If you’ve owned your own business for more than a hot minute, you know how hard it can be to answer that basic question, “What do you do?” Whether you’re at an industry conference or summer wedding, you know how awkward it feels to try and explain your work to people who aren’t in your industry (or worse, people who haven’t even heard of your industry).
You also know what it’s like to fumble your way through a conversation about your work, only to watch people’s eyes glaze over in confusion or boredom while you talk.
I’d like to help you prevent that from happening again by teaching you how to create a great elevator pitch.
And let’s be clear: I’m not talking about the kind of dull, old elevator pitches that belong in corporate boardrooms and stiff networking events. I want to help you craft a value-centered elevator pitch that focuses less on what you do and more on who you serve and how you help them.
Here’s why: people don’t care as much about details like your job title or profession or company name as they do about how you can help them and what results you can get them. That means those details should be front and center in your elevator pitch.
Sometimes it’s easier to see an example, so here are two from my own business to show you the difference between an elevator pitch that leads with my business name and job title and one that takes the value-centered approach.
The Old School Approach: I’m Ashley. I own Ashley Gartland Coaching, where I work as a business coach for creatives and entrepreneurs.
The Value-Centered Approach: I’m Ashley. I help creatives and entrepreneurs stop overcomplicating things and learn to simplify their business (not to mention their to-do lists) so they can make more money and experience more freedom in their life.
The first pitch is general and doesn’t inspire much conversation. The value-centered pitch tells them how I help people and what results I get them. And you can bet that when I share this, the person in front of me often says “I need that” or “I should connect you with…”
If you’re sold on this approach and would like to give it a try, you can get out a notebook or open a fresh Word document and follow the steps below to craft your own value-centered elevator pitch:
Describe the people you help. Be specific but 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 (i.e. what you do for them—and keep the language simple and the industry jargon to a minimum).
Describe the results people get when they work with you or buy a product or service from you.
Now combine your answers from part one, part two and part three in a single sentence to create your elevator pitch. Here’s a fill-in-the-blank example that shows you how it should come together.
I’m NAME. I help DESCRIBE WHO YOU SERVE by DESCRIBE HOW YOU HELP so they DESCRIBE YOUR RESULT.
Once you’ve crafted your elevator pitch, you can use it in casual conversation, in social media bios, on the homepage or your web site and so much more.
Ashley is a business coach for entrepreneurs and creatives who are exhausted trying to do everything to make their business work. She’s a lifelong creative entrepreneur and has been a writer, copywriter and food editor for the digital platform. You can follow her on Facebook or join her Facebook group, The Simplified Entrepreneur. Join her recent All Eyes on You Challenge to help you craft your first pitch!