Imagine how you’d feel if your elevator pitch (your self-introduction) expressed exactly what you want potential clients to know about how you help them.
Would you feel more confident? On fire? Yes!
The reality is, once you polish your pitch into your own authentic message, you can connect with the right potential clients. After all, live events–either in-person or on video chats–gobble up your valuable time. So, you want to develop the best connections possible out of each one, don’t you?
At jammed networking events, you have slender seconds to capture the attention of potential customers, clients, and strategic partners. It’s even more crucial to polish your pitch and be captivating when you introduce yourself during online, virtual networking meetings via Zoom or other platform.
Tomorrow, when they open their stack of cards collected at the event (or review their notes from the virtual gathering) how can you become memorable to the right people? Here’s one way: create a self-intro pitch that clearly explains who you are, who you serve, and what your business does. And, using your distinctive voice.
That way, during events you avoid wasting time chatting with the wrong folks. Instead, you can move on to engage with other potential clients. You know, the ones who need and want your services. Not only that, during virtual events, you’ll know who you want to follow up with later.
I’ve got your back. In this post, I’m sharing tips, templates, and examples of what makes a good self-introduction and pitfalls to avoid. That way, you can polish your pitch, practice it, and begin making valuable connections.
The purpose of an elevator pitch is to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you’re with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over.
– Seth Godin
As the legendary musical duo, Simon and Garfunkel, told us long ago, “There Must Be 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”.
For our purposes, while there may be 100 ways to craft an elevator pitch, here’s our definition:
An elevator pitch is how you introduce yourself at business and networking events. Your elevator pitch is how you answer when someone asks, “What do you do?”
Think of it this way, your elevator pitch isn’t simply stating your title. Rather, it’s how you make a compelling first impression. You want to be memorable to future clients or customers, right?
Your elevator pitch is designed to:
- Be no more than 30 to 60 seconds long
- Communicate your brief, attention-grabbing introduction
- Inspire the right potential clients, customers, or students to say, “Tell me more!”
Let’s dive into how to polish your elevator pitch into a sparkling diamond, shall we?
7 Templates + examples to polish your elevator pitch
Template #01. Grab their attention
To begin strong, start your pitch with a well-known industry fact that grabs attention and builds rapport. Like a common problem in your field that everyone’s familiar with.
Template: You know how [specific pain point]? Well, I [benefit]
You know how hospitals struggle to keep down operating costs? Well, I use my 17-years of operations management experience to help organizations like yours reduce costs.
Template #02. Spark curiosity
You can spark curiosity in your pitch by saying that you solve a big, widely known problem. After all, you started your business to help clients fix long-standing problems that you’re an expert at solving, right?
Try this, ask a question explaining how you solve an industry problem. Or, how you can help them eliminate this problem.
Template: Did you know [problem]? I help [how you solve this problem].
Did you know that most medical practices lose up to 17% of their patient revenue each year due to lack of sending annual checkup reminders? I help medical firms like yours avoid these revenue losses by implementing my patient support app.
Template #03. Identify three of these in your pitch
The Champ Group. She shows you how to highlight three different problems that your ideal clients struggle with.My friend, Michelle Beauchamp is the owner of
You can connect with her on LinkedIn, here.
Beauchamp explains that people buy mainly to eliminate their pain points, so she trains people to create their elevator speeches addressing the problems they help people eliminate. She highly recommends including three pain points in your pitch. If you only acknowledge one, and they can’t relate, they no longer see value in how your company can help them. When you list three, at least one will resonate.
Template: Attention-getter addressing three pain points + Explanation with features and benefits + Check in + Hook.
People work with us because they’re tired of wasting time creating proposals and having the prospects disappear once the prospect received their recommendations with details on strategy and pricing.
They’re frustrated that their pipeline is drying up because they haven’t asked for, or received, referrals or recommendations; or they’re flustered due to a lack of priority identification, and they spend their time on activities that will not deliver the results they need.
We teach them how to only work with real prospects, how to ask for referrals, explain how to stop doing busy work, and replace it by doing what creates the biggest return while delegating the rest.
Template #04. Be clear about these two points
You want your pitch to accomplish two key jobs:
- Engage your dream clients, customers, or students–so they’ll say to you, “Tell me more!”
- Gently repel non-ideal people–so they don’t waste your time
As an example, a web designer who works with fast growing businesses introduces herself this way:
Template: I (the service you provide) for (qualifier for who you specifically serve).
I design custom, high-converting websites for growth-minded, ecommerce entrepreneurs.
Our web designer makes it clear that she’s not the expert to come to for a budget website.
Template #05. Lead with this
Elevator pitches that start like this, “I’m a speaker and author” make me crazy. Yawn. Don’t do this! You have tons of other options. Instead, start with who you serve, how you help them, and the benefits your business brings to your ideal clients.
Template: I coach ________ (describe your client) to ________ (problem you help them solve) so they can _______(tangible or intangible benefit).
As a health coach, I teach women struggling with gut issues how to create nutritious meal plans so they can plan, prepare, and enjoy family meals without the stress.
I’m a virtual assistant who helps creative women entrepreneurs take back their time freedom and conquer resistance at work by delegating the work that’s outside their zone of genius.”– Kate, theefficientcreative.com
Here’s an example from Harvard Business Review that shows you how to use the same template, and then finish with the curiosity statement.
According to Tim Rice, this is where you pretend to answer the “what do you do?” question.
He explains further, “However, your answer will only want to make them ask another question.” He uses the same template as above, and adds a good curiosity statement:
Template: I help/teach ________ (ideal client) to ________ (feature) so they can _______(benefit).
Example: I teach managers the secrets of true connection in a way that gets immediate results.
This is so much more powerful than “I’m a speaker and author”, isn’t it?
Also, as Rice explains, the intriguing vagueness of “secrets” and “results” almost force them to ask some kind of follow-up question. The hard work is done. Now that rapport and curiosity have been built up, you can deliver your true elevator pitch and make it almost as long as you want.
Two Powerful Pitch Elements
Template #06. Don’t forget to add this element, when appropriate
Including a call to action at the end of your pitch is an excellent way to make your self-introduction memorable to your dream clients, customers, or students. This pitch element works best if the audience is likely to include your ideal clients.
If you’re a guest on a podcast or you’re doing a self-intro at an in-person or virtual networking event, you can give the link to your website where folks who are interested can download your valuable, educational, lead magnet. And they can opt in to your email list at the same time!
In this case your pitch may sound like this:
“I teach busy working moms how to make meal prep simple and easy with healthy recipes kids will love. You can grab a free copy of my wildly popular meal plan at my website, yourname.com/mealplan.”
Make your website easy to remember, such as yourname.com/mealplan. That way, if your dream customer is listening to a podcast you were on while driving or walking the dog, she can easily recall how to locate your website, download your freebie, and join your list. That’s a win-win, isn’t it?
Template #07. You can never go wrong with this tried-and-true approach
They say, facts tell, stories sell.
Once you’re ready to enhance your pitch, tell a story about what your business does and a bit of how you do it. This elevator pitch from Katerina Lake, founder of hugely successful startup, StitchFix, is a fab model you can learn from.
“What we’re trying to do is take this element of personal shopping that used to be available to a very high-end customer–someone who knows you really well, makes selections on our behalf, and has you try things on–and we make that accessible.
At Stitch Fix, you let us know a little bit about yourself and we will have stylists, with the help of some tools, send things directly to your home.
It’s like Netflix just starts rolling exactly what you want to watch, or you go into a restaurant and, without a menu, it just brings you food.
What people really want is jeans that fit, or a shirt that looks good, or a dress to wear at a wedding. The part of the shopping experience they don’t want is sifting through millions of things you can filter through and sort online. We use experts and data science combined to take the burden of discovery out of the consumer’s hands and to deliver to them what they really want–clothes that make them feel their best.
Source: Inc. Magazine
Pitch Pitfalls to Avoid
Overselling your products and services with overused words.
My least favorite adjectives that entrepreneurs use include these terms: life-changing, disruptive, or industry-leading. Do dump them.
Using bland terms.
Speaking of dumping yawn-inducing words, here are some words the experts say to strike from your LinkedIn profile.
And, let’s keep them out of your pitch, shall we? Exclude these bland terms; skilled, experienced, passionate, and focused.
Instead, use specific examples that demonstrate your skills and experience.
Instead of, “I’m a health coach passionate about helping working moms”.
I’m a health coach helping overwhelmed working moms to fit regular exercise sessions into their crammed schedules without sacrificing family time.
Using insider jargon.
Unless you’re an expert who serves other highly-trained expert clients, resist using insider terms and acronyms.
If you’re a rocket scientist who teaches other rocket scientists, it’s fine to use jargon.
However, for the rest of us, your new networking acquaintance stops listening to you if she doesn’t understand terms you use.
Promise you’ll never say this…
Please, no matter how accomplished and experienced you are, do not sound like a fast food menu when you’re introducing yourself.
Never say, “I’m an accountant and I do tax returns, compliance, strategy, and tax planning.”
Your alternative, “I’m an accountant who helps biotech CEOs manage expenses and payroll so they can leave their offices in time to attend their kid’s soccer games.”
When someone asks what you do, never say this, “Well, I do a lot of things…”
Giving unnecessary details.
Your self-introduction is not your bio, your resume, or your website ‘About’ page. Be brief and to the point. Make every word you use in your pitch count!
Going on too long.
Keep in mind, an elevator pitch is 30 to 60 seconds. That’s all. An elevator pitch is not your life story. And that, my dear entrepreneur, is why you want to be intentional about crafting your self-intro.
Your next steps to polish your elevator pitch
As you begin to re-examine your pitch, envision how powerful you’ll feel once you’ve re-worked it.
After all, networking presents tons of opportunities to connect with your peers, start client relationships, generate leads, and forge profitable business partnerships.
Yet, sometimes it’s hard to stand out to those you most want to connect with. Fortunately, you have the power to craft your all-important elevator pitch! Then, you can make the lasting first impression you want to make.
After you’ve mastered your pitch, you’ll feel excited about attending networking events because you’ll make excellent use of your time. Now, do this:
- Choose one or two of the above templates that feel authentic to you.
- Write several sentences to plug into your new pitch template.
- Practice saying them out loud.
- Then, test your favorites with your friends. Ask for feedback.
- Next, try them out at events.
See what works, revise and polish your pitch until your friends say, “Sounds great!”
You’ll likely need a couple of different pitches, depending on the groups you attend. For example, one for events with potential clients. Also, a pitch that’s ideal for sharing who’s a good referral for you, at events with industry peers.
Now take your shiny, newly polished elevator pitch and speak from your heart when someone asks, “What does your business do?’
Want more help finding your ideal clients?
As you can see, these elevator pitch examples give you some tips about how to strengthen your client-generating skills. If you’re looking for simple, step-by-step lessons about creating marketing content that brings in your dream clients, you’ll enjoy my book: She Markets, A Guide for Women Entrepreneurs.
It provides deep detail, how-to exercises, easy-to-follow templates, cheat sheets, and more. You can find it here on Amazon.
I am so excited for you!
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