A few seconds.
What if, in those few seconds, that potential client, just making polite chit-chat, turned to you and asked: “So, what do you do?”
Would you have an answer? If not, you definitely need to think about what businesspeople call an elevator speech—a powerful and concise description of who you are and what you offer, delivered in 25 to 35 words. It should inspire your listener to say, “Tell me more.”
Maybe your answer would simply be, “I am a massage therapist.” This statement is direct and to the point, but many people have preconceived notions about massage therapy—so when you say this, people might automatically lump you in with every other massage therapist they know. This might be good or bad for you, depending on their experiences. You want to stand out, differentiate yourself and engage potential clients so they want to listen to what you have to say.
Consider some elevator speeches that people in other professions might have at the ready:
A lawyer for nonprofits could say,“I’m a lawyer for nonprofits.” Or she could say, “I’m saving the people who are saving the world.” (Sure, this is a bold statement; but if you heard it, wouldn’t you continue the conversation?)
A customer service representative could say, “I work in customer service and follow up with customers who purchase.” Or he could say, “I have a calling. I am a customer satisfaction representative who calls customers to ensure they’re satisfied. Yes is my favorite word. What’s yours?” (In addition to getting the listener’s attention, this elevator speech also engages the listener by asking a question.)
Try reinventing what you do, as in the before-and-after examples above. Rather than stating you are a massage therapist,create a short description of your services that truly brands you. One massage therapist I know calls herself the body detective—because she finds and fixes chronic pain. Another calls himself a body mechanic because he fine-tunes human structures.
Your elevator speech should:
- Fit your brand and personality. Be creative, but always be yourself.
- Be original, not generic. A lot of people are massage therapists; no one but you can provide your unique massage therapy experience. Focus on what you do better than anyone else.
- Engage your ideal client. Visualize her, in specific terms, as you craft your speech. Who is she? What kind of job does she have? How does she feel most of the time, physically and mentally? How does she wish she felt? Most importantly, how can you help her?
- Answer your ideal client’s question: “What’s in it for me?” People don’t really care about the process of what you do. They don’t even necessarily care what your job title is; they want to know the benefits of massage—what you can do for them. “Finding and fixing chronic pain” is a benefit for those with pain. Athletes, even weekend warriors, are looking for better athletic performance, or perhaps to relieve the pain of intense workouts or athletic events. Busy, stressed-out people are looking for stress relief.
Write down how you see yourself serving and helping your clients. Brainstorm some introductions, and practice them out loud. Sometimes things look great in writing, but don’t translate well into the spoken word. Think about how your clients feel when they enter a session, and how they feel when they leave. Write descriptive words for those results you help people achieve on Post-It notes or small pieces of paper, and move them around to form different sentences.
Template 1: “I help [your ideal client] so they can [outcome].”
“I help athletes who want to heal faster so they can be at peak performance.”
“I help office workers so they can eliminate computer strain and work in a more relaxed state.”
“I help stressed-out people so they can let go, relax and enjoy life more.”
Template 2: “My specialty is [creative or descriptive way to state your specialty]. [How your ideal client will benefit].
“My specialty is taking you on a mini-vacation. You will feel like you had a weekend away after a massage session.”
“My specialty is relieving chronic pain, so you can live a better quality of life.”
“My specialty is easing lower back pain. We will work together to relieve your pain so you can pick up your kids, play golf or tennis and enjoy more freedom in everyday movement.”
Practice makes perfect
If you don’t actually memorize your elevator speech, you may feel you are reinventing your answer every time you give it, and it may lose the impact it had when you first wrote it. Practice until your delivery is smooth and you can improvise as needed without stumbling or forgetting where you were. If you struggle with it or something just doesn’t sound right, change it until it rolls off your tongue authentically. Continue practicing until you can effortlessly state what you do, with confidence and clarity—and leave your listener eager to hear more.
So…what do you do?
About the Author
Shelene Taylor (www.iambiz.com) turned her struggling massage therapy career into a multimillion-dollar, multi-location success. She now shows other massage practice owners how to create purposeful and profitable businesses. Through IAMBIZ she shares the timesaving, proven and practical tools and strategies she uses in her own company.