The world’s a busy place. It’s busy for us as contractors, and it’s busy for our clients. It can be hard to find the time to do all we need. That means that we need to be able to sell them on our service in a limited amount of time.
To do that effectively, we have to pack all the important information into a clear, concise and convincing way. That’s possible if we’ve developed an effective elevator pitch.
What Is An Elevator Pitch
You may be thinking, “But I don’t install elevators!” As you’ve probably figured out, though, that’s not the point of an elevator pitch. In reality, the term comes from the short amount of time you would get on an elevator ride to pitch your business.
We’ve seen the idea played out on TV or in movies, though. The idea is that you rush onto an elevator with a busy executive who you can’t get an appointment with. But you still want to try to convince them to hire you. He or she may be trapped there with you, but only for a short amount of time. An effective elevator pitch, in fact, is just 30 to 60 seconds long.
Sound tough? It is. It means whittling down everything you can offer and getting right to the essentials. Since it’s about the key components of your business, it can also help you keep yourself focused on what you’re all about.
When To Use An Elevator Pitch
Your elevator pitch needs to be not only concise, but also targeted.. As far as possible, you need one for each individual project and person you’re talking to. You want to be able to convince the person that you are the best contractor for their project. So the pitch has to be tailored for the purpose at hand.
The amount of preparation is justified by the type of project you’re after. It could be a municipal project or a large business. They are the type of projects that will bring in a lot of revenue themselves, but also provide you with a bit of exposure. So spending the time and effort to win the contract is definitely worth it.
You might try to look for an opportunity to run into the person responsible for this type of project in an elevator, but it could also be while walking across the parking lot or down the hall. Or it could be at a meet-and-greet or other event. You know you’ll only get a moment, though, so you’ve got to make the most of it!
On the other hand, it can also be helpful to have a more generic pitch to use on the phone or when you meet someone casually who wants to know what you can offer them. They might not have huge plans in mind, but they could still become a client. Letting them know what you can provide when they are ready can make a huge impression.
What Goes Into An Elevator Pitch
There is a famous quote that says, “I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time.” No one’s quite sure who said it first – some credit it to the French philosopher Blaise Pascal; others say it was the American humorist Mark Twain; and there are a variety of other suggestions. But it’s a reminder that creating something short and to the point is harded than making something long and rambling. That’s definitely the case with an elevator pitch.
Any of us, without effort, could talk all day about what we do. The hard part is summing it up in one minute. So what do we need to include?
Don’t forget to start off by introducing yourself! Let the person know who you are and what company you represent.
Tell Them What You Want
It’s key to make it clear why you’re talking to this person in the first place. Get right to the point. What’s the project you’d like to do? Don’t be afraid to come right out and say it. You know why you’re there, but they might not.
Let Them Know What You Can Do For Them
Next, explain the skills and talents that you bring to the task. This might work out to the longest part of your pitch, since you can give an example or two here. How much experience do you have? What similar projects have you worked on?
Also, how does this make you unique? What do you bring to the task that others may not?
Throughout the whole pitch, it’s important to be persuasive. This is your opportunity to convince them to hire you – or at least to get them thinking about you. It’s not simply a presentation of facts; it’s the opportunity to show why you can do it better than others.
Get Them Asking For More
In most cases, the elevator pitch is your way to get into the mix, but it’s not going to close the deal. So encourage follow-up. Present your business card to the person and ask them to call you or drop an email to set up an appointment. You’ve hopefully piqued their interest and convinced them that it’s worth learning more.
Be Concise – Not Rushed
When preparing your elevator pitch, it’s essential to remember that you are trying to convey all the information in a short period of time. But the idea isn’t to rush through it. You want to be able to speak normally.
That means you have to spend time writing, editing, and practicing your speech. Figure out what’s important. Get down to brass tacks and stick to that. No fluff. Figure out what you need to say and get rid of the rest.
Around 100-200 words is the general length of a talk that lasts up to a minute. However, don’t just write it. Practice it. Read it into the recorder on your smartphone or in front of colleagues or a family member. Keep it natural – you know this stuff because it’s your daily business. But know what you have to say so that you don’t run out of time.
An elevator pitch is an excellent way to present yourself and your business when you know you’re only going to have a short moment to do so. Creating a good one, though, takes a lot of time, thought, and practice. It’s worth it, though, and can help you secure those contracts you really want!