"The Essential Elevator Speech"


“The Essential Elevator Speech” pdf version

by Kevin W. Brown, M.B.A.
Copyright 2009

An elevator speech is an opportunity for you to provide a brief explanation of your firm, all within the time it might take to ride an elevator (e.g., approximately thirty seconds) or possibly as your leaving a building lobby with a brief discussion (i.e., an extended version of two to three minutes).  Of course, this speech can be required in a variety of situations, from formal networking situations to meeting a potential client at a community event.  Without preparation, most of us will stumble and sound less than convincing, often ruining an opportunity to earn business.  So, let’s learn how you can make the most of such situations.

The point of having a prepared elevator speech is to effectively present your firm in a way that grabs attention and leads to further discussions.  You don’t have much time and can’t say a lot.  It is a way to market your practice in a very personal way without sounding like a sales pitch.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider:

Body language:
• Do look the person in the eye as you speak.
• Do smile and be friendly.
• Do be appropriately enthusiastic.
• Do speak slowly, pause, breathe and smile. 

• Use a “power opener” to attract interest
• Do present the benefit of using your services.
• Don’t label yourself as a occupation without showing how you provide solutions to problems.

Body of speech:
• Do explain what makes you unique.
• Do offer meaningful information that leads to more questions from the listener.
• Do incorporate brief examples and stories of how clients find your services to be valuable.
• Do be concise and clear in your descriptions.
• Do use intriguing “hooks” that will cause the listener to ask more questions.
• Don’t force the other person to listen for 30 seconds if they want to ask a question.

• Do end with an action request, such as asking for a business card or interview appointment.

• Do express your expertise without sounding arrogant.
• Do make it memorable.
• Do sound passionate in your love for what you do for a living.
• Do develop different versions for different situations and audiences.
• Do practice so that your speech does not sound memorized.
• Don’t stumble and ramble as you try to express yourself.
• Don’t use technical jargon or legalese.

As a starting point, consider a format including the following elements: Name, title, firm, one sentence synopsis of your firm, short list of services, how services benefit clients, example, conclusion (highlight of 2-3 key selling points), and action step.

For example, this is a 60-second table introduction that I might use when meeting attorneys at a business function: 

“My name is Kevin Brown and I own a full-service firm that specializes in marketing, public relations and advertising for law firms. We help attorneys to increase their revenues and improve profitability. For many clients, we serve as their “Part-Time Director of Marketing™” working as their virtual marketing department.  For others, we help on projects, such as websites and internet marketing, branding and business development training.  Bottom line, we know what works and what doesn’t because my firm knows how to market lawyers as few others in the country do! 

I’ve worked with literally thousands of attorneys since 1991, write articles for national and local publications and speak regularly to Bar groups and other organizations.  Prior to forming my own firm, I was the Director of Marketing for Deloitte & Touche, Orange County’s largest professional services firm.  So I’ve worked for the biggest and the best, although I typically serve clients who have from 1 to 50 attorneys.  Here’s my business card.  I’d be glad to contact you after the meeting and address any questions, so please feel free to provide your card and I’ll be in touch.”