Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Business Chat - Your Elevator Speech

Last week we discussed the most common problem every small business has, especially new businesses, they can’t define what they sell. How do you market something that you haven’t yet defined?

There are 2 marketing tools that every business should create in order to define their product and convey that information to the customers. The first is your “elevator speech”. All corporate refugees should recognize the elevator speech.
Imagine you get into an elevator in an office building with a bicycle courier and he asks “what do you do?” By the time he gets off, he should know who you are, what your company is and what your company does. Telling him, “I make jewellery” isn’t good enough. Jewellery can be anything. Do you make high-end diamond and gold jewellery, nose rings or hemp bracelets? Telling him, “I really like to make earrings and some necklaces too” isn’t good enough. Think earrings. What mental image do you have? Probably it’s a different image from that of the bicycle courier. I’ll repeat again, if you don’t have an image fixed in a customers mind of your product, you won’t pop up on their mental radar screen when they are thinking of buying more jewellery.

Your "elevator pitch" must be clear and concise. It's not easy to develop an "elevator pitch." It takes quite a bit of thinking and practicing to decide which aspects of your business to mention. Even more frustrating, because an elevator pitch MUST be short, you have to decide what parts to leave out.

For a jeweller, saying “I make earrings” doesn’t give the listener much of a mental image. A better elevator speech could be, “I make jewellery inspired by nature, using silver and semi-precious stones.” Notice you haven’t defined every piece you make, however the listener has a feeling about your work.

An elevator speech isn’t something you can sit down and just whip up. As you develop your jewellery style, come back to this over and over. It will evolve along with your work. Here’s how to start working on your elevator speech. Every time you sit down and make work, jot down on a notepad the following:

  • 5 adjectives that describe your work
  • 5 words that your jewelry makes you feel

Like everything I recommend in running your business, remember to KISS: keep it simple, smart.

Again, let me ask you this, what do you sell?

Next week we’ll talk about the other important marketing tool you shall create – your tag line.


Jerry Smith said...

Good points - simply labelling what you do ("I am a jeweler")is one of the most common mistakes in a business elevator speech. Your solution is better and your point about understanding your market is key. Even more than that, it's about the issues that matter to them.

When you can include that in your elevator speech it can become very effective.

Claire said...

I've never heard the term "elevator speech'. I like the concept - I'm going to write one for me over the next couple for days. Thanks for sharing.