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30 Second Elevator Speech

A 30 second elevator speech is based on the notion that if you were to meet someone in an elevator and they ask what you do for a living, you would have just enough time to pique their interest before the elevator doors open and they reach their destination. If someone asked you, would you know what to say and would that potential client be asking for your business card as they leave?


This is a great exercise in marketing. This forces you to go over what you offer and sum it up in a nice, easy to understand verbal package, done in such a way that you illicit enough interest and are asked for more information. A great deal of thought needs to go into your speech, but it needs to have a:

  • Beginning: introduction to yourself — and don’t forget to smile

  • Middle: How you do what you do and what makes you stand out from the rest

  • End: Don’t forget a call to action — something that will make them want more

Here’s a few tips to make your 30 second elevator speech a success:

  • Smile when you talk

  • If you’ve practiced your speech over and over again, you won’t be nervous and it won’t sound like a canned response

  • Make it short and sweet and to the point — too long and they’ll lose interest

  • Don’t make a sales pitch — that will turn someone off real quick

  • Stay away from buzzwords and cute acronyms hoping you’ll sound smart

  • Keep the speech broad in content

  • Use plain language — don’t try and impress someone

  • Have an alternative speech depending on your specific audience

  • Don’t make your call to action too strong…it should be more of an invitation to learn more

Here’s a BAD example:

Hi, I’m Bob from Bob the Builder - yea, just like that kids cartoon, but we’re the real thing. We do everything from renovating your kitchen and bathrooms to building additions and decks.

I always provide quality service with professional results, on time, every time. And I guarantee your project will be completed in just a few weeks.

In fact, just last month, I took over a job from Fly-By-Night Construction. Maybe you heard of them? They really took advantage of the homeowner and never completed the kitchen reno and kept adding costs. I finished the job and it only took me a month.

Hey, I’m sure your house needs an update, everyone’s does! How about you give me your address and I’ll stop by to look things over?

What’s wrong?

  • Bob the Builder? Just like the kids cartoon? You’re the real thing?

  • Don’t talk about quality service, professional results — who’s says they provide poor quality, unprofessional service?

  • Don’t make promises you can’t keep — he guarantees work done in a few weeks and admits it took him a month to complete a job

  • Don’t mention your competition or put them down — you have no idea if the person you’re talking to is family or a friend and it makes you look petty and desperate

  • Don’t try and make a sale — assuming everyone’s house needs an update is rude

Here’s a BETTER example:

Hi, I’m Robert Callahan from Callahan Construction. We’re a local, family owned business with over 25 years experience. We help families turn their houses into their dream homes.

Since I grew up and live in the community, I understand my clients’ needs and I work well with local townships. And since I live nearby, I’m able to meet my neighbors any time of the day to go over their projects.

If you know someone looking for a local contractor, who’s on every job, I’d love to help make their house their dream home.

What’s right!

  • Robert Callahan from Callahan Construction — that says you’re the owner and adds legitimacy to the conversation

  • Local, family owned business for over 25 years

  • What makes him unique is he’s local and already works with your township for permits, etc.

  • Call to action: any neighbor looking to make their house a ‘dream home’ is a soft sell

Your speech should flow without hesitation, like you’re having a conversation with someone. The only way you’re going to accomplish that is to practice, practice, practice. And when you think you got it down, record it and listen to yourself. Then practice some more. Then test it out on friends and family. Finally, try it out on a trusted client that will give you honest feedback. And don’t take offense if they make suggestions. Remember, it’s not what you say, it’s what they hear.

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