Branding Yourself: How to Create a Great Elevator Pitch

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Can you tell a stranger what you do within 30 seconds in a concise, succinct and interesting way? Are you able to differentiate yourself from all of your competitors in only a few sentences? When you meet someone new, do they hear what you do and say WOW!!! Does your website, brochure and business card draw interest and attention to you? If not, you need a great elevator pitch – a verbal and possibly written calling card lasting only the length of time it takes to ride an elevator to the top of an average building, about 30 seconds. A good elevator pitch will differentiate you from your competition. It will help develop referrals because your clients will tell their friends exactly who you are and what you do. If you don’t define yourself first, others will do it for you. It is tempting to be a generalist: everything to everybody. But the result is becoming a commodity.

It is the job of your prospect to decrease your expertise. That way they can cheapen and drive down your value. For example, “You should go see my financial advisor. He is really good. Why? I don’t know, I just like him.” That doesn’t give them any reason to change from their advisor to you. But if you say, “My financial advisor is brilliant. He keeps in contact me every three months and gets above-market returns with below-market risk.” Now that is a reason to book an appointment. It’s your job to appear an expert and gain their interest and later respect.

Recently after a tennis match, one of my buddies, “Hollywood,” was asked by a club member what he did for a living. Hollywood said he was a financial advisor and went back to his beer. He completely lost any opportunity to gain a client. Anyone who asks what you do or asks you to explain something related is asking your advice. If you are successful, you may also gain an appointment.

Five steps to successfully tell others what you do and generate interest

  1. Label yourself in three sentences or less.
  2. Articulate three benefits you deliver to your clients.
  3. Tell a story using those three benefits.
  4. Probe for needs.

Here is a possible elevator speech using all three steps.

I am a financial advisor specializing in helping my clients make their money last as long as they do during retirement. (One of my coaching clients calls himself a “disaster recovery specialist.” He helps people recover from financial meltdowns and bad investment advice.)

2- Articulate three benefits

I do three things for my clients:

1. Get above market returns with below market risk.

2. Make sure they never run out of money during retirement.

3. Promise to keep in contact every three months and keep them informed

One of my recent clients came to me worried about running out of money during retirement. She was a new grandmother and terrified at the prospect of being unable to travel and see her kids and grandkids at least every three months. I looked at her portfolio and noticed that she was paying high fees with volatility that was keeping her up at night. We decreased her fees and put her into investments that were not only safer, but also helped her see her grandkids every three months.

Tell me, when is the last time you took a hard look at your portfolio? Do you know what you are paying in fees? Do you know for a fact you will hit your retirement goals? (Research has shown if you can uncover one need, there is a 35% chance of booking an appointment; two needs, 56%; and three or more needs, you have greater than a 90% chance.)

(Assuming that you have uncovered some needs.)

If I could help you decrease your fees and hit your retirement goals, would that be a benefit?

(If they say yes, book an appointment.)

I am a best-selling author and speaker. I have written nine books, including three best sellers. Some of those are Mastering the Game, Peak Performance: How to increase your business by 80% in 8 weeks and my newest book, Why Smart People Make Dumb Mistakes with Their Money. I also have an executive coaching company that produces an 80% increase in business in eight weeks through one-on-one coaching.

In fact, one of my clients, a financial advisor from Omaha, Nebraska, recently increased his revenue from $200K to $1.2 million in only one year. We put together a business plan, helped him increase his ability to gain referrals and dramatically increased his closing rate. Tell me, how much has your business increased over the last twelve months? If we could help you get an 80% increase this year, would that help? Can we meet next week about your goals?

An elevator pitch will build your confidence and book appointments from networking. It will also drive more referrals to you. If your elevator pitch doesn’t cause people to say, “WOW, I need that,” you’re not doing it right.

Kerry Johnson, MBA, Ph.D. is a best-selling author and frequent speaker at financial planning and insurance conferences around the world. Peak Performance Coaching (his one on one coaching program) promises to increase your business by 80% in 8 weeks. Click here and take a free evaluation test. Or call 714-368-3650 for more information.