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.