I was at an engineering and construction networking event recently and was struck by how many people struggled to answer this question, “What do you do?”
Perhaps the slow return to pre-pandemic business as usual has caused us to forget one of the most powerful ways to make a memorable impression: the elevator speech.
The elevator speech or pitch is a memorable, concise statement designed to convey information in a simple and memorable way. Think of it like the lead paragraph in a news or magazine article. It engages the reader, piques their interest, and they continue reading.
If you are an engineer or construction professional, chances are you have, or should have an elevator speech. If you are soliciting new business for your company, or looking for a new job for yourself, your elevator pitch will help you position yourself in the minds of those who can help you meet your goals.
Your elevator speech should be about 20-30 seconds, the time it takes to ride the elevator to the first floor. Creating one that gets the job done requires a little planning and practice. If your are an engineer or contractor, you are accustomed to planning and scheduling your work. Think of crafting your elevator pitch the same way. Here is a little prep work you can do to develop your unique elevator speech.
Identify Your Customer’s Problem
The easiest way to engage a listener is with story. Think of your elevator pitch as a micro-story in which the customer is the hero. Identify a customer problem that you know how to solve. For example, “Most engineering and construction companies waste millions of dollars each year on marketing and sales activities that don’t grow the business.” When I speak like this, clients can relate.
- Be brief, be specific, introduce a pain point that they can easily identify with.
Describe a Plan to Help Them
Now that you have established some common ground, describe your plan to resolve the problem. This is your differentiator. For example, “Most engineering and construction companies waste millions of dollars each year on marketing and sales activities that don’t grow the business. So, we help them simplify their process and lower their costs.”
- Make it feel like a new idea; make it simple to understand; be brief.
Describe a Successful Outcome to the Story
This is the happy ending that your customer gets. The end result for your customer, the value you deliver. It’s not the designs, reports, and dashboards. It’s the on-time, under budget, no safety incidents. Example, “Most engineering companies waste millions of dollars on failed marketing and sales initiatives. We help them simplify their process and reduce costs so their business can grow.”
- Make it their happy ending, make it something they want, and keep it brief.
Once you get this down to a simple and compelling statement, you have to repeat it to the masses hundreds of times until they actually hear it. You can do a lot with this one-liner.
- Memorize it and repeat it over and over again
- Teach it to your entire team. Make sure they know it and use it.
- Use it in your speeches, town halls, and presentations
- Use it in as much marketing collateral as possible.
Like anything new and different, this feel awkward at first. Consistency is the key. Overtime, you will see how this pays dividends. When you meet someone for the first time and they say, “I have heard of you guys” you will know that your consistent message has been heard.
If you need help creating your elevator pitch, let’s talk. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation.