advertisement
advertisement

3 ways you’re messing up your elevator pitch

A powerful elevator pitch can go a long way, but you might be making one of these common mistakes. Here’s what to do instead.

3 ways you’re messing up your elevator pitch
[Photo: Flickr user Gabriel Saldana]
advertisement
advertisement

“Hi! My name is Sara Anna Powers, and I help online business owners create magnetic messaging so they can attract quality leads and make consistent sales.” Not a bad elevator pitch, huh? It got me mentioned on a top-rated business podcast after I used it at a lunch with industry leaders.

advertisement
advertisement

Unfortunately, when we have just 10 seconds to explain what we do to a stranger, many of us choke. We shrug our shoulders, cast our eyes down, and mumble something extremely humble (and possibly inaudible) about what we spend most of our days doing. And that leads to a missed opportunity for a sale, referral, or future job.

As an online business mentor and messaging expert, I’ve written copy that’s helped my clients make millions of dollars. Words are powerful, and making a few simple tweaks to your elevator pitch can ensure that your 10 seconds don’t turn into a missed opportunity. If you’re struggling to generate leads despite spending all your time networking, you might be making one of the following mistakes.

Mistake No. 1: Your pitch is too vague

If your pitch includes phrases like “I help women” or “I serve people” without specifying what kind of women or which type of people you support, it’s not likely to land.

Instead of generic statements, use power adjectives for extra oomph. Changing “I help women” to “I help ambitious women negotiate an outstanding offer package at any new job” instantly adds a hit of clarity to your pitch. You’re calling out your dream client, and she’ll respond accordingly. Rather than saying “I serve people,” switch to “I serve motivated people who are ready to change careers” and notice how the clients you’ll start attracting are the ones who’ll actually do the work.

Mistake No. 2: You focus on who you are instead of how you can help your clients

One of the most glaring mistakes in the way many people craft their elevator pitch is that they focus on who they are instead of how they can help their clients. Remember that your potential client or customer only cares about you to the extent that you can help him achieve his goals. So, rather than talking about your advanced degrees or professional experience in your pitch, focus on sharing how your work will move your client toward the desired result.

Rather than listing your qualifications, use power verbs in your pitch. This helps prospects quickly grasp how hiring you can benefit them. Note the contrast between the compelling pitch “I propel ambitious women toward their goal of creating a profitable online business” and the lackluster “I’m an expert in helping people make money online.” The second phrase feels like an infomercial, but the first one states who you’re specifically going to help, and what you’re going to help them do. Try using power verbs such as “propel,” “create,” “jumpstart,” and “drive” in your next pitch to demonstrate your ability to get results for your clients.

advertisement

Mistake No. 3: Your pitch is too long

When meeting a new business contact, say what you need to say, and then stop talking. You don’t want to be that person that people wish would take an early cab home. You want to be the person who leaves the party with others longing to know more. One of the fastest ways to build solid working relationships is to become an expert listener, and you can’t do that if you’re droning on about your résumé and business accolades for five full minutes. The best elevator pitches are succinct. They share your name, who you help (with specificity, of course), how you help, and why that matters. You can do all of this in a simple sentence like “I’m Mary, and I help aspiring speakers land paid speaking gigs so they can share their powerful message while also earning a living.”

When you get specific on who you help, use power verbs to describe how you help them, and keep your pitch short and sweet, you’ll be in a better position to make a positive impact on new business contacts. Practice your elevator pitch until you can say it seamlessly. That way, the next time someone asks, “What do you do?” you’ll be ready to seize the opportunity.


Sara Anna Powers is an online business mentor and messaging expert.