What the heck is an elevator pitch?
The proverbial elevator pitch gets its name from the dream scenario of starry-eyed entrepreneurs for decades. Imagine you land an entry-level job at a huge investment firm and you have a million-dollar, brilliant, world-changing business idea. If only you could get it in front of the bigwig decision-makers in the c-suite you would be in the money. You suffer the daily grind for months until one day opportunity leaps in front of you. The big boss races to catch the elevator you just stepped into on your way to work in the 3rd-floor mail room. She hits the 30th-floor button. You look around and realize you are alone in the elevator with the one person who could change your life forever. You have one minute while she is a captive audience until she reaches her floor. What do you say? No time to think – Go!
It's a terrifying scenario for those of us who loathe self-promotion as much as trips to the dentist. But, life is made up of these fateful moments. How do you encapsulate your jewelry sales pitch into just a few brief sentences for a prospective client, investor, or collaborator? The goal is to grab their attention and leave them wanting more as you smoothly hand over your business card and ask for a meeting or phone call follow-up. Or, use your elevator pitch as an icebreaker to open up a conversation with a new contact. This exercise is a jewelry sales technique you can use as a foundation for all your business sales efforts.
Deconstructing a Jewelry Elevator Pitch
But, what do you say? I can tell you that everyone in jewelry has heard the following elevator pitch about 100 times too many:
Hi, I'm the designer behind Amy's Jewelry Studio, I make handcrafted artisan jewelry heirlooms that make women feel beautiful. Can I show you my collection?
It's solid. It's not terrible; But, it also isn't grabbing my interest or sparking any personal connections. A great pitch should start painting a picture in the listener's mind. Use imagery and color words to spark the imagination. Or, the pitch should show an authentic part of yourself that might resonate with your audience. Share experiences that could create a connection. These are the successful techniques that will help you leverage your pitch encounter into an opportunity with this person.
The Four Parts of a Great Elevator Pitch
Let's break down this elevator pitch into pieces:
1. Lead With Your Name
Hi, I'm the designer behind Amy's Jewelry Studio.
Good job here, you're off to a solid start.
2. Lay Down the Hook
I make handcrafted artisan jewelry heirlooms that make women feel beautiful.
This sentence is packed with adjectives that every single jewelry designer in history has used to describe themselves. Totally uninteresting and not at all unique. I'm sorry. That's brutal. But, it's true. I just yawned again when I re-read it. Ouch.
3. The Call-to-Action
Can I show you my collection?
The last part of your pitch should always be a call-to-action. This is the critical piece that leverages your one minute pitch into a more meaningful interaction later. The call to action should depend on your circumstances. If you're at a trade show, this request to show the collection is excellent. If you are in an elevator it would be really weird. You may need to have a few call-to-action options on deck for the moment when you hand over your card.
4. Leave Them With a Reminder
This leads us to the final, non-verbal portion of the pitch. You must have something physical at your fingertips to hand over to this prospect. It can be a business card, a postcard, or a brochure. As a jeweler, it should have an eye-catching photo of your jewelry so they can see your aesthetic at a glance. That will help fill in the mental imagery they began during your pitch. Be sure to ask for a business card or phone number in return. Get yourself to that next interaction and follow-up.
How to Assemble Your Elevator Pitch
Most of these components are pretty self-explanatory; but, #2 is where we all tend to get lost in the weeds. It is difficult to concisely summarize everything that we want to pour into our work and brands. How do you do that in just a couple of sentences? Here is a quick process outline to get you started.
- Brainstorm adjectives that describe your brand or your process. Use a thesaurus if you get stuck.
- Cross out all the trite, over-used descriptors you hear all the time in jewelry. Circle words that will catch attention and stand out. Choose just a few that are on point and impactful.
- Think about your personal story and any obstacles you have overcome to start your business
- Ask your friends and associates how they would describe your business to someone. Often, others can boil down your brand most clearly.
- Start writing down different phrases, even if they are just a few words long.
- Then, progress to weaving together sentences.
- Practice and Memorize.
- Once you are really good at your pitch, start working on variations for different audiences.
Four Strategies to Create a Great Elevator Pitch
Let's go over a few tweaks that could make Amy's pitch stronger.
1. Focus On a Unique Process
Then spice it up for laypeople who don't understand jewelry lingo.
Hi, I'm the designer behind Amy's Jewelry Studio. I use an ancient Korean technique to layer delicate leaves of gold over sterling silver jewelry that I forge with blacksmithing tools and fire. Can I show you my collection?
Notice that this is not a lecture. Amy never even says the words "keum-boo" because the audience wouldn't know what that means. Remember, the goal is to start a conversation or get a meeting later, not impress them with your tech knowledge. Instead, she paints a picture with common vocabulary. It's also intriguing that she forges with blacksmithing tools and fire. That brings several questions to mind that I immediately want to ask. Boom. Amy just started a conversation. That is how you get it done.
2. Focus On Your Personal Story
Find a point that will create a connection or grab attention.
Hi, I'm the designer behind Amy's Jewelry Studio. I was in the military and did two deployments in the Middle East. I traded in my combat boots for diamonds and gold and now I run my own jewelry design business. Can I show you my collection?
This is extra clever because Amy talks about her service history in general terms that will resonate with a wide array of people who have been in the military or have a loved one who is a veteran. Plus, it just makes her sound like a badass which can be disarming if you are expecting a typical jewelry conversation. By using general terms, she prompts several conversational opportunities. What branch? What countries? When? How did you make that huge transition?
3. Focus On What Makes Your Brand Truly Unique
Then leverage that personality in your language.
Hi, I'm the designer behind Amy's Jewelry Studio. I wanted to be a fairy when I was a little girl. Now, I collect treasures from the forest to inspire my magical collection of whimsical jewelry. Can I show you my work?
This is a sweet and charming story that a lot of women would connect with through their own childhood or a daughter's. Chances are Amy would use this pitch on women she sizes up as good prospects for her business for some reason. That makes the odds of connection even higher.
4. Focus On Your Location or Connection to a Place
Hi, I'm the designer behind Amy's Jewelry Studio. I grew up beachcombing with my mom on the shores of the Pacific Northwest. Now, I run my own business making gemstone jewelry inspired by the crashing blue waves and green landscapes. Can I show you my collection?
Places are powerful. People feel something for their home states or even places they just remember visiting on a memorable vacation. Again, this paints a beautiful mental picture and invites conversation on the details.
Comparing Strong vs. Weak Elevator Pitches
Let's go back to compare to the original pitch statement - I make handcrafted artisan jewelry heirlooms that make women feel confident and beautiful.
Now that you know the anatomy of a strong pitch, try to create a picture in your head based on that statement. It's pretty tough, right? Amy didn't provide descriptors that prompt imagination. Nor does this statement invite conversation. Do you feel the urge to ask any questions? Probably not. Are you looking forward to meeting with Amy or will you drop the card in your purse and forget about it?
What to Do When You Get Stuck
If you are having trouble identifying talking points for your brand that may be a sign your marketing needs more direction. Go back to your brand definition and your target customer analysis and then circle back to your elevator pitch later. Sometimes, you have to ping-pong back and forth between different business elements to dial in a solid strategy.
Good luck crafting your perfect jewelry business elevator pitch. Hopefully, I'll get stuck in an elevator with you at the next industry conference and you can try it out. There is something extra fun about elevator pitches that actually happen on elevators. Going up!