We’ve written before about the importance of managing your personal brand. But with the frenetic pace of conferences, social networking, instant messaging, SMS, and random coffeehouse encounters, you can’t count on prospective clients being familiar with the online identity you’ve so carefully built up. That’s why web workers who sell their own services increasingly need to give attention to crafting an elevator pitch as well.
First popularized during the original dot-com boom as the way to gain funding from venture capitalists during chance elevator ride encounters, such a pitch is nothing more than a distilled and refined sales statement – ideally one that takes no more than 100 to 150 words to deliver.
There are two main reasons that you should spend time crafting your own personal elevator pitch. First (and most obviously) it gives you an answer to the question, “so, just what is it that you do?” But beyond that, the exercise of coming up with a succinct answer to that question can help you focus on your own strengths and understand just what market you’re in, as well as how to best sell yourself.
If you need some help getting started, visit the useful 15SecondPitch web site. Their free Pitch Wizard will walk you through one possible formula for coming up with a personal pitch: your name and contact info, who you are, what you do and why you’re the best, and your call to action. They also offer optional paid services including personal consulting to polish your pitch.
For those really time-pressured situations, you could try compressing your story into a TwitterPitch: 140 characters or less, to fit the space of a single Twitter message. That way, though, lies madness.