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By Sandra Rea, co-founder of Full Circle Media & Author Promotions
Have you ever gotten stuck listening to someone drone on and on about his/her work, project, goal, passion or family? When this happens you want to be polite, but after the first five minutes what you really want is OUT of the conversation. It’s not a conversation anyway. It’s a diatribe. A one-sided soliloquey. It is painful.
Now, what if you are the speaker in this scenario, endlessly going on and on and on about your topic of interest? Are you guilty of this? Maybe you are but don’t realize it. Maybe you’re oblivious to the pained, blank stares and the let-me-outta-here panic in the listener’s eyes. There’s a way around this. Practice delivering a SHORT elevator pitch and get it down to about 30 seconds. Yes, 30 seconds.
Why so short? Because it needs to be delivered in a short elevator ride in response to the question we as writers, authors and professionals are always waiting to hear: What do you do? I love that question. My elevator pitch is simple and direct, followed by a friendly handing out of my business card. I say…
“Glad you asked. My name is Sandra Rea and I’m a writer. You know all those books you see on the shelves of your favorite bookstore’s non-fiction section? I might have written some of your favorites! I provide writing services of all types. I write and direct websites, blogs, marketing pieces, articles for national publication and almost anything else you can think of except technical writing! I also provide book promotions services and PR. Here’s my card.” The next question is almost always the same. The listener asks, “Have I seen any of your work?” “Yes,” I get to say, “but I’m not at liberty to tell you all of the titles of the book I’ve ghosted.”
I have permission by some of the people I’ve helped with books to share their titles. Remember, as a ghost you are supposed to keep what you do on the down low. Because we help authors in different capacities, I can direct interested parties to our site (and soon our app!) so they can browse our services. I can add, “I’m also an author. Maybe you’ve seen my e-books? And Then My Lawyer Died is one of my more popular books. I’m thinking about taking it to print.” (This title ALWAYS spawns discussion.)
This approach works well on two fronts. First, I keep my elevator pitch short and informative while weaving a little humor into it, which makes what I say more interesting. This means the listener might visit the company site and Google my name. Good for me and our business. Second, if the listener is also a reader, he/she might Google me and find all my titles. They might Google the titles of the books I am allowed to share for authors, too, which means more sales for them.
I have different cards for different settings. Recently I had a card made that covers all bases, which is a great option. I can’t wait to use ’em! I’m sure they’ll start a lot of conversations, which I’m also sure will begin with my short elevator pitch. I have different pitches for different settings, too. You should practice variations in yours. Just keep ’em short and you’ll do well. If people are actually interested in what you have to say, they will ask you follow-up questions. Your answers to each should be short with well-chosen words.
When it comes to your conversation skills, I’ll give you one tip. Be more interested in the listener than you are in sharing your rehearsed information. When you makes the focus more about them thn you it makes you more memorable. They will remember you because you were honestly and actually interested in them and their story. Everyone has a story.