“Come on up and have a sniff.”
Last week I happened across an expert at the elevator speech. You can read lots of advice on how to prepare an elevator pitch. Plenty of people tell you how to practice, when to use it, how to stay prepared, how long it should be, etc, etc, etc.
I would like to take a minute and alert you to a place you can see a master at work. Last week I saw all of that advice heeded, and practiced, over and over. I was at the Mistletoe Market Place. But it could have been any flea market, farmers market or bazaar. Because the real pros at giving an elevator speech are the people that give it hundreds of times each day. And they give it to get results.
“It’s handmade goat milk soaps and skin care. I make everything from scratch, I even milk the goats by hand.”
The Business School at Pepperdine suggests knowing yourself and your audience as the first step in perfecting your speech. Answers to the following questions can help you knock your 30 second speech out of the park. Let me tell you how the owner of Wild Heaven Farm did it.
1. Who am I?
The farm stand atmosphere in the market did most of this job for her. She had ample signage and the product was displayed perfectly. The soaps and balms were arranged neatly where people could see them and get to them, after they worked their way through the large crowd. While her speech was practiced, it sounded fresh every time. I stood back while my wife inched her way toward the front of the line. I felt like I got to know the owner better each time she repeated her pitch.
2. What do I offer?
Obviously, the soaps were the main attraction. “Central Virginia’s only REAL handmade goat milk soaps” she would say. But you can buy soap anywhere. The pitch went on to make sure I was clear on the difference.
3. What problem is solved?
“Adding milk to soap alters its pH level, which helps to maintain the pH of healthy skin. It is also uniquely compatible with human skin.” It was clear that the soap was gentle, cleaned well and helped skin stay healthy naturally. I understood the product right away.
4. What are the main contributions I can make?
Normally, the person giving the elevator pitch has one person as an audience. In the market atmosphere, you have several at once. And 30 seconds from now, you have another group ready to hear from you. The owner picked out the people near the front of the line and spoke to the products they looked at. For each product, she had a detailed snippet of information and could relate how it would help that particular customer. She clearly understood her product and how it would make a contribution to their well being.
5. What should the listener do as a result of hearing this?
Each potential customer was asked to sniff or try the fresh squeezed product. The products really sell themselves once they are sampled. The call to action started each visitor down the path toward a purchase.
I spoke to the owner as my wife began collecting soaps, butters and balms. She said she needed to say her pitch so often that the booth owner next door could take over if she had to step away. She approached her business seriously, but with a light touch and a happy attitude. I could have stayed there longer, just hearing her use her elevator pitch to turn visitors into customers. She was a master and I learned a lot just in the 10 minutes I spent with her. And I think everybody could benefit if they can learn from somebody as effective as the owner of Wild Heaven Farm.
I encourage you to do the same. Spend some time with a master, ask a question or two and keep your ears open. I ended up spending $40 dollars on real Virginia Goat Soap. It was the best class I ever took.