If you’re ready with your Brandshake, you’ll never be annoyed with that quintessential question that you KNOW is coming when you meet someone new…
“What do you do?”
Easy enough to answer if you’re in the traditional 9-5 situation. But it can be trickier if you’re an entrepreneur, business owner, or someone who lives an “outside the box” kind of life.
But here’s the thing: you never know who you’re going to meet. And if you run your own business, you never know where your next client, connection, or big break might be.
You could be standing in line at Starbucks, waiting for an oil change, or walking your dog in the park. And someone can cross your path with the potential to change your business. Maybe even your life.
So having a clear, concise one-liner that shares what you do, who you help, and WHY you do it will have you ready for game-changing action at a moment’s notice.
That’s where the good old fashioned “elevator pitch” comes in.
As tired as the term sounds, the concept is solid: a quick and easy one-liner that unequivocally answers, “What do you do?” with ease.
And the best elevator pitches also answer that question with enough intrigue that the other person says, “Really? Tell me more…”
If you get a conversation started, you never know where it might go!
Recently at a networking event, I met a gentleman named Manny. Naturally, the first question after the initial exchange of names was, “So what do you do, Michelle?”
I gave him my short-and-sweet yet intriguing answer. Then we got to talking a little bit more. What happened next?
He introduced me to a few perfect candidates to interview for my podcast Success Unfiltered. I also learned that he runs a non-profit organization for orphaned children. And I was so inspired by his work that I made a heartfelt donation to his organization. And a mutually beneficial connection was born.
All because I got the conversation going with a concise, intriguing and authentic “brandshake” (i.e., The Pitch Queen’s new alternative term for “elevator pitch.”)
With the right “brandshake,” (a.k.a. “elevator pitch”) you’ll ultimately do more than just acquire new clients. You’ll spark more connections. You’ll create more mutually rewarding relationships. And in the long run, you’ll exponentially multiply your impact.
And isn’t that what this business gig is all about?
So forget the old-school term, but keep the idea behind it!
What takes the “brandshake” out of the elevator and into the 21st century? In other words, how do you put a fresh spin on an old-school idea and make it work wonders for you?
By creating your perfect brandshake and having it ready to use anytime, anywhere.
That ideal line should only take five to 10 seconds to say, but sometimes it can take hours to create. Still, crafting your brandshake doesn’t have to be a painstaking process. In fact, if you do it right, the process itself can get you energized about your business all over again.
It comes down to asking yourself a few simple questions. If you answer those questions concisely and put them together in a logical way, your brandshake will be on point!
But what do you need to know before you start assembling your big line? Let’s set the groundwork so that your ideal brandshake writes itself!
Start with these questions and concepts:
What do you do and why do you do it? It’s time to get back to basics. What is your business all about? Why are you so passionate about it? And who do you help? It’s time to reexamine your WHY, get clear on what problem you solve, and know your solution.
Here’s my example…
“I help entrepreneurs like you build confidence so that you can have sales conversations without fear of rejections. I help you get past the NOs so that you can get to the YES.”
And why do I do it? Because I believe in helping entrepreneurs make a significant impact in the world and increase their top-line revenue, all by doing what they love and getting paid their value.
Reaffirm your belief in what you’re selling. Nothing is more infectious than a passionate person. And when it comes to your business, that passionate person should be YOU.
Because let’s be real: if you’re not inspired by what you do, who else will be?
It’s an offshoot of the first step, but it’s significant in itself. Get your passion on and dive deep into what lights you up about your business. Know it well and embody it.
Talk about your business in a way that is as natural as breathing. Can you talk about your mission-driven business without getting tongue-tied or nervous? That’s another key factor. If talking about your products and services is as easy as breathing in and out, you’re golden.
Make your brandshake adaptable. You’re going to use your new pitch in many places. The key is to make it so adaptable that you can tweak just a few details to make it relevant anytime, anywhere. (And if you’re with me so far, this won’t require much extra effort at all!)
For example, I have a general brandshake that I use when I’m out and about. But when I meet someone in my favorite niche, which is the CPAs and accounting professionals industry, I add a few pertinent details that speak directly to them.
So know who you’re talking to, and tweak your brandshake pitch accordingly.
Now that you’ve laid the groundwork, let’s create the ideal one-line pitch using these straight-ahead templates.
Structure #1: The Classic One-Liner. Keeping everything in mind, fill in your the blanks in the sentence below.
“I help ____________ (your ideal client) with _____________ (the problem) so that they can ______________ (have what they dream about).”
Here’s my answer using this format…
“I help mission-driven entrepreneurs and business owners sell high-value services without feeling sleazy or pushy so that they can have confidence in their sales conversations and increase their revenue.”
And how about the one with the CPA-specific twist?
“I help CPAs, enrolled agents, and accounting professionals get confident in their sales conversations and stop giving away their knowledge and value for free so they can help more of the right people and get paid their worth to grow a thriving practice they love.”
Simple, concise, and authentic!
Now, let’s try another method:
Structure #2: The Short and Sweet Conversation Starter. This one is slightly more conversational yet just as effective, and with a little twist on the end.
“What I have found is that a lot of __________ (your ideal clients) want to solve __________ (the problem). But I don’t believe that they always ___________ (succeed as they’d like to).
Do you know of anyone I could help?”
Here’s my example using this format:
“What I’ve found is a lot of accounting professionals are constantly dealing with people who just want free advice or even worse are just price shopping and they’re frustrated because they feel overworked and underpaid. But they don’t believe there is any way to change this, “It’s just how it is.”
I help CPAs, enrolled agents, and accounting professionals get confident with their sales conversations and stop giving away their knowledge and value for free so they can help more of the right people and get paid their worth to grow a thriving practice they love. I would love, absolutely adore to hear about who you’ve wanted to work with, but don’t think that you have the skills or know how to land that high-level client?”
This one is more flowing and less structured and with a little something extra at the end! Not only are you sharing your passion, but you’re also inviting the other person to engage right away by asking a question.
And whether they have a referral for you or not, you’re still encouraging them to continue the conversation!
Here’s an extra hot tip that works for either format: include action words like help, guide, teach and provide. They’ll add the sparkle that will bring that brandshake to life!
So whether you prefer a single line or a short conversation starter, the way you create your brandshake/elevator pitch is the same…
Know what problem you solve. Be clear about why you do it, who it’s for, and the results you deliver. And the more specific you can get, the more powerful your brandshake will be.
Sometimes 10 seconds is all the time you have to hook someone’s attention. But if you have a clear handle on your WHY, and you share your solution in a way that resonates with people, 10 seconds is all you need!
I invite you to use these strategies and write out the elevator pitch/brandshake that will help you stand out, make connections, and grow your network in ways that benefit everyone involved!
So what do you do? And how can you say it clearly, concisely, and with your own personal flair? Give these steps a try, create a new brandshake, and share it in the comments below!
P.S. Want to get the whole scoop on all things elevator pitch/brandshake? Check out this week’s episode of Coffee Is For Closers and get all the details on creating YOUR ultimate answer to the inevitable question, “What do you do?” Catch the full episode HERE!