Time to Switch Your Elevator Pitch

Education & Training with The Lones Group, Inc.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Time to Switch Your Elevator Pitch

Today I want to tackle something I hear a lot of people talking about: the elevator pitch. (Some people call it an elevator speech, elevator statement or elevator opening.) It's a term that bugs me because I don't like the word "pitch." It sounds sales-y, pushy, and just plain aggressive. I know that if you look up the definition of "elevator pitch," it is described as a persuasive explanation of what you do. The challenge I have is with the word "persuasive," because it comes across as a gimmicky type of communication.

What do you say when introducing yourself and answering the question, "What do you do for a living?" There are plenty of ways you can offer information and insight without it sounding like a sales pitch. After all, that's usually what an elevator pitch is about—a sales pitch. I really don't like to be sold to. That approach does not win any points from me.

When I was actively selling real estate and someone asked what I did for a living, I would reply, "I help people build wealth through real estate." That's it. It was simple and to the point. I didn't say, "Oh, let me tell you all about it. I help people build wealth through real estate and what that means is..."

I never went into a long or complicated pitch. When your answer is too long, you shift from being conversational to selling or pitching. That's where I start getting uncomfortable. I know that the elevator part of the term conveys a brief time-frame such as an elevator ride. However, if you spend the whole ride pitching yourself, no one will want to converse with you again. Can you imagine trying to have a nice chat with someone new and they turn it into an infomercial? Yuck.

On the flip side of it, there are a lot of people in real estate that when asked, "What do you do for a living?" reply with, "I sell real estate," or they will say, "I'm in real estate." What does that mean? It sounds like you're in jail! These are very closed-off statements, and extremely generic.

Instead, make it a conversation starter. Even something as simple as, "I'm so fortunate that I get to help people find homes they love," is exponentially better. It sounds authentic and matches your belief in what you do.

If you just say, "I'm in real estate," it sounds like such a down statement. Add some enthusiasm. Think about what you do and the part that you love. Maybe you love writing contracts, or negotiating, or looking at houses. That would sound something like this, "I'm so fortunate, I get to negotiate contracts for people who want to buy houses, and I love doing that." It's passionate and informative.

I've always been interested in real estate investing. Since I was very young, I've been fascinated with real estate as an investment, real estate for asset management, and the growth and security afforded by real estate. I'm obviously very passionate about it. When people would ask me about it, I could reply with authentic enthusiasm and excitement because I love it so much.

Enthusiasm is contagious. It doesn't matter what your passion is, there is something you love that you can make into a powerful and enthusiastic opening statement. For example, if you say something like "I am a professional real estate organizer, specifically with helping people write winning offers and getting their contracts to close," it will sound unique and exciting. People will catch on and ask, "Wait, why do you love that?" You are opening the door to conversation. That's what it's really about.

The traditional elevator sales pitch—while I don't like the term—does have a job opening the lines of communication when you only have a moment. Don't think of it as a pitch. Think of it as a door opening statement.

My hope today is that when you're listening to this, you will think about what makes you the most excited about your job, and can turn that into a one- or two-sentence summary that shares your authentic feelings.


By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI - The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

The Lones Group, Inc.

Comments (14)

Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Denise- I can remember when everyone was trying to decide on what their elevator pitch was going to be. and I agree with what you said...you don't want to sound like you're doing a 15 second in-your-face sales pitch but you want to be able to catch their attention with your enthusiasm for what you do. 

Apr 21, 2021 07:10 PM
Denise Lones

Kathy - Thank you! There did seem to be a time when "elevator pitch" was a fresh phrase, didn't there? Of course, most agents aren't riding up the corporate skyscraper - it's grocery lines, dinner parties, waiting to pick kids up for school, at church, and everywhere else that someone might ask, "Hey Denise, what do you do?" I hope this helps them (and you!) too - Denise

Apr 28, 2021 04:01 PM
Shahar Hillel
Augusta Financial Inc. - Stevenson Ranch, CA
Mortgage Consultant, Loan Officer.

Great input.

Good article.

Thank you.

Apr 21, 2021 08:08 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

The favorite one I used to use was: "I help people who like sleeping indoors". 🙂

Apr 22, 2021 05:10 AM
Denise Lones

Catchy and fun! It gets my attention. Thanks Carol!

Apr 28, 2021 04:02 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Apr 24, 2021 06:25 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Denise - the elevator pitch that cause the person to next ask how do you do that is very effective.

Apr 25, 2021 05:11 AM
Denise Lones

That's what we want to happen - to start a genuine conversation. - Denise

Apr 28, 2021 04:03 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Denise. Like you never liked the term "elevator pitch"! Spent my time creating opportunities for people through real estate. Enjoy your day!

Apr 25, 2021 05:30 AM
Denise Lones

Way better than, "I'm in real estate," by miles and miles, Wayne! Thanks for sharing! - Denise

Apr 28, 2021 04:05 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Like you, I think the sales-y 'pitch' is not me and I've never been a fan, Denise!

My favorite take-away that sounds just like my share with strangers, "I'm so fortunate, I get to negotiate contracts for people who want to buy houses, and I love doing that." Thank you for that!

Apr 25, 2021 07:30 AM
Denise Lones

I like that. It gets the other person thinking, "What goes into negotiation?" And then you get to shine as the expert. - Denise

Apr 28, 2021 04:06 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I agree. I think you should also add your location, if applicable, and your niche. As in "I help first time buyers in the mytown area find homes they love that fit their budgets.

I also don't like the word pitch - or the word "deal." For some reason, "deal" sound like something a used car salesman would pitch. How about calling it a transaction?

Apr 25, 2021 01:10 PM
Denise Lones

Honestly? I think "transaction" sounds too formal for most situations where you're answering the question, "What do you do?" Make it personal and have a hook that leads to questions. -  Denise

Apr 28, 2021 04:09 PM
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 - Silver Spring, MD
Fluent in German and Real Estate * M.A. ABR ASP

"... and I love doing that." is the absolute best way to end a little "pitch". I'm with you, I would never want to talk the entire elevator ride, I would miss the opportunity to ask questions and learn. 

Apr 25, 2021 07:14 PM
Denise Lones

Or miss the opportunity for them to ask questions that let you share your expertiese! Great point Andrea and happy to meet you here on ActiveRain! - Denise

Apr 28, 2021 04:10 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Sometimes, I've had to switch up the elevator pitch because I don't want to sound stale even if it's only to myself

Apr 25, 2021 09:03 PM
Denise Lones

Of course! Besides, what you want to share about what you do will probably change over time too. - Denise

Apr 28, 2021 04:12 PM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

I love your take on answering this question.  A long time ago, I was trained to answer another commonly asked question with a question.  When people would ask about the market, I would ask,  "That's an interesting question. Why do you ask?"

Apr 28, 2021 03:23 PM
Denise Lones

I like that, but I might want to feed a market fact back to them to reel them in before asking for the follow-up. - Denise

Apr 28, 2021 04:15 PM
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

So glad I saved your post to come back to.     I love the idea of adding passion into the description of what I do!    "I'm so lucky, I get to..."   is great!

Apr 28, 2021 03:25 PM
Denise Lones

If I have to choose between an expert versus the expert that clearly loves their job, I know which one I'm going to choose every time. Good to see you M.C. - Denise

Apr 28, 2021 04:16 PM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

Excellent post.  1st impressions are oh so important.  That single opening line can win or lose for someone.  Good points Denise.  Mark

Apr 28, 2021 05:56 PM
Denise Lones

Thank you Mark. Good to see you again. - Denise

May 07, 2021 03:27 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Oh I like the line: I'm fortunate to ....etc.  So often I say I'm a real estate agent when I could jazz it up a bit and make it sound more enticing!!

May 03, 2021 01:21 PM
Denise Lones

Hey Mary - give it a spin next time someone asks and see where it takes the conversation. Best of luck and have a great weekend! - Denise

May 07, 2021 03:28 PM