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Insuring Interest In You With Your Elevator Speech

Experiencing the Sixteen Second Success When Meeting Strangers

By Craig Harrison

Last month SNAIFA members learned new ways of responding to that often asked question from strangers: “What do you do?” They each developed their Elevator Speech to not only tell strangers what they do, but do so in such a way that their listeners immediately understood what it can do for them.


The Elevator Speech — so named because it can be given in the average time we spend in an elevator with strangers — is an ideal ice-breaker when meeting strangers.  It can showcase your strengths, emphasize the benefits of the services we provide, and invite listeners to learn more.  It can also be delivered anywhere, preferably beyond the elevator.


Because Elevator Speeches are delivered conversationally, they are both fun and easy to deliver, and fun and easy to listen to. Rather than telling strangers “I’m in insurance” or “I’m a financial investment counselor” the opportunity exists to separate yourself from the rest of your competitors.  Your elevator speech allows your own personality to emerge. It’s your chance to set yourself apart from your competition, emphasizing why you, and not others in your field, are the right person to do business with.


Since our October meeting, attending members have developed their Elevator Speeches for marketing purposes.  Let’s look at a few:  Here’s one promoting SNAIFA:


“Do you find it a challenge to keep pace with all of the changes going on in the industry?  Do you feel it’s important to find ways to work more effectively?


“SNAIFA's monthly membership meetings provide you access to other professionals like you who have faced the same challenges and found effective solutions.


“The value of attending the meeting is each month is great: an opportunity to have a dialogue with other successful people, and walk away with ideas that will help you work to your fullest potential.


“I encourage you to make a commitment to yourself to invest in your personal growth.  You can achieve this by setting aside the 3rd Tuesday of each month   to attend the general membership meetings.  The meetings are hosted in Fairfield at Paradise Valley Golf Course from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM.”

    Deborah N. Coley


Deborah’s elevator speech immediately engages her listener. How? Through two pertinent questions which appeal to our listeners’ self interest.


After tantalizing us with a problem she immediately offers us the solution: SNAIFA.  She then bolsters this solution by relating benefits (as well as features) to attendees: solutions and new ideas. Then she tells us when and where to make our investment.  The touch of alliteration, “monthly membership meetings,” is pleasing to the ear and memorable.  Having met her I know she delivers her Elevator Speech while smiling and showing sincere interest in others, helping them feel good about themselves. Good eye contact is important.


My one suggestion: if she can hand them a business card with the address, time and date of the meetings, that will strengthen this newly formed bond even further, and take the pressure off the listener to remember this information.


Here’s an Elevator Speech that captures the listener’s attention with a provocative statement.


“My firm takes over where Walt Disney left off.  I’m Chal Daniels, and I will show you how to make your dreams come true.  What is something you have always dreamt of doing?  (Pauses and listens intently.)  I can help you make your wish come true. Here is my card, call me, I’d love to work with you.”

Chal Daniels


Chal’s is short and sweet. It’s a soft sell that involves the listener. Questions are important too. That’s how we gather information about our conversational partner. How can we help them well until we understand their situation.  Questions help us qualify them, and better understand their wants and needs. Elevator Speeches are also about listening.


Below is an Elevator Speech that extols two benefits:


“I work in the area of Money Management. I help people reduce their taxes, find good quality Money Managers who may increase their savings and investment returns.”

Whit Simpson, LUTCF


I might experiment with a different opening line, just to get the attention of my listener and help them remember me better. Perhaps I’ll smile when asked what I do, and say


“I manage dead presidents! I am a money manager who helps people reduce their taxes (and my hands are pushing downward as I say this), and increase their savings and investment returns (now my hands are palms up, raising up to my shoulders). How can I help you?”


Remember, your gestures and facial expressions should support your words for enhanced impact. By ending with a question I further extend the conversation.


“I'm the money man; I make sure the money keeps flowing when your income stops. (pause)  Somewhere along the line, for one reason or another, you will no longer be working. I put plans in place so that individuals and their families are prepared for that day; when it comes.

(another pause)

What are you doing to take care of the day when your income stops? (wait for response; Presenting my business card...)  May I call on you so that we can talk about this in more detail?”

Mark Eckhout

This elevator speech positions its teller as the solution to the problem of a drying up income stream. I might make a small tweak to combine two things Mark says, and put them together. They rhyme and that makes it more memorable.


“I'm the money man with a plan: I make sure the money keeps flowing when your income stops. (pause)  Somewhere along the line, for one reason or another, you will no longer be working. My plans insure that individuals and their families are prepared for that day; when it comes.

(another pause)  Let’s review your plan to make sure the money flows unabated.”


So congratulations to all who submitted their Elevator Speeches, including Deborah, our contest winner.  (Remember, her gain is yours as your membership grows.)  You’re pushing all the right buttons. Always remember to think in terms of service to others: how can you and your deliverables help them? Since that’s the question they are asking themselves you can answer it for them!


Keep honing yours. Mine comes out differently each time, and over time it changes.  That’s fine.  Emphasize your strengths and any unique selling propositions. And get feedback from friends and family.  I often call my answering machine and deliver mine just so I can hear it for myself to understand where I sound confident, and where I don’t.

Tao of Networking

Bypass Gatekeepers to close Decision-Makers

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To see additional Elevator Speeches click on www.ExpressionsofExcellence.com/sample_elevator.html.  Additional articles on this and related topics can be found at www.ExpressionsofExcellence.com/articles.html

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