Last updated: 03:00 PM ET, Thu August 06 2015

Opinion Home | Your Full Potential, Reached. Be NEX!

  • Kim Sherrett | August 6, 2015 3:00 PM ET

    When Seconds Count: Mastering Your Elevator Pitch to Make an Impact

    When Seconds Count: Mastering Your Elevator Pitch to Make an Impact

    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock.

    You’re at a local Chamber of Commerce breakfast, and someone walks up and asks what you do for a living. How do you respond?

    You’re in the check-out line at the grocery store and notice the person behind you looking at the magazine covers. How do you engage in a quick conversation about the 10 best beaches to visit?

    You’ve been asked to give a speech about travel tips during a local AARP chapter meeting. Are you prepared to wow the audience?

    Experts say you have 30 to 60 seconds to make a lasting first impression, and one of the critical components to promoting your business and gaining new clients is by having an engaging elevator pitch.

    So, what exactly is an elevator pitch? Quite simply, it is an explanation, in less than a minute, of your business model and how your business is unique. It serves as a verbal business card with a brief introduction to you and your business. It is a very important networking tool that allows you to break down barriers with the intent of engaging your audience in future conversations.

    Use it as a conversation starter at networking events, to make a connection during unplanned face-to-face encounters or as an opening when presenting to other professionals. Everyone should have an elevator pitch – it will help grow your business with prospective clients. 

    4 Steps to Create an Effective Elevator Pitch

    Your goal and end result should be to give a clear, concise message, so anyone will understand exactly who you are, what you do and why you are unique and different.

    Step 1:  Determine what your elevator pitch should address. Make a list, and sell the value of you! Use bullet point statements to show your expertise, personality and principles. Ask yourself these questions: 

    • What is the concept behind your business?

    • What is your specialty or niche?

    • How are you different from the competition?

    Step 2:  Write down specifics, steering away from industry jargon.

    • [Name of your company] provides [name your products or services] for [describe the specific segment of the market you will serve] who [describe the problem this solves for them].

    • Include one sentence that tells why this business is needed and by whom.

    • Make a statement about the size and/or growth trend of the industry.

    • Write a sentence or two, no more, to address your qualifications to run the business. (What makes you different and why should they listen to you?)

    Step 3:  Review and practice your elevator pitch with others. Ask them to be objective. Do they understand what your message is? Continue to tweak your pitch until it becomes second nature. Record yourself on your phone to listen to yourself, and also record yourself on video with your phone to review your pitch. A picture is worth a thousand words!

    Step 4:  Ask for business. If you’re in a one-on-one or small group situation, ask whether they or someone they know would be interested in learning more or receiving a follow-up communication. Then, ask for their business card, and give them yours. “Would you like my expertise and skillset to plan your next vacation experience? I am here to save you time and money, and make your dreams come true!

    Remember, your ultimate goal is to know your pitch so well that you’re able to customize it on the fly to fit the audience and not sound as if you’re reciting. By doing so effectively, you’re sure to gain new clients and see your sales soar!

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Kim Sherrett Your Full Potential, Reached. Be NEX!

Kim Sherrett Kim Sherrett, CTC, MCC, is a director of business development and education for Nexion. As part of the business development and education team, Sherrett is responsible for creating and facilitating diverse educational offerings, events and programs in order to enhance the business development needs of Nexion’s 3,500 agents. She also works closely with supplier partners such as and CLIA and in promoting and educating our members on all the marketing tools available to them through Nexion. Sherrett has worked for Nexion since 2011 and has been in travel since 1997, including many years working for host agencies and as a hosted corporate and leisure agent in various roles, including acquisitions and recruitment, business development, marketing, training, supplier relations and event coordination. Sherrett has been a strong supporter of industry education and serves as a member of several industry advisory boards.
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