Say it Like You Mean It – Mastering the Elevator Speech

It takes 30 seconds or so to get from the lobby to the penthouse in an elevator — just enough time for a business person to make a pitch and capture investor interest. That’s where the concept of the “elevator speech” came from.

As coaches, we want to attract investors too — the ideal clients in your coaching market who are ready to invest in their future by hiring you. And if you cultivate loyalty, they will keep investing in everything you offer.

A masterful elevator speech does three things:

  1. Succinctly describes your target market, so that your coaching prospect sees that you specialize in helping them exclusively.
  2. Identifies their most unique and compelling challenge, so that your coaching prospect feels you understand their unique problems.
  3. Delivers a value proposition, so that your coaching prospect believes you will help them succeed.

When you’ve finished your quick speech the natural response is “Tell me more!” or “When do we get started?” or “I’d like to refer several people I know to you.”

Prospects become your coaching clients when they perceive that you can help them have less of what they don’t want and more of what they do want.

From Broad and General to Pinpointed and Compelling

This is the usual first stab at an elevator speech:

I help women professionals discover how to have a more fulfilling business and personal life. Through life coaching, which provides a safe and meaningful place to explore options, we’ll design your ideal life and put together a strategic plan to manifest it.

Not bad but not a winner. Why?
– The target market (women professionals) is too broad and so the speech can’t address unique challenges.
– The challenge (fulfilling business & personal life) is catch-all.
– The value proposition (design ideal life/strategic plan) is blah.

Remember, your goal is to the get the most ideal clients with as little effort as possible. To compel the prospect to invest, you must show them the value of your coaching in just 30 seconds.

See how specifics accomplish this:

Hello. I’m Jean Gordon. The name of my company is Sales Force Coaching. I help women sales managers create an inspired sales force and bring in their most profitable year yet! Most sales managers have made it this far on their formidable sales skills. Now it’s time to align all of their talents and learn simple new tricks to lead an inspired sales force, while they easily earn an annual bonus. (pause) If you’re a woman sales manager, let’s make this your best year yet!

Winner! Why?
– The narrow and specific market — women sales managers.
– The value proposition — most profitable year — speaks to the unique challenges of sales managers: making profits, learning management skills to lead a team, and earning bonuses.
– Jean asks for the business.
– And it doesn’t even mention coaching, which keeps the focus on clear communication without having to explain something new.

Subtly adapt your elevator speech to the circumstances. The one above would work best delivered to a group. Change “they” to “you” for one on one networking or for writing on a website. Just don’t lose the specificity in the niche market or the value proposition.

Get it Into Your Bones

If you’re still in the place where you have to look up your unique benefit statement or your 30 second speech, then you are missing opportunities to get clients.

In other jobs you’ve held, you took ownership, didn’t you? It’s time to take ownership of your coaching business and do the most basic thing you can to be successful: become masterful at your elevator speech.

  • Speak up.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Let your light shine through your eyes.
  • Stand up straight.
  • Don’t fidget or hide your hands behind your back.
  • Have business cards with you to pass out.

Your coaching prospects will respond with interest when your elevator speech is compelling, conversational, sincere and memorable. Once you’ve written your speech, there are three more steps:

  1. Practice it at least 50 times in the mirror until it’s a part of you.
  2. Get out into situations where there is a high percentage of your coaching market and use your elevator speech.
  3. Infuse your speech with your passion for coaching and your interest in your clients. Then, your light will shine through and your offer will be very attractive.

There’s always more to learn about enrolling coaching clients. But you’ll be starting with a solid foundation once you have mastered your unique benefit statement and your elevator speech.


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