Elevator pitches are a stock in trade for financial advisors and for many successful professionals. They seem like a no-brainer: boiling your value proposition into a very brief presentation designed to present your business in the best possible light.
That’s the conventional wisdom on elevator pitches. We'd like to suggest a different approach, e.g. one that deep-sixes the stilted and stale “pitch” and replaces it with something more honest and authentic.
All too often, elevator pitches sound phony, canned, and pretentious. Who talks like that anyway?
In an industry that has its fair share of artifice and façade already, the last thing we need is more of it. Clients want sincere, direct conversation from financial advisors, not simulated marketing mumbo-jumbo.
This is the article that got me thinking on this topic. It’s a thoughtful discussion between author Daniel Pink, and communication strategist, Carmine Gallo…and highlighted in this recent Forbes article, Six Simple and Irresistible Alternatives to the Elevator Pitch.
Some Alternative Approaches
Of course, you know that you absolutely need some response to folks who ask you, “What do you do?” (Stunned silence, or running away, does not look professional.)
So, what’s a better alternative?
- Speak the way you speak, not the way you write. Words that may sound great on paper or on your website, can fall completely flat when they are spoken. For example, which of these sounds more natural to your voice? “I help affluent individuals and families create sound and comprehensive financial plans so that they can live out the retirement of their dreams.” Or “I’m a financial planner. I make sure that my clients’ money outlasts them.”
- Paint a picture of a common problem. Like this, “You know that pile of brokerage account statements lying around somewhere in your house that you’ve been intending to get to for the past year? I help my clients clean up the mess and finally get clear and organized about their financial life.”
- Be incomplete. Many of the elevator statements that we’ve heard over the years are too thorough. They divulge everything, and leave little room for curiosity. One of the main objectives in an elevator pitch is to invite a larger conversation by encouraging the listener to want more. All-inclusive pitches that tell all don’t do this.
- Be brief...really brief. Admittedly, this is way easier said than done. However, think of the effective one or two-word marketing campaigns over the years. Think Different…Apple. Eat Fresh…Subway. Priceless…MasterCard. Can you distill the one thing that you provide your clients into one word? (Trust? Organization? Simplification? Liberation? Relief? Freedom? Control?) If nothing else, this becomes a really interesting marketing exercise for you.
Here’s the thing. If you’ve been agonizing because you don’t have the flawless elevator pitch, you can rest easy. Stop worrying. No one’s likely to remember it anyway. They’ve done studies on this -- 24 hours after you utter your “perfect pitch” to the dude/gal at the cocktail party or other social event, he/she is not apt to remember a single word.
What they are likely to remember is you, your presence, your passion…and the conversation that ensues AFTER they ask, “What do you do?”
Now that you've created a better introduction for yourself, consider these 19 other marketing strategies, and download the ClientWise Learning Tool below: