Ever been caught mid-bite between the grilled shrimp kabobs and the pancetta crisps at a summer BBQ with this Q?
“And what do you do for a living?”
Sweat begins to bead on your brow as you realize that, “I sell travel” doesn’t sound nearly as bougie as the chiropodist standing to your left who just returned from working with unprivileged youth at the Paralympics.
You can breathe a sigh of relief — you are not alone. Unless you are Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, or some recent grad from Stanford, crafting a sexy one-line response is challenging.
Enter the elevator pitch.
The origins of the elevator pitch date back to the early 19th century when Otis, the elevator guy, was trying to demonstrate the safety features of his new design to a large group of people in New York City.
Later, the term elevator pitch became synonymous with the act of selling oneself to a potential C-suite client in 30 seconds or less. Or, in the time it takes for an elevator to climb from the lobby to the executive floor of a prestigious business tower.
The backyard BBQ crudites station is the travel advisor’s “elevator.”
Even when we are off the clock, we should always be prepared to sell ourselves and our services. Since we are running with the bougie backyard BBQ theme…think of your sales pitch like a tightly wrapped seaweed maki roll — bite-size and delicious.
There is a plethora of articles that will provide an extensive list of all the dos and don’ts to a perfect pitch, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
Lucky for us travel professionals, our jobs sound romantic from the onset. But simply saying, ”I sell travel” probably isn’t enough to keep the interest of bikini-clad party-goers for too long.
Instead…think of designing your sales pitch in the following 3-step method.
1. WHO do you help?
Defining your target market is uber important to your business. I discuss defining your ideal client in more depth in the article 5 Ways to Create Loyal Connections with Your Client, but essentially, who do you help? Examples could be:
a) I help busy corporate execs
b) I help stressed-out grooms
c) I help empty-nesters
d) I help young families on a budget
2. WHY do they need you?
Because it’s not really about you. This part of the pitch is designed to highlight what pain point you alleviate. Examples could be:
a) Who have a lot on their plate
b) Who have been tasked with only one thing to not mess up
c) Who struggle with too many holiday options
d) Who battle to find age-appropriate vacation spots
3. WHAT benefit do they get as a result
This is where you bring it all home with the juicy outcome that will leave your listener thinking…Damn…I could use some of that or I know somebody who would definitely love to meet you. Examples could be:
a) plan relaxing vacations that ensure they unwind and have them forgetting about the office.
b) plan memorable honeymoons that won’t have them sleeping in the doghouse in their first year of marriage.
c) choose trips that match their fitness levels and lifestyle and cross off their bucket list destinations.
d) discover family-friendly travel options that keep the kids happy, factor in quiet time for the parents and don’t break the piggy bank.
The main purpose of a good elevator pitch is to leave the listener so intrigued that the next thing out of their mouth is…
🤔 “hmmmm….that sounds interesting…tell me more.” rather than have them gazing over your shoulder looking for a more suitable conversationalist.
A couple of things to avoid when creating your message…
Don’t get too clever
Sure, following the Paralympic chiropodist may tempt you to become verbose using big words but don’t fall into the trap. Keep things simple. You don’t want to risk sounding like a douchebag.
In fact, the more relatable you sound, the better. Even if you find yourself at a super hoity-toity BBQ in Forest Hill, using everyday language puts your potential client at ease no matter who they are and how much money they have.
Don’t be too polished
Practising your elevator pitch is a great idea but not to the point where it sounds canned and rehearsed. Again, your potential client will feel more comfortable working with you if you sound like a real human.
Don’t be too complicated
People don’t have the longest attention spans at the best of times, never mind when they’ve just downed three margaritas. I’ve heard pitches that left me stifling back my yawn. You know what I’m talking about. You think they won’t notice because you pull the ventriloquist’s face, trying not to move your lips, but your eyes still water. And you know they know.
Keep it short. There should be no run-on sentences. It should just be long enough to whet their appetite…and not just for more crab cakes.
Because when all is said and done, it is a backyard BBQ. You are off the clock, and probably on your third margarita yourself. It’s the perfect time to hit them with your business card and encourage them to reach out if they want to hear more. Which, of course, they will.
And the best thing…
The great thing about perfecting the maki roll of elevator pitches is that once you have it down, it goes far beyond the poolside cabana. It will become the same copy you’ll want on your website, your business cards, and your social media bios. You might even find yourself weaving it into conversations naturally whether you are asked what you do or not.
It’s going to have “legs” as they say. So it’s worth the effort to spend some time and get it right.
And at the very least, once you have your elevator pitch down, you won’t find yourself avoiding meeting new people at swanky parties. You know how I know…
because just this past weekend, I was at said BBQ by the beach when I was confronted with the icebreaker…
“And what do you do…”
To which I replied, sans armpit sweat…
“I coach travel agents who struggle to find quality clients, change up their marketing and their mindset so they can scale into wildly successful travel businesses doing what they love.”
If this sounds like something you’d like to do, be sure to book a complimentary 30-minute coaching session with me below.