Elevator Pitch

July 28, 2010

Since I won the PSA Holland “Elevator Pitch” contest, I am receiving a lot of questions about tips for a great Elevator Pitch. Some called it an Elevator Story, Sticky Story or Pushy Pitch.

So, here are some tips of how I sometimes start the conversation:

1. When people ask me where I am from:

I am from the land of Chocolate and I live in the city of Diamonds.

Then I wait a couple of seconds while they are thinking. Most people get it right and start smiling, especially women πŸ™‚

Oh, for those who don’t know : Antwerp, Belgium

OK, I admit, sometimes they say Switzerland as well, but the diamonds are pretty convincing…

Anyway, what I am saying is : start with something different, original or funny. If you can make people smile and/or teasing them with the first thing(s) you say, you are already halfway!

When I was in New Zealand, I often told people I am from “Old Zealand”. Then I saw them thinking again and so I grabbed their attention…

So, what can you do with your location? Have fun!

2. When people ask me what I do:

I make people happy!

The first thing people do is either smile, show interest and ask me how, because they could use some happiness…or they just want to know more details. Their attention becomes interest! That’s exactly where I want them to be.

I am hacking away frustrations in people’s lives…I am a lifehacker

When I use this sentence, I also make a gesture of really hacking away stuff from their shoulders or backs. Some people are rather visually oriented and it helps them. Most people have never heard of the word “lifehacker” and find it ‘creative’ or ‘refreshing’. Of course, some think about negative stuff when they hear ‘hacker’ and they do ask. So the next bit positions it well:

Most people are looking for the easy way or the shortcuts, right? That’s exactly what I do : Genius Shortcuts! Examples are learning people how to write a 100 mails in 1 hour or if you are looking for a perfect picture in your presentation : how to scan 200 images in less than 20 seconds? You see, challenging stuff at first, but by using Genius Shortcuts you’ll see how easy it really is.

I share my Genius Shortcuts through keynotes, workshops and coaching.

Now it is time to really explain what it is that I do. I start with bringing in my own flavour of lifehacking (and for those negative people moving away from that negative feeling): Genius Shortcuts. Since I already gave them several pieces of info that might be new to them I share examples immediately after. It makes it more tangible. Now they get a clear understanding what it is that I do. Of course, I adapt the examples to their context!

I also advise you to give at least 2 examples, just in case 1 is not relevant for them (exceptions do exist πŸ™‚ ).

Finally, I tell them how I add value and how I share it…through keynotes, etc. Now they know how they can hire me, right?

So, what exactly is it that you do?

3. Satisfy their needs

Isn’t it frustrating for a xyz (fill in their occupation) like you to loose so much time on abc (an activity they find frustrating)?

Think about one of your big frustrations that consumes a lot of your energy. Now, how would you feel if you got rid of it?

Imagine how it would feel if you have 2 hours extra every day?

These are just example sentences, which I am using depending on how well I already know the other person(s). Now, I get them thinking and feeling how it would be when they hire me. Definitely fueling their desire and showing them that I can deliver (or really hack away their frustrations). Yes, one of my signature workshops guarantees that I save people 2 hours/day! Yes, I do have references πŸ™‚

Which needs do you satisfy? Use them in your Elevator Pitch!

4. Call to action

Hold on to that feeling and …

any sales person can tell you that this is important. Ever wondered why you have to sit in a car when they sell it to you? Or why they give you the product in your hand while they sell it? Exactly, so you can experience how it really feels…how real it all is. I do the same. If people feel how it would be without this particular frustration, how their lives would look like, they will get in a good (great?) mood. that’s exactly where I want them, right?

come and talk to me afterwards and I’ll share some free Genius Shortcuts with you, so you can actually be happier!

when I am on stage giving my Elevator Pitch. People who got triggered come and see me afterwards. Sometimes the response is a bit overwhelming πŸ™‚

enroll for my free ecourse at my website and start enjoying some free Genius Shortcuts, so you can actually be happier!

If it is in a 1-to-1 conversation, I am handing out my businesscard and show them where my website is. By giving away added value to them, I am already solving some of their frustrations. And a lot of people actually sign up for this free ecourse…

If there is more time I could invite them to read my blog, where I have written a number of articles on lifehacks and Genius Shortcuts. Or I even tell them about open workshops. Occasionally ( I am not a hardseller) I might ask them if they would be interested in an inhouse training or keynote and what the next steps would look like.

You probably get it by now. My Elevator Pitch has different moments where the other person can/will be triggered and will ask for more details. The more they ask, the more I can give. I am convinced it is also paramount to give them some added value right away. This means that in most cases I will share one (or more) of my Genius Shortcuts on the spot (or when they come and see me afterwards).

Note: Most (marketing/sales)people are familiar with the AIDA-model (no, not the Opera πŸ™‚ ) and will have recognized it. In step 1 I aroused Attention. In step 2 I really got their Interest. During step 3 I give enough info to go to their Desire and finally in step 4, if they really want a taste of Genius Shortcuts, they are called for Action. Needless to say that it often works like a charm. I invite you to develop your own story! And share it with us…

Final tip: Avoid too many technical terms! People will not understand you or it might take you too much time to explain it. Search for easy-to-understand synonyms.

And the Winner is…

March 22, 2010

Did you ever had that moment where you are sitting in a room full of people and some contest was going on? Then suddenly the crowd’s attention goes up and the speaker on stage says: “And the Winner is…” a couple of seconds filled with extra silence…and then your name pops up! What? Was that my name? Sure? People start to look your way and spots find a way to you. You get up and slowly move towards the stage. Almost there, you realize this is actually happening! And you start to smile πŸ™‚

This is exactly what happened to me a couple of days ago! Where was I and what was going on? Let me start from the beginning. As you know, I am a public speaker and share my message regularly on stage. Several friends asked me if I would join the Professional Speakers Assiociation (PSA). I am already a member of so many organisations that I intended to decline. People from all over the world suggested me to do that, some insisting more than others πŸ™‚ So, finally, last tuesday, I decided to join PSA Holland, the Dutch chapter (no Belgian yet!) of the Global Speakers Federation (GSF). One of the goals that I made that day was to be on stage for them on their next convention (honestly I was thinking of 2011!). And I enrolled for the PSA Holland 2010 Convention immediately afterwards. This convention took place last weekend.

So, upon arriving, I registered and started to network a bit. Jan Vermeiren was also present and he introduced me to some of the people he knew. One of them was Christine Morlet, negociation expert and organizer of the “Elevator Pitch”-challenge. She asked if I where interested in joining a game and of course I said yes, actually not sure what I said yes too πŸ™‚ Anyway, she explaines that at this PSA convention they are holding an “Elevator Pitch”-contest. The only thing I need to do, is present myself on stage in less than 120 words and less than 2 minutes. Most participants enrolled for it before the event and some backed off and so she was a couple of contestants short. So, I volunteered. Was that smart? I’ll answer that later on…

I presented my “Elevator Pitch” and was already satisfied that I got the visibility, let alone the feedback from the jury. It was well organized and they had a life voting-system (Sendsteps for more info). Because I was sitting behind the camera-man, I wasn’t really paying much attention to the scoreboard. But you know what happened next, right? Exactly! Before I knew it, I was on my way to the stage and jumped right on it! With a big smile, because I had won! And the Winner is Bert Verdonck with 52% of the votes (Can you believe it?)! Yes, the first price is a relax weekend in the Provence (France), thanks for asking πŸ™‚

What just happened here?

Let me share you my personal “Elevator Pitch” according to the above rules and share some of the feedback that I got, from the jury and other participants.

“Most professional speakers are always looking for an audience, right? How fast can you be on stage before your target audience? We all want a shortcut! As the newest PSA Holland member, I did it in less than 3 days to be here in front of you! That is exactly what I do. Shortcuts! With Genius Shortcuts I teach you practical tools and tips to save you 2 hours/day or hack away other frustrations. I am a lifehacker and I help people through keynote speaking, trainings and workshops. So, think about how you would feel if one of your biggest frustrations disappeared forever? Come and see me afterwards and I will share free Genius Shortcuts so you can feel happier!”

Some of the feedback that I received:

  • Relaxed, great & pleasant voice, to the point, looked at the audience and the jury, great timing, radiant, great connection with the audience, fully present on stage, you walk your talk: you speak easy & simple, very good pitch, clear message from the start, well developed pitch, great impact, engaging, surprising opener, good pause and excellent posture.
  • Points to improve: wear your jacket (I forgot to put it on before walking on stage!), take more time (I only used 1 min instead of 2, so more room for extra details), not always clear what it really is about (lifehacking?), start smiling before you get on stage, explain better, give more examples, can be more confident, a bit too vague andΒ explain more who your target audience is.

I am really thankful for all the feedback that I got and I am looking forward to sharpen this elevator story even more.

Why do I tell you all this? So you know how important it is to know your own Elevator Pitch. And to look for your Genius Shortcuts to find an audience or clients faster. Of course, it is also proof that you don’t have to be a longtime member to get the necessary visibility. Finally, it is important to receive feedback from other professionals, so that you improve. If no one ever tells you what you could do to improve, you don’t move forward, let alone become better at what you do…

Get Shorty

August 20, 2009

Inspired by Jay Bear‘s article on “Get Shorty – The Elevator Pitch is Dead“, I set myself a challenge in creating a 120-character pitch for my business.

Yes, 120 characters, because this allows for re-tweets (RT), in case people ask what it is I do.

So, here we go:

“Saving professionals 2 hours/day with Genius Shortcuts through invigorating speeches, training & coaching.Social Media 2”

“Inspirational coaching, training & speeches 2 free up 2 hours/day for professionals using my Genius Shortcuts.Easy & Fun”

What do you think is the best one? Do they describe exactly what I do? Thanks for your feedback!

And what is your story? Send me your 120 characters, if you dare πŸ™‚