How to Develop the Perfect Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is a concise statement that conveys what someone needs to know about your business — in the time it takes to ride up in an elevator. In others words, tell me why I should care in 30 seconds or less. In the professional arena, having an easy-to-understand elevator speech can accelerate the building of your business by years.

The most effective elevator speech and referral development caters to the wants, needs and tastes of the clients or customers you hope to attract. That means looking at what you offer from their point of view.

To put it bluntly: Potential clients or referrers couldn’t care less about you and your business (unless you can help meet their agenda). As a matter of fact, most of them don’t care about your educational background, professional experience or size of your business. They only care about you and your company in direct proportion to your ability to meet their wants, needs and tastes.

Your job is to make it easy for the people you want to attract to truly understand and appreciate your offering. The easiest way to do it is to break your perfect elevator speech down into simple-to-understand components defining who, what, how and why:

  • Who is your specific target market?
  • What are the most important aspects of your offering (from their perspective)?
  • How do you do it differently from everyone else?
  • What specific reason is there to engage you and your business?


Try this exercise: Pretend that you’re explaining what you do for your 11-year old nephew’s school project. No jargon or concepts — just simple talk. Then, increase the age level while keeping the simplicity. (Note: it’s much harder than it seems.)

After you develop the best elevator speech possible, you should test, test, and test in the marketplace. Once you have formalized your elevator speech, you can limit the variables and really tighten it up. When people start responding favorably, continue with the same message. You may grow tired of it, but keep in mind that future prospects and referring professionals are hearing it for the first time. Even with some repetition, your position gets reinforced in their minds. Stay consistent and reap the full harvest.

So…tell me what you do again?

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