Building Your Elevator Speech

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You know it’s true: as much as you’d like to think that your work hours are limited to the time spent in the office, as a real estate agent, you’re always on. Whether you’re sitting in the packed bleachers watching your son dribble down the basketball court or standing in a stagnant line at the airport, the truth is, every person you come across is a prospect. Any new acquaintance could generate important leads. The potential is exhilarating.

How do you go from potential to profit? How do you make that all-important connection between you and a total stranger, catapulting yourself in their minds from the ranks of anonymity into a knowledgeable friend, ready and willing to help them realize their real estate dreams?

Introducing the Elevator Speech

A 20-second spiel that introduces yourself as concisely as possible, an elevator speech is a well-prepared yet extemporaneous-sounding tool that allows you to communicate the essence of what you offer. It allows you to make a fly-by pitch with any new acquaintance while still engaging in two-way conversation.

Ideally, an elevator speech should only last the amount of time it takes to ride in an elevator. Although you might feel uncomfortable about actually engaging a crammed group of people on a silent elevator ride, having a well-rehearsed elevator speech works just as well, if not better, off of quiet elevators.

So, how do you formulate this speedy introduction? Once you’ve gotten past the, “Hi, my name is Joe and I work for XYZ Real Estate as a…” where do you go from there? Here are some tips for an elevator speech that will generate leads without putting anyone to sleep. After all, the world has enough elevator music.

Determine your Niche

Since an elevator speech is only a few seconds, every word counts. Aim to use clear, powerful words. For example, instead of saying, “I work for XYZ Real Estate as an agent,” you could say, “I specialize in helping empty-nesters get their homes sold quickly and find new dream homes.”

Consider yourself a specialist; you are in some way. Pinpoint your biggest successes. From these situations, pick out a few words to describe your role in the transactions, and use them to craft your spiel.

If you truly can’t determine your personal niche, study your company’s literature and website and try to encapsulate their mission. Make it yours.

For instance, “At XYZ, we specialize in foreclosures, new homes, and land in the Tri-County area.” Even though you may be reluctant to restrict your admitted area of expertise, pretending that you know everything there is to know about real estate is silly. Establishing an area of specialization shows that you have achieved a measure of success, whether for yourself as an agent or as a member of your company. Do your best, therefore, to be as specific as possible when describing your position.

Use Everyday Language

Flowery or articulate language is great on paper; in person, it can sound pretentious. Instead of saying, “I endeavor to facilitate superior town home listing services,” you could say, “I focus mainly on the town home market.” Who wants to talk to someone who sounds like they’ve got a thesaurus hidden in their back pocket?

Along the same lines, forget all the lingo. As best as you can, design your elevator speech as though it will be delivered to people who know absolutely nothing about real estate.

Terms like “market conditions,” “FSBO,” “Short Sale,” and “HOA” can fly right over people’s heads. You’ll know this is happening when the person gets a glassy stare in his eyes and begins to smile and nod vaguely. Don’t lose a future lead by sounding too smart.

Formulate Your Pitch as a Question

This is one of the best ways of keeping a person’s interest. It also alerts you to the level of familiarity the person has with the real estate business.

“You know how hard it can be to take that step toward getting into your dream home? Well, as a real estate agent, I specialize in making it happen, especially for those looking to build.”

It’s also very important to end your speech with a question. “So, that’s what I do. How about you? Are you from around here?” By asking an open-ended question like that, you give people plenty of room to formulate their own intelligent response, even if they have no elevator speech of their own to pitch back to you. This demonstrates your willingness to listen, which is, incidentally, the very best tool you possess as a real estate agent.

Once you’ve polished your elevator speech, practice, practice, practice! Let it become such a part of you that you could present it uniquely to anyone you should meet.