Tips for cultivating the perfect 20-second (Elevator) speech:
Be natural. This is not a test. Be personable and be yourself. If not engaged by someone sharing the ride, you start a conversation.
Be succinct. Describe your company’s value proposition in simple terms; avoid jargon at all costs. “We offer seamless back-up and recovery data storage solutions to Fortune 500 clients.”
Look for a differentiator. Ask a direct question. “Are you currently working with a cloud data storage company?”
Don’t disparage. If the other person shares the name of their current provider, don’t comment negatively about your competitor. Keep the conversation positive.
Don’t ask for business, solve a problem instead. Listen carefully for a particular issue or pain point. “Wouldn’t it be great if your employees didn’t have to rely on IT for access to critical data when working remotely?” Remember you’re looking for common ground, not trying to seal the deal. You want to start a professional relationship with a potential client. If you uncover a particular pain point, address it. Above all else, avoid sounding scripted.
If things go well, by the time you reach the 10th floor you will be exchanging business cards or Linkedin.com connections.
It’s a process, and it all starts with that first encounter.