deep-rooted problems of your ideal customers -problems that you can help them solve with your business’ product or service. Use these problems and pain points to create your hot hook that will have people begging to learn more from you.
Once you write out your hot hook, make sure that you memorize it (this is critical) and tweak it as needed after you begin to gauge other people’s reaction to it. Be open to experimenting with it until you get it right and adapt it accordingly based on the person you are talking to. Once you do all this, you’ll be on the fast-track to growing your client/customer base every time someone poses the simple question, “What do you do?”
Laurel Staples runs a popular blog & podcast called Go Fire Yourself that gives you the insider secrets to successfully escape your day job, grow your own business and live life on your terms. Connect with Laurel and download her free ebook: Income Switch: How to Replace Your 9-to-5 Income by Building a Profitable (& Unstoppable) Online Platform by visiting her website: www.gofireyourself.com