“So, what do you do?”
If you’re in business for yourself, you’d better know how to answer that question in 30 to 60 seconds—about the time it takes for a short elevator ride.
In entrepreneurship, every person you meet could be a potential customer or know someone who might be—if only they know what you can offer them. A short, sweet “elevator pitch” tells the world who you are and what you do. Delivered with confidence, it can make an excellent first impression and potentially generate interest in you and your business. It does not necessarily have to be delivered in an elevator—or even in person. Your LinkedIn profile description, the personal statement on your resume and your social media bio are all versions of your own elevator pitch.
Don’t let the word “pitch” throw you off; this is not the same thing as a sales pitch. In fact, if you answer the question “What do you do?” with a sales pitch, you’re more likely to turn potential customers away. Nobody wants to be sold to right out of the gate. People want to do business with people they like and trust.
Your elevator pitch is really just a way to strike up a conversation so that interested parties can learn more, if they so desire. You want to give enough information to be intriguing without sounding rehearsed or coming off as pushy. The goal isn’t to close a sale; it’s to generate interest, begin building rapport and possibly prompt a referral or an invitation to speak further.