“What Do You Do?”
It’s the worst question in the world. The question that has even the most confident of coaches and consultants squirming in their seat. The question that causes you to take a deep breath and put your brain in gear to explain the value you have to offer in the best possible way, so they get it and want to hire you.
And even though you know what an elevator pitch is and even though it’s a piece of cake explaining it to some people who already “gets” you and your work and walks in your circles, nothing prepares you for having to start from scratch and relate to a person, or an audience you don’t already know.
If you’re struggling with your message and explaining to people what you do so they can’t wait to work with you, then you’re not the only one.
Defining what you do is way more difficult than doing what you do. Delivering the value to your client is easy – but being able to describe to a complete stranger what you do and how you do it, so that they are sufficiently impressed to want to hire you – that’s a whole ‘nother ball game – and there are few things you need to get straight in your head before you can do it effectively.
Hang with me, and I’ll lay these out for you, so by the end of this post you’ll know exactly what you need to say to get more clients on your books straight away.
Take Your Prospect On A Journey
Starting from cold doesn’t work.
Yet, how do you explain what you do without sounding like everyone else? Of course you want to avoid canned responses and patter. Additionally there are only so many root problems you can address in your particular niche, right?
The question of how to attract customers and get them to understand the value you have to offer them (especially if you haven’t already got a formula that works) is no easy feat. But before you get into the HOW of capturing people’s attention and converting them into clients you need to have a few basics down. These basics will then make everything that comes later: website copy, emails, lead generation copy, the about me page – so much easier.
The reason you’re struggling at the moment with your elevator pitch is because you can’t say quite how you’re any different from everyone else.
Before someone buys from you, they need to know what you stand for and what you’re going to deliver. The trouble is, if you’re promising just the simple lukewarm message as everyone else you’re not going to get very far before they move on to the next shiny object.
Your message of what you can do needs to be red hot, and hit all their hot buttons and in order to do this it needs to speak to their pain: i.e. solving their problem. In order to know this though, you need to know WHO you want to work with.
The Root of The Problem with writing elevator pitches can be summarised in
- Not really knowing who you want to work with, and what their biggest pain is
- Not Knowing what makes you stand out from everyone else doing what you do
- Not really knowing how to demonstrate the value you have to offer your prospects.
Now let’s talk about how to fix this.
3 Things That Have People Lining Up To Pay
People need to know what you do, who you are and what value you have to offer them. The trouble is, you need to say this in a way that is relevant and credible… because all the while your prospect is asking “what’s in it for me?”.
These three things when done right hit the psychological triggers that switch people into wanting to work with you – before you even open your mouth.
1. Your Brand
This isn’t about your logo and font type. These are components of your brand, but not the brand in itself. Your brand is the tone you use, the way you explain things, the way you make your prospects feel and the messaging you use to tell someone what you need them to know. This presupposes you know who you want to work with, and how you want to relate to them.
As an example, let’s look at Mirasee: Danny is a business-savvy educator. He talks about “his students”, not his clients; he talks about “trainings” not presentations. He is also informal, and super-friendly.
This comes across in the tone of his emails, the way he invites people to join his classes and the way he describes what you need to do to build your business. You see, his brand seeps through everything he does, and it speaks directly to the people he wants to work with. It’s not about his logo, or colour of his business card… if he has one!
2. Your Core Client Process
Once you know who you want to work with and what pain you want to address, you need to have a framework that they can relate to so they can clearly see that you can solve their problem.
People LOVE to have a system to follow: do this, get that result. It absolves them of responsibility and gives them the confidence that you can get them where you need to be. Your core client process is the system that you use to show people where they need to go and also allows them to see how you work.
Wrapped in with this is being able to reveal a bit about who you are and your philosophies as this gives folks the comfort factor that they know how you work and they resonate with that method before they contact you.
Tied into both the core process and the brand you use is the theme. This is where you really separate yourself from the masses by giving people a memorable visual image about how you relate to their problem AND how you solve it.
Case Study: How Kat Lessin Helps Creatives Transition Into The World Of Entrepreneurship, Safely
Let me use Kat Lessin as an example, because the theme we came up with for her really demonstrates this point.
Kat sought me out because she needed help in getting more clients on her books. In our introductory session we hit it off… partly because we had similar favourite pass times (sitting in cafes drinking coffee, with laptop in tow!)
Anyway, during our strategy session we came up with the brand, the core client process and the theme, which we have since implemented to great success.
Kat wanted to work with creative people – particularly guys in a job who had the entrepreneurial bug and wanted to make the switch to running their own business. The big pain these folks experience is being able to make this leap when they have a family depending on them.
Having done a LOT of couples coaching, Kat wanted to target men in particular, and then either work with them on their own, or with their partner too, to help them make the transition, safely and sensibly – without putting off their dream.
Kat also has an interest in architecture, and so this was where our theme came from.
Kat’s theme, core client process and brand, all come from architectural, building principles. The process she takes her clients through in their planning session follows the same process you would use to build a building – from conceptual design (creating what you want), through to getting planning permission (from your partner, and those dependent on you), through to laying foundations, putting in structure and constructing the dream phase by phase.
These themes and process then get woven throughout all her material: her website, her lead generation tools, how she describes what she does… EVERYTHING. It makes it so much easier to have these key concepts to hang everything else off without having to worry “what do I say to get people to hire me?”
Her theme is evident throughout everything she does. Here is a snapshot of her website, with architectural images, blueprint backgrounds, and the reference to Life Architecture in the opt-in box…
How Do You Do This For Yourself?
This is all very well in principle, but how do you do this for your own elevator pitch?
Sure, you may need some help to get this just right, which is why I work with people one on one, but let’s get you started right now, so you can start to see how this works and get some results.
- First off, we need to brainstorm potential themes. Start by listing out all the things that appeal to you: hobbies, interests, and things you’ve done in the past.
- Now you need to make sure you know what your ideal clients looks like. This is the kind of person you would most like to work with… not the person you think will pay you for what you offer right not.
- Next figure out what their biggest problem is. It often pays off to talk directly to people who fit your perfect client criteria and find out first hand rather than trying to hallucinate what they might want.
- Come up with a theme that marries what you love to solving one, specific problem e.g. how to get unstuck when you’ve got too many ideas to pursue, or how to make a leap from a job to a business when you have family dependent on you.
- Create an article or free report that clarifies this for you, and your potential prospects – so you can build your website, offer, and strategy around it.
Let’s Get You Started Right Now
We can get you started right here, right now in the comments. Simply list out the things in your life that make you, you.
Write them in the comments below.
As an example, Kat would write: “love of architecture, working with creative people, couples coaching and photography”.
What defines you? Tell me below in the comments!
I read every comment and I’m here to help!
*For more help with your elevator pitch, check out this elevator speech template.