We’ve had those awkward conversations…
What do you do?
I’m a life coach.
What does that mean?
Well, eh, I help people reach their goals.
Compare that to: I help people discover their greater purpose.
So what exactly is an elevator pitch?
You walk into an elevator and you perfect potential client walks in. You’re heading up to floor 10. Now is your chance to introduce yourself. Ready… go! That’s where the name came from… the idea that it should take you no longer than it would to ride in an elevator—so 30 to 60 seconds. But don’t worry if you don’t regularly find yourself in elevators. That’s not the point! You never know who you might run into at a cocktail party, or the movie theater, or grocery store…or any other number of places.
An elevator pitch (or speech) is a quick persuasive speech that is used to create interest in your coaching. They highlight who you are, what you do, and instills curiosity so they want to hear more.
The truth is that most people have a hard time answering “what do you do?” Sometimes it feels impossible to sum up what we do and why it matters. Plus, because most people don’t take the time to identify a scripted elevator speech, what they say ends up being boring and leading to a kind “that’s nice.”
Being able to introduce yourself and quickly express what you can do for people is a vital skill as a life coach. Once you develop your elevator pitch, you’re going to use it, or variations of it, everywhere you go and in all of your marketing materials.
So, first, let’s look at what DOESN’T work:
“I’m a life coach and I help people get more out of life. Let me give you some information about my services and about life coaching so you can learn more.”
Do you think this will work? Chances are it won’t, and here’s why.
The focus of this approach is on services, titles, and processes. Your potential clients aren’t interested in these things. They don’t care about your industry or how you run your business. We’ve said this before:
People don’t want life coaching, they want results!
Here’s another example of a terrible elevator pitch. This one is from a different industry, which you most likely are not familiar with. Reading this will put you in the same position as someone you may meet that is not familiar with life coaching.
“I’m Regional Vice President of Sales for Puffery Manufacturing. We manufacture office furnishings, electronic casings and belt buckles out of recycled asbestos, so you know your dollars are going toward making a greener planet. And we have manufacturing partners across the United States and Asia, which means we can ship finished product to your warehouses faster than the competition. Here’s my card. Maybe we can set up a time to meet and talk about your office furniture or belt buckle needs.”
Are your eyes glazed over yet? So what’s wrong with this pitch? First, it’s technical and boring, like the last bad example. Second, it sounds like a commercial and it is TOO LONG. While, it is good to have this much detail written out about your coaching services, you want to save some of this content and length for the follow-up conversation. You don’t want your elevator pitch to be this long.
So, the question is: What DOES work?
The truth is that there are many different ways to introduce yourself and explain your services that works. SO, instead of giving you a specific template to follow, we’re going to offer you several tips and a bunch of examples. You can play around with the different templates and make your own versions and see what works best for you.
First, let’s start with the basics. You must convey the following information:
- Who you are
- What you do
- How it benefits the people you do it for (aka the outomes)
- Something that captures interest
But, there are many ways to do this. The piece most people overlook is number 4—creating intrigue or interest. There are several ways to do this, and the examples we give will show different ways these ideas can be implemented.
- A hook—say something that surprises them or is uniquely interesting because their curiosity will make them want to know more
- A story—humans are natural storytellers, so sharing a story that illustrates what you do without having to say it is a great way to pull people in
- A question—ask a question that leads them to think about the problem they may face that you solve with your coaching
- A metaphor—the brain works in symbols and associations, so if you can make a comparison between what you do and something the person is already familiar with, it will click into place for them
- A pain point—talk directly to a point of pain or frustration that your target client experiences
Here are example of these methods:
HOOK: Prospect: So, what do you do?
Me: I help build PowerPoint muscles.
Me: I teach people how to use PowerPoint more effectively in business. Now, for instance, I’m working with a global consulting firm to train all their senior consultants to give better sales presentations so they can close more business.
The “PowerPoint muscles” were the hook. It’s strange enough that ANYONE would feel compelled to ask a follow-up question
STORY: When was the last time you printed out and saved a thank-you email? I was at a trade show recently and took digital pictures of the booths of my prospects. When I got back to the office I sent each one a thank you card with a picture of their booth on it. When I stopped by for a sales call a few weeks later, the card was proudly displayed on their desk. When you’re ready to make a lasting impression, hand me your business card for a free walk through of our proprietary system. My name is _______ and I want you to build better business relationships through effective follow up.
QUESTION: Do you remember about 10 years ago when the space shuttle Columbia was destroyed on re-entry? It turns out the engineers tried to warn NASA about the danger. But the PowerPoint slides they used were a complete mess and no-one understood the danger.
That’s what I do. I train people how to make sure their PowerPoint slides aren’t a complete disaster.
METAPHOR: A commercial water purification company’s primary differentiation is its low cost, small size, and rapid deployment capability. They could use the following metaphor to capture this: “We are the IKEA of Commercial Water Plants.
PAIN: I help frustrated dog lovers who are tired of their dogs ruling their lives discover a simple process that will put the dog owner in charge so that they can finally enjoy greater times with both their pets and with friends and family.
I help frustrated small business owners who want to develop a marketing program that is affordable and easy to execute and help them implement the exact strategies and tactics they need so that they can instantly generate more leads, attract more clients and generate healthy profits.
And, lastly, below you will find a traditional fill-in-the-blank elevator pitch script. A great marketing message is a matter of trial and error, so come up with several scripts and give them a try! Use your new spiel the next time someone asks you “what do you do?” You can even go out looking for a place to practice it, like a networking event. Or, you can spend some time hanging out in the elevators where your ideal clients are likely to be.
Natalie Rivera is a freedom junkie, speaker and entrepreneur. She is passionate about empowering others to GET REAL and live authentically. After a decade of living a life that wasn’t hers and developing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Natalie let go of everything and completely transformed. Through her journey to healing she rediscovered her true self and greater purpose—to inspire others to transform their lives. Natalie “retired” from the rat race at 24, put herself through school as a freelance designer, created a non-profit teen center, and later created Transformation Services, Inc., which offers motivational speaking, curriculum development, life coaching, event management, and publishing. She is also the Publisher of Transformation Magazine. Visit http://www.transformation-academy.com.