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A step-by-step guide to nailing your elevator pitch

Aug 23, 2017

broker-shaking-hands-224097-edited.jpgWe’ve all been told to have our elevator pitch ready. After all, you never know when you’ll bump into the CEO of the company, or a major investor who just happens to be looking for new representation.

But how many of us really have something to say, besides the dry facts of what we do? We hate to say it, but no one really cares that you’re a tenant rep broker servicing the greater Seattle area…

That’s because there are many other commercial real estate professionals just like you, and simply saying what it is you do, rather than who you are and why you do what you do, doesn’t set you apart and it certainly doesn’t get you remembered.

But distilling your differentiating factors into a concise, understandable, and memorable pitch is incredibly difficult.

We recommend using the framework created by PivotDesk co-founder David Mandell to structure your pitch:

  1. For: (target audience)
  2. Who: (pain point)
  3. Company Name: (Solution provided)
  4. As opposed to: (Competitive company/solution/alternative)
  5. We: (Differentiation)

For help coming up with ideas and putting all the pieces together, follow these steps:

1. Understand your target audience

Before you can create a compelling pitch, you need to truly understand the audience you’re targeting with said pitch.

While one target segment might be impressed with aggressive language and aspirational messaging, another might be turned off. You don’t want to get this wrong. Do as much research on your target demographic as you can, then turn it into a persona.

A persona is a detailed description of your ideal customer that humanizes them by assigning a realistic identity. Check out this helpful guide to creating a persona or avatar.

Personas are useful for a variety of reasons: they can help you craft your pitch, email messages, ads, etc.

2. Identify the pain point

Arguably the most critical component of your pitch is your pain point. The pain gives you the why of what you do, and most importantly, it helps you make a memory.

People don’t form opinions or memories based on facts, they form them based on emotion. By identifying the pain point your target audience is struggling with—difficult finding trustworthy brokers, for example—you can trigger an emotion. Once you’ve allowed someone to self-identify their emotion with your pain point, you’ve got them hooked.

3. Define your brand

Creating a personal brand is essential for any commercial real estate professional, because it is the foundation on which you build your entire business. With regard to your pitch, you need to have a strong sense of your service offering in order to capture people’s attention.

Follow these steps for creating your personal brand.

4. Research the competition

Just as important as knowing who you are, is knowing who your competition is and how to position yourself against them.

For this step, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your competition’s customers. Sign up for their mailing list, collect flyers, interview former clients etc. Then ask yourself...what is attracting customers to this person? How are they differentiating themselves? What tone and messaging is resonating with people?

Gather as much information as you can so you can build on their weaknesses and overshadow their strengths with your own.

5. Reflect on what makes you different

When was the last time you set aside time from your day-to-day work to really sit down and reflect? If it’s been awhile, then carve out an afternoon, or better yet, a weekend to do some deep thinking to determine what really makes you different from the next guy.

To generate ideas, try combing through old thank-you emails from clients, coworkers, bosses etc. What do these people have to say about you? Maybe they all commented on your willingness to go above and beyond, or maybe they were impressed by your ability to really listen. See if you can draw out common threads and build upon that.

Once you’ve taken these steps and come up with the five components of your elevator pitch, it’s time to assemble the pieces and practice, practice, practice so when that elevator opens, you’re ready.

Next: The broker's guide to better business writing

Topics: Best Practices

Nell Gable

Written by Nell Gable

Nell Gable is a freelance writer who specializes in creating compelling content for CRE companies and startups.

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