Storify Your Elevator Pitch in Just 4 Easy Steps
And Discover the Jenga Puzzle Piece You Can't Take Out Or Your Entire Pitch Will Crumble
Read Time: 5.0 minutes
If you’re a solopreneur and someone asks, “What do you do?” - how do you respond? Does your answer actually sound like you? Is your answer one that comes easily and that you're excited to use? Does your answer inspire the follow-up response you want to hear, which is "tell me more"?
— Douglass and Lisa-Marie Hatcher
If you answered “no” to any one of the above questions, there is a framework that does the hard work of putting together the perfect one-liner! A one-liner that sparks better conversations and opens more doors, whether you’re in a networking situation or on a discovery call with a prospect.
Imagine the following: you’re on a networking call where each person has 15 seconds to tell everyone about their business and what they do. When it's your turn, what happens?
- You’re excited to introduce yourself, and know people are going to be hungry to learn more about you and your business.
- You're a little anxious and wish you had a ready-to-go response.
- You say to yourself, "please don't call on me", or "call on me last" so you can hear how other people answer.
If you’re familiar with the second or third scenario, you’re not alone.
We’ve been there more times than we care to count.
Having that pit-in-your-stomach feeling is no fun, especially when you want to put the best version of yourself forward! So why is it so difficult to speak about what we do in a clear, concise and engaging way - when we know better than anyone else what we do and why we do it?
It's because when we're caught off guard, our nerves are kicking in, or the clock is ticking - we tend to focus on ourselves rather than on our audience.
That's why we've come up with a simple 4-question framework that will help you create a unique, powerful and engaging elevator pitch that is easy to remember and sounds like you! It will spark the follow-up response of "tell me more" - or get you that follow-up meeting that you want and need.
In fact, it’s a dead simple system for writing a one-liner that you can’t wait to use. Best of all, it’s in the form of a one-sentence story which makes writing it and remembering it much, much easier.
Storytelling is the difference-maker, and here's why. Think back to the last time you were excited to share a story with someone.
Did you fumble your way through it? Or did your story come out naturally, easily, and with genuine animation and excitement?
Sure, every now and again you might forget a story. But for the most part, a story you can’t wait to share is a story that’s generally super easy to tell.
After all, as we've been reminding our students over the last few years, stories are a lot easier to recall than facts, figures, or memorized scripts and far more likely to stick. It's the old "facts tell...stories sell" adage.
Ok, let's move along to today's tip.
What’s the Tip?
There's a simple solution to coming up with a conversational but crisp elevator pitch in the form of a one-liner that tells a story.
The system we created is based on a simple 4-question storytelling framework that includes a hero, a problem, a mentor, and a happily ever after solution.
The questions are:
- Who are you serving?
- What problem are they facing?
- How are you helping?
- What difference are you making?
What Are Some Examples?
We'll start with our own one sentence story.
We help busy solopreneurs create better content faster, so they can spend less time marketing and more time monetizing what they love.
The hero → busy solopreneurs
The problem → they're spending too much time on content creation.
The mentor → we provide storytelling frameworks to help busy solopreneurs create better content faster.
The difference → they can spend less time on marketing and more time monetizing their business.
Here's another example from Donald Miller, whose book StoryBrand inspired us to come up with our own one-liner framework.
We help retired couples who want to escape the harsh cold avoid the hassle of a second mortgage, while still enjoying the warm, beautiful weather of Florida in the winter.
Now, we'll break it down with our approach:
The hero → retired couples
The problem → they want to escape harsh cold winters
The mentor → the company that helps them avoid the hassle of a second mortgage.
The difference → they're able to enjoy the warm weather in Florida during the winter.
Those are just two examples. What about you? Would coming up with your own one-liner for your business or job be helpful?
Keep reading. There's a free offer at the end of this issue that you don't want to miss!
What’s the Benefit to You?
Let's take a minute and take a deeper dive into the benefits of the one-liner.
BENEFIT of Question 1: Who are you serving? → this is your customer...the hero of your story.
Notice how immediately this turns the camera from yourself, your business, and your brand to your customer or audience you want to reach.
Right out of the gate, you’re on good footing and solid ground.
And not only that, you’ve also managed to avoid the number one mistake most people make when it comes to talking about their business. And that's thinking that people care about what it is they do. They don't. They only care about what you can do for them.
Focusing on your audience...putting them first...this is the Jenga puzzle piece that you can’t take out or your entire pitch crumbles.
Thankfully, even just considering question number one sets you off on the right path.
BENEFIT of Question 2: What problem are they facing? → this is the problem or obstacle standing in the way of your hero. This could also be the villain your hero is up against. The harder the problem the better, since you’re going to be the one to help guide them to a better solution.
This question cements your interest in helping your customer and positions you for the third question.
BENEFIT of Question 3: How are you helping? → this question establishes you as the mentor, working to help your hero solve the problem, obstacle, or villain they’re facing.
Do you see how this sets up a conversation that is fundamentally different from conversations you’ve had in the past?
What you’re really doing here is what we call “conversation setting.” You are setting up the conversation that you want to have—the conversation that puts you in the best position.
And ironically, it’s a conversation that’s not focused on you at all.
Conversation-setting is different from framing. Framing is a persuasion technique with the goal of affecting how someone interprets the issue or topic you’re raising.
Conversation-setting grounds and ultimately guides the discussion you want to be having.
Let’s say, however, that you’re in a networking situation and the person you're talking with doesn't fit the profile of a possible prospect. This is bound to happen.
Do you change your script?
Do you alter your hero profile?
What do you think?
Nope. Not at all.
For two reasons.
First, you’ve chosen a target audience based on what you’re able to provide.
Second, the person you’re talking with may actually know someone who can use your service and may well refer you or give you a name of someone to contact!
BENEFIT of Question No. 4: What difference are you making? → this is the solution you’re able to provide that brings resolution to the problem for the hero.
We’ve just given you the only framework and process you need for coming up with a killer one-liner about your business that will spark better conversations and open more doors.
- Focus on your target audience. Always. This is the Jenga puzzle piece that you can’t take out or your entire pitch will crumble.
- When you talk about your business in terms of a story, you’re able to remember it better, you’re more likely to use it, and it will actually sound like you. Your elevator pitch becomes more like a casual conversation with a friend.
- Remember the power and the importance of conversation-setting. This 4-question framework gives you all the pieces you need to set, drive, and win the conversation.
Whenever you're ready to start creating powerful narratives in your business content, we can help!
1. Master the 3 StoryHacks you need to create powerful narratives in our On-Demand Course: Stress-Free Storytelling for Solopreneurs or in a Private VIP Workshop.
2. Get real-time feedback for a special project or presentation and elevate your business storytelling with live, virtual 1:1 Coaching.