So you clean houses. Is that all you have to say to a potential customer you run into on an elevator? Make sure it isn’t. Craft and practice a short story, called an “elevator pitch”, which is under a minute in length and which convinces the person hearing it that your cleaning service is the one they should choose. When someone asks “What do you do?”, you better be ready to hit them with all you’ve got. You don’t say, “I clean houses”. If you did, you’d fade into the dozens of other similar services and lost potential business.
Start By Doing This
Answer the following four questions, spending less than two sentences on each answer.
1. What service do you offer?
2. What are the problems that you solve?
3. What makes you different?
4. Why does anyone care?
Your answers, if you can manage to keep them to-the-point and brief, will form a condensed story – one that the listener will remember.
Here’s a possible pitch that could come from somebody beginning a house cleaning service. This pitch contains the answers to the four questions above.
One Possible Pitch
“I’m the founder of Organic Interior Detail, an earth-conscious maid service which deep cleans your home while being conscious of the life inside it. Other maid services ask you to prepare your home beforehand, to keep an eye on belongings to prevent theft, and that you stay at home for the duration of the cleaning. We don’t require preparation, and we’re completely bonded. You’ll love our cleaners, and you’ll have to same ones every time. We build real relationships with our customers. We use non-toxic chemicals, and dote on your plants, children, and pets. Our cleaners all come from backgrounds of horticulture and child care. This makes for a housekeeping service that performs upkeep on multiple levels – not just for your things, but for the living things inside the home.”
The first sentence needs to be a publishable headline under 25 words in length. The headline itself should leave no questions about what it is that you do. Most small business owners have trouble making product descriptions which are succinct, catchy, unique, and easy to remember. Read the first sentence of your pitch and make sure it’s headline worthy. If it’s hard for you to get into one sentence what it is you do, you’ve got some rethinking ahead of you.
Keeping it Short Pays Off
Ideally, the 60 seconds of attention you can expect from an average listener won’t be filled with just a pitch. If you can get it shorter, you can give them a moment to absorb on reflect on the information you’ve delivered. At that point, you should be ready to deliver an anecdote or illustrative example which adds color to your story by providing history. People love stories. Especially funny ones.
Grab their attention, and keep hold of it. Have tried and true means of doing this within the first 60 seconds of talking with someone, and that person will want to hear you tell them more.