You’ve Got 20 Seconds to Change Your Life … Are You Ready?
You’ve got twenty seconds in an elevator with the literary agent/record producer/employer/customer of your dreams … can you pique their curiosity with what you’re offering?
If you’ve done your homework, you’ll have an elevator statement ready to grab their interest.
What is an elevator statement?
It’s a few carefully chosen words to try to catch someone’s attention with what you’re offering. The idea is that if you suddenly meet your perfect audience, you’ve got the time it takes to change floors in an elevator to get them interested.
It’s not the full sales pitch; it’s the quick commercial that gets them to want to know more.
Have you ever met a writer at a party and asked them what they write? The answer usually starts off like: “Well … it’s hard to describe …”
And with that, your attention wanders back to the snack table.
If they can’t describe what they do, how are you supposed to take an interest in it?
Yes, it’s hard to describe what you do, but it’s your job to do it. Take an honest look at what you’re pitching and boil it down to something you can easily rattle off in less than thirty seconds that highlights why it’s different and valuable.
What does the elevator statement do?
A good statement does a few important things:
- It sets you apart from everyone else by virtue of you being prepared.
- It shows that you’re polished and you know what you’re talking about.
- It saves you from having to think on your feet. Memorize it and you can deliver it without too much on-the-spot mental acrobatics.
- It piques their curiosity.
Now, don’t count on the elevator statement alone to completely sell them on your pitch. But what you might get is some raised eyebrows and a “Tell me more.”
Pique their curiosity and chances are they’ll ask for a demo CD or the first three chapters of your novel. And isn’t that what you really want?
Create your own elevator statement.
To start putting your elevator speech together, sit down and answer a few questions:
- What exactly am I offering?
- What is my offering similar to?
- What makes it unique?
Take a good look at your answers and as you’re crafting them into a short speech you can memorize, think about Supreme Rule of Marketing – focus on the things that matter to your audience.
Remember, the point of this is to get someone to say, “Tell me more.”
Here’s one I created for the novel I’m currently working on:
My novel River Crow is like Frank Herbert’s Dune set in a fantasy world inspired by Native American traditions. It’s fraught with internal politics and war as the tribes struggle with one another and against an encroaching Bronze Age culture. While most modern fantasy novels are based on feudal Europe, River Crow explores the unique world and characters of a Stone Age culture, while still offering the adventure and magical elements familiar to fantasy readers.
I’d love to hear what you have for your elevator statement and what you think about mine. If you don’t have one, draft it right now and post it in the comments. Don’t be shy; we’ll all be nice.