I used to be a big fan of the elevator pitch, proudly being able to explain to a stranger what I do in one or two sentences.
But I’ve completely changed my mind.
The main reason being that I’ve never actually been asked by someone what I do in an elevator 😊 and even if I had the chances of them being a potential client are next to zero.
When you think about it the only people who need to understand what you do are potential clients and or a referrer of clients.
Most of the problems I solve are multi-layered and require a more than a superficial understanding of the markets and the industries I work in.
For my parents or my hairdresser telling them that I’m a “digital marketer” is enough but it’s not what I really do.
I will give a different answer to different people depending on who they are, what their firm does and how genuinely interested they are.
I want more than a nod or an “oh yeah” and I certainly don’t want to be pigeonholed as a “digital marketer”, I hate that because it’s a profession full of lightweights and self-anointed gurus.
In fact, I think that matching what you do to accepted market service definitions is counterproductive to selling expertise.
Articulating succinctly what you do and who you do it for on one level is still important, but for me secondary to what makes you different and most importantly, your perspective.
For me getting that across typically requires a face to face conversation and a whiteboard. I’ve written tens of thousands of words and numerous eBooks on my area of expertise so distilling that down to an elevator pitch would be counterproductive and underselling myself.
It doesn’t matter anyway because I deliberately don’t “pitch” or try to “pitch” in that way anymore.
I do it this way instead; writing, blogging, educating and whiteboarding with the theory being that the people I want to understand it will figure it out and hire me because that’s something they haven’t seen or heard before.
I help my clients articulate what they do every day and from a positioning perspective, it needs to be succinct and understandable but not at the expense of dumbing down your offer to a market that wants to put you in a box.
Don’t know about you but I think its time all elevators were fitted with whiteboards.