Updated: Jun 5, 2020
You have 30-60 seconds to SELL YOURSELF. GO...!
Does the term Elevator Pitch get your heart racing? Fill you with dread? If so, you are not alone. Defined as "a concise and persuasive sales pitch, "no wonder it makes us nervous. Do you know anyone who gets excited about performing their elevator pitch? (I can think of three people. Maybe.) Most of us are not comfortable selling ourselves. It makes us feel like a commodity, and the other person a buyer. It feels like we're performing, and that increases our ambivalence.
That said, it is helpful to have a short, succinct description of who you are, what you have to offer and what you're curious about so that other people can help you. As such, a re-frame of the Elevator Pitch is necessary. I like to re-frame the concept from an Elevator Pitch to a Positioning Statement. Contrary to a sales pitch, a Positioning Statement doesn't aim to convince. It's declarative and factual.
Your Positioning Statement should inform the listener about the following:
where you're at in your career,
what you have to offer,
and what you potentially want to do next.
Think of it like asking for directions. You need to share enough information about where you've come from and where you want to go so that (if possible) someone can help you.
Here's some general advice about preparing and sharing your Positioning Statement:
1) Consider what is relevant to the listener and choose your content accordingly.
2) Practice your statement out loud so you can deliver it naturally when asked.
3) Add humour or a dash of your personality. No one likes to feel they're listening to a pitch.
4) Define your audience. Be prepared to modify your statement based on who you are talking to and what your request is.
Positioning Statement Cheat Sheet
Step 1: Define your Audience
To whom are you talking? What is relevant to them in your story?
Step 2: For each question, choose one or two short answers
The Basics. Who are you?
Your Audience. To whom are you talking?
Present Location. What do you currently do? What have you done recently?
Destination. What are you curious about learning or doing next?
Request. How can this specific individual help you?
Step 3: Using the points above, draft your Positioning Statement. Keep it to one paragraph.
Step 4: Practice until you can share it naturally.
Below are some examples.
Audience: Clean Tech Policy Analysts
Request: Seeking industry information via email and phone calls
"Hi, I'm Ella. I recently returned to Toronto from Calgary, and I'm curious about talking with people who work in cleantech or energy conservation organizations. I want to contribute my skills in stakeholder relationship management, derived from working as a policy analyst, with my commitment to clean energy or energy conservation. I want to learn all I can about the field, and that led me to find you. Would you be open to a 15-minute phone call with me? I'm curious about how you got into this work, what you like about it and where you see growth in the industry. As a gesture of gratitude to everyone who takes their time to speak with me, I am donating to Greenpeace."
Audience: Prospective clients at the Zoomer Conference
Request: Sign up to his email list
"Hi, I'm Jacob. My real estate brokerage, Your Next Chapter, helps baby boomers sell their family home and downsize without confusion or grief so they can honour their memories and begin to make new ones. I've worked in the real estate industry for 15 years, and my favourite clients are people selling their long-time family home to downsize. I know these can be emotional decisions. These days, real estate transactions can feel so transactional. My clients tell me I'm like family. I'm with them every step of the way. I offer reliable guidance to downsizing baby boomers in my weekly email newsletter. Everyone who signs up today will be eligible to win a free interior design consultation! Sign up here: _______________"
Audience: Interview panel for project lead role at a consulting company
Request: Ensuring she gives the right amount of detail to the panel
"Jennifer, tell us your story."
"How long do you have? Just kidding. I'll keep it brief and let me know at the end if you want any more detail. I've always loved leading people through a process and setting up the systems to make processes more efficient. When I was a kid, I was always organizing the backyard activities for the neighbourhood crew. I'd set up the games, schedules, organize everyone into rotations and explain the rules. I'm currently the Senior Manager of Client Engagements at New Horizons, a marketing consulting firm. I lead a team of Engagement Managers and oversee project staffing, a budget of $3 million and the P&L for our channel. I'm also a certified Project Manager. What drew me here today is that I'm excited about the work you are doing to help your clients put in new billing systems. I think I can offer a lot of innovative strategies about how to maximize your project teams' performance. I'll pause for now on my story, but let me know if there's anything I mentioned that you want to know more about."
I hope this helps you craft your positioning statement. If you need help understanding what makes you unique or clarifying your destination, contact me to set up a complimentary discovery call.