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Do you have an elevator pitch?Imagine running into an old high school classmate at the airport. Someone you haven’t talked to in years. After exchanging some pleasantries, you realise they would be a perfect design client for you. They ask you what you do for a living, and as you start thinking of the best way to pitch your services to them, their flight is called, and you’ve lost your chance.
That’s where having an elevator pitch could have helped you.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch sometimes referred to as an elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short persuasive speech you give to people that explains who you are in such a way that it sparks an interest in the listener. It typically explains what it is you do, who your services are for, why the people may need those services and how you go about completing those services.
Your elevator pitch needs to be interesting, succinct, memorable and it needs to describe how you are unique amongst all the other designers out there.
It also needs to be short. An elevator pitch of around 20-30 seconds works best.
When to use an Elevator Pitch.
You should use your elevator pitch any time you are talking about yourself and your business. Use it whenever you meet a new potential client. Use it whenever you are introduced to someone, and they ask what you do for a living. Use it as an introductory paragraph on your website.
You should use your elevator pitch every chance you get.
How to construct an Elevator Pitch.
Your Elevator Pitch will evolve and may change depending on who you are talking with. You may even have more than one Elevator Pitch depending on the situation. Regardless, it should follow these basic rules.
1) Explain who you are.
Start off by introducing yourself and your business. If you’re already acquainted with the person you are talking to you may skip this part for obvious reasons.
2) Explain what it is you do.
For an elevator pitch to succeed, it needs to explain what it is you and your business does. Remember, an elevator pitch should be interesting and memorable. Don’t say that you design websites or logos or flyers. Those things are boring to everyone but you. Instead, explain what sort of problems you solve for your clients. Give the listener something to remember about you.
For example. Instead of saying “I design responsive websites”. You could say something like “I design websites that let my clients communicate to their target market in the most efficient way possible regardless of what device they are using.”
Isn’t that more interesting than just saying “I design responsive websites”?
If what you are saying doesn’t excite you, then it certainly won't excite the person listening to you. Your pitch should make you smile. The person listening may not remember everything you say, but they will remember the enthusiasm in your voice when you said it.
3) Explain your Unique Selling Proposition.
A Unique Selling Proposition often referred to as a USP, is what makes you different from all the other designers competing for the same clients. It needs to be something that will make the listener take notice and want to work with you.
For example, you could say something like this. “When it comes to websites, I take the time to research and get to know my client and their target market before ever sitting down to design their site. This allows me to create something that not only looks great, but something that appeals to the site visitors and truly represents the core of who my client is.”
4) Finish by asking the listener a question.
The whole point of an elevator pitch is to start a meaningful conversation. To do that you need to make sure you finish your pitch with a question that gets the person thinking and forces them into a discussion with you.
Make sure you ask a question that cannot be answered by a simple “Yes” or “No” answer. You might ask something like “What kind of return are you getting from your website?”
5) Combine everything together
When you put all these previous steps together, you should have a solid 20-30 second elevator pitch to impress potential clients.
Time yourself. If it’s too long, you risk losing the person’s interest. Find ways to shorten it.
Here’s how the examples I gave earlier come together.
“I design websites that let my clients communicate to their target market in the most efficient way possible regardless of what device they are using.”
“When it comes to websites, I take the time to research and get to know my client and their target market before ever sitting down to design their site. This allows me to create something that not only looks great, but something that appeals to the site visitors and truly represents the core of who my client is.”
“What kind of return are you getting from your website?”
See how it all works together?
6) Practice, practice, practice.
Your elevator pitch needs to sound natural, not rehearsed. How you say it is as important as what you say. You may have to edit it a bit since we often write differently than we talk. Say your pitch out loud repeatedly and on a regular basis.
As you practice, you may end up changing parts of your pitch so that it sounds more natural to you. The more you do it, the better it and you will become.
Here’s my elevator pitch.
This is the elevator pitch I currently use in my business. It has evolved many times over the years, and I'm sure this will not be its last incarnation.
“I help businesses and organisations fine-tune their brand strategy and give them a better chance of success.
Unlike a lot of designers, I invest my time in building a relationship with my clients in order to help them reach their goals. I accomplish this through the proper use of graphic design, web design and other marketing means.
In other words, I help businesses reach their target market.
How are you attracting your clients?”
What's your elevator pitch?
Do you already have an elevator pitch or have I convinced you to create one? I would love to hear it. Leave it as a comment for this episode, and I'll let you know what I think of it.
Questions of the Week
Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.
This week’s question comes from Diego
My name is Diego I'm from Uruguay and I'm an art librarian. That’s right, I’m not a designer, but I did take some courses in my teens. Now I’m 26 years old and I’m trying my fit back in at the University again.
I see all the other kids at school with their amazing drawings and I just don’t feel up to their level. I'm feeling discouraged, like I’m trying to catch up. I would really like some advice.
Is it important to have the artistic skills to be a designer?
Are there any course you recommend I should look into? Not on how to use Photoshop or how to create a logo in illustrator. But basic design things.
Thanks, I Love your podcast.
To find out what I told Diego you’ll have to listen to the podcast.
Resource of the week Canva Colors
Canva Colors is a great source for discovering colours for your next design project. Their Design Wiki on Colors teaches you everything you need to know about specific colors, their meanings, their history and the color combinations that will hopefully give inspiration to your next design!
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I would love to hear from you. You can send me questions and feedback using my feedback form.
I want to help you.
Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business, please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at email@example.com