Marlene is a real estate broker who offers sales coaching to agents who want to succeed with basic sales tips and techniques.
When we were young, we were taught various manners and things we should and should not say. We were taught to say, “Please” whenever we asked for something and we were taught to say, “Thank you” whenever we received something from someone. If we forgot to utter the appropriate words for the appropriate act, our parents would gently remind us by asking, “What do you say?” This question prompted us to say what we had been taught to say without taking a moment to think about it.
When we were young, saying the appropriate words at the appropriate time became a habit. This same kind of habit applies to what is called the 30-second elevator pitch.
The 30-second elevator pitch is called that because a typical elevator ride is approximately 30 seconds long. If you are to have any chance of grabbing someone’s attention during the ride with what you have to offer, you need to have a succinct pitch that is no longer than 30 seconds.
You never know who you might meet or where you might meet someone. In fact, your first encounter with someone influential to the success of your career could happen in an elevator. So just in case, you need to be prepared to state in a short amount of time what it is that you do.
Your 30-second pitch must have four short components:
- Introduction. Introduce yourself. Be succinct. Simply state your name.
- Function. Say what you do. But, say it in a memorable way. For example, if you are a salesperson and you sell vacuum cleaners, don’t just say you sell vacuum cleaners. Say something more clever and memorable like, “I sell a device that sucks! Then, don’t wait for the other person to catch their composure before you continue with, “Vacuum cleaners!” You do not need to be overly silly, just find a clever way to say what it is you do.
- Offer. State the brand name of the product you sell or state the specific type of service you offer. For example, if you sell the X29 Turbo brand vacuum cleaner, mention the brand name in your pitch. If you are a buyer for a specific department store, include the name of the store in your pitch.
- Call to action. Ask for a meeting or referral. If you sell products and you have samples to give out, offer the person you are talking to a sample (with your contact information attached). Or, offer to give them a brochure or your business card. If you have an easy-to-remember website address, you could simply say your website address a couple of times.
Here is an example elevator pitch, “Hello, my name is Sarah Smith. I match houses with buyers. I’m an agent at Excellent Realty. If you know someone interested in buying real estate, please have them call me. My website address is www(dot)HouseMeetsBuyer(dot)com! That's HouseMeetsBuyer(dot)com.”
Your elevator pitch should be something you can say any time someone asks who you are or what you do.
Practice makes perfect, so practice your elevator pitch a lot. Practice so that you can flawlessly move through your pitch according to whether a person asks “who you are” or “what you do.” The more you practice, the more comfortable you will become saying it, and the easier it will be to say it without thinking about it. Practice your pitch fast, slow and every pace in between.
You will not always be in an elevator when you deliver your elevator pitch. Remember, the elevator pitch is just the name of the type of pitch you are delivering.
Deliver your elevator pitch according to the situation you are in at the moment. You might encounter someone anywhere from a business conference to a baseball game. Wherever you are, there is an appropriate way to deliver your pitch. Also, whether you or the other person starts the conversation will determine how much and in what order you will deliver your pitch.
What to Say
If you are in a position to start the conversation, start your elevator pitch with an introduction. If someone else starts the conversation, and they merely ask what you do, then answer their question by telling them what you do. Do not start by telling them your name. They asked what you do, so answer their question. You will have an opportunity to tell them your name during the call to action (see #4 above) at the end of your pitch, while you are handing them your sample, or business card, or brochure.
How to Say it
Deliver your elevator pitch at the same pace as the person you are talking to. This is called mirroring. Mirroring is when you match the body language and speech tempo of the person you are speaking to. For example, if the person you are talking to speaks with a slow Southern accent, mirror them. But don’t mimic them: don’t start talking in a slow Southern drawl, because it would appear to them that you are mocking them. To mirror them, you simply need to match their pace. In other words, if they talk slowly to you, talk slowly back to them. It makes them feel more comfortable.
On the other hand, if you are talking to a fast-paced talker, by all means, say that pitch as fast as you can, because a fast-talking person is liable to lose interest in a slowly delivered pitch.
Now, What do you say?
Your 30-second elevator pitch should be succinct, memorable, and at the same time, informative. And, do not forget the call to action by asking for an appointment or referral.
So, the next time someone asks you, “What do you do for a living?” Quick! What do you say?
Here’s to your success!
Video: Tom Ferry Gives Insight to the 30-Second Pitch
Tom Ferry says, "If you're not unique, then you're weak!"
Tom Ferry is one of my favorite real estate coaches. In this video, he shares excellent strategies for for making your pitch stand out.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Marlene Bertrand
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on May 22, 2020:
Hi Nithya, thank you very much for your feedback. I hope these tips work for you the next time someone ask, "So, what do you do?"
Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 21, 2020:
Thank you for sharing these tips for writing a stellar 30-second elevator pitch—an interesting and informative read.
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on May 19, 2020:
Thank you Brian! I will check out Milo O. Frank's book, as well.
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on May 16, 2020:
Good advice, Marlene. The 1986 book HOW TO GET YOUR POINT ACROSS IN 30 SECONDS—OR LESS by Milo O. Frank is an additional helpful guide to that skill.
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on May 11, 2020:
Hi Rajan, this concept is new to many, however, successful salespeople use it quite frequently. It is a technique that actually works well in any conversation.
Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 10, 2020:
This concept is new to me but I can understand how important it can prove. Thanks for this information.
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on April 25, 2020:
Hi Aurelio, I think the 30-second concept is something that travels among sales people. I am so glad you like it and hope it is useful to you some day.
Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 22, 2020:
Interesting. I've never heard of the Elevator Pitch concept but I can see where it can be very useful. Thanks for telling me about it.
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on February 07, 2020:
Sorry for the delay in responding to you. I just found your comment TODAY - sitting in my comment box. I don't know where it has been hiding all this time.
Anyway, I think it is a great idea to have several pitches, each matching the situation you are in. Thank you for the excellent idea.
Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on December 30, 2019:
This is an outstanding, informative article. One thing I need to learn is how to introduce myself so that I don't come off sounding intimidating. An example would be "I'm a celebrity vocal coach". While this works fine if I'm talking to a recording star, an amateur may run the other way. Maybe I should have 2 or 3 introductions prepared?
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on November 21, 2019:
It is my pleasure. And, thank you for sharing, as well.
Luis G Asuncion from City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, Philippines on November 21, 2019:
I like your style too in introducing ourselves. Thanks for sharing.
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on November 15, 2019:
Hi Dora, the hardest part for me was being able to say what I do in such a short duration of time.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on November 15, 2019:
Great message. Thirty second sounds like the ideal time for me. I have some practicing to do. Thank you.
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on November 12, 2019:
Hello Heidi. Thank you for your positive feedback. I think anyone in sales should have a 30-second pitch ready to deliver in a moment's notice.
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on November 10, 2019:
Good tips! Everyone needs to have a 30-second pitch at the ready. Thanks for sharing!
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on November 06, 2019:
Great idea Devika. I think it would work beautifully for introducing hubs.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 06, 2019:
Hi Marlene this useful to me and you stated important points for How to Write a Stellar 30-Second Elevator Pitch. I need to follow these steps for a better presentation of hubs.
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 30, 2019:
Thank you for your feedback, Cygnet Brown. I think with so little time, every word counts and in that short time, it is best to keep the person interested, for sure.
Cygnet Brown from Springfield, Missouri on October 30, 2019:
I have heard of and even written elevator speeches, but this article definitely gives better insight into them than I have heard in the past. I especially like the point you make about making your business description more unique.
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 29, 2019:
Hello Manatita! I would give a lot to be able to be spontaneous. I tend to freeze up when I'm put on the spot and then nothing comes out of my mouth. But, if I have a planned response, then I can at least start with something and move on from there. Much love right back at you, my good friend.
manatita44 from london on October 29, 2019:
Nice! I'm a spontaneous kind of guy and it comes naturally. I use the Heart. Still, your beautiful Hub makes perfect sense. Much Love, marlene.
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 27, 2019:
Hi Sean! What you say is so true. Love will fill up an empty brain quite easily.
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 27, 2019:
Hello Bill, I hope you are willing to come back and share your elevator pitch here. I am sure it will be quite clever.
Ioannis Arvanitis from Greece, Almyros on October 27, 2019:
Excellent work, my dear Marlene! I know that it will be helpful to many people, younger or older! Thank you for sharing!
Simplicity frees a lot of space for Love!
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 27, 2019:
Great information, my friend! You had me thinking about what mine would be. I'll have to think a bit more on that, but I love the idea. I'll probably be mumbling to myself all day now practicing. :) Bev will think I've lost my mind.
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 26, 2019:
Thank you for your positive feedback Pamela. It's interesting that I sometimes find myself mirroring without thinking about it.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 26, 2019:
This is a very good way to get information across quickly. I was taught to use mirroring when I was counciling patients. You covered all the good points in a 30-second elevator conversation.
Marlene Bertrand (author) from USA on October 26, 2019:
Eric, you are so right about brevity being a lost art. Say it and get on with the day. I actually felt like shortening this article a bit, but I am told articles should be at least 1200 words or so. So, I stretched. Thank you for your feedback. It means a lot to me.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 26, 2019:
I loved this. Not for normal reasons maybe. I get about a minute maximum to get a point across to my children. My wife sometimes less. Sermon if well done can go 5 minutes. Statements in front of a jury should be under 10 minutes. Brevity is a lost art perhaps. Catch me in the first paragraph or lose me.