This is a guest post from my coach and friend, Janette Dalgliesh, from Sweet Relief Coaching. Janette and I and some other friends have had a few conversations lately about “the elevator pitch” and how much we hated it. So I asked Janette to write this, to help us find another way of talking about our businesses.
Beware! There is a Beige Beastie at large in the business world, who will seduce you into dark conversational dead ends, and suck your inspiration dry. Scary, right?
I’m talking about the elevator pitch.
And I’m on a quest to stamp it out.
The elevator pitch SOUNDS like a brilliant idea. A pithy way to sum up your brilliance into a punchy, carefully crafted sound bite, what could be better?
You’ve probably heard the most famous elevator pitch of all time: “Arnold Schwarzenegger. Danny de Vito. Twins.” Six words which got a movie deal. (That story may be apocryphal, but even I liked it!)
It’s not surprising we can get tempted into thinking, “I need one of those, stat!” And when business coaches, experts and gurus tell us we MUST have one, it’s easy to nod our heads in agreement.
But there’s a problem.
If you’re a solopreneur or small business owner, it’s most likely your business revolves around YOU. There is a person at the heart of your business, a person who does things in her or his own way. You bring your own unique YOUness to both the work itself and the relationships with your clients.
When I’m looking for someone to provide a service for my business or my home, of course I want someone who can do the work, that’s a given. But an elevator pitch can’t tell me that.
I’m looking for someone with similar values or the same sense of humour. I’m looking for someone with a language that resonates, someone who can look at what I’m trying to achieve, and not only get it, but dive in and collaborate WITH me on it.
I’m looking for someone reliable and down to earth, who – like me – is capable of believing in six impossible things before breakfast. Which might be utterly different from what you’re looking for. And that’s the point.
We want good working relationships with clients who are perfect-for-us. And an elevator pitch certainly can’t tell me that. And the big problem comes – that sucky, conversational dead end comes – when you begin any relationship with a beige, scripted, one-size-fits-all elevator pitch. You disappear behind those carefully crafted words. They become a barrier, and I don’t get to see the real you.
So what do we do instead?
Have a conversation. Keep it fresh. Different words for different people.
Yes, it requires a little more effort and a lot more focus on being present in the moment.
If I’m meeting you at a networking event, I want the real YOU.
It’s great to have a tagline for your business, a shorthand way of saying “this is me” that you can use on your cards or your website.
But in a conversation, you get to go deeper.
You can’t be summed up in 15 words, so why would you try to contain your business in such a cramped space?
Maybe it’s time to let both your business and YOU out of the box, so you can both shine all the brighter.
I’ve ditched the pitch. Wanna join me?
Her unique talent for translating complex science into plain English has opened the door to a radically upgraded life for many people.
Based in south-eastern Australia, Janette has an international following. She’s on faculty for Good Vibe University and has received LOA Leaders Awards for both of her best-selling “Everyday Superpower” Kindle ebooks. You’ll find Janette at www.identityshift.ninja