Today I shared in a coaching class about starting a coaching business. At the end of the hour, a great question was asked and I wanted to respond more fully, so I said I’d blog on the topic. This series is especially for Chris and Judy’s class, but the rest of you are welcomed to join in as well!
The question was about “elevator statements.” You know – those really exciting one-sentence blurbs that you’re supposed to be able to rattle off at gunpoint, if ever necessary. The words are so compelling that in the time it takes for a short elevator ride you have someone hearing your sentence, understanding your services and then begging to pay you for, this case, coaching.
This method of selling clearly works for some people. We wouldn’t be discussing “elevator statements” if they didn’t. Can they work for everyone? I guess – in theory. Are they worth the time to consider – to write and practice while standing in front of the mirror – especially in coach traning when you are learning about marketing and sales? Absolutely, yes; no question.
OK. I’ll flat out admit it. I found it extremely difficult to write and use an elevator statement. I’m guessing the person class today who asked the question was experiencing the same thing. With a very sincere tone, he dared to ask the question – something like, “elevator statements; do you really use them?”
Actually, for me, writing elevator statements wasn’t as difficult as using them. Everything I came up with in writing, no matter how converstational I tried to be, it never sounded authentic. The sound was stiff and laborious, and I always felt like I was being instructional and overly-explanitory.
My point in this post is to say if creating elevator statements is not coming naturally for you, know that you are not alone. Don’t panic; struggling with elevator statements is not a predictor of coaching business success.
Please return to my blog over the next couple of weeks for ways to deal with elevator statement challenges. After that, I’ll move on to an equally challenging topic for new coaches: answering the question “what is your niche?”
Hello there, this is Patrick in Dallas. Thank you for the blog entry and for answering the question I asked in the tele-class today (yes, that was me).
It’s very sound advice you offer. While I have spent 13 years in my church as a lay leader, small group leader, elder, etc…, I have an extensive background in sales, marketing and business ownership (most recently selling a franchise business I owned in January 08 to pursue Christian Coaching full time). So, with that said, I’m comfortable with all the marketing material & training. Point being: I’m not afraid of it, it’s exciting for me, but I’ve found that what I write doesn’t translate very well to the spoken word, if that makes sense.
One idea I read about, and am considering is quickly transitioning an “elevator speech” opportunity to actual coaching by saying something like, “you know, it’s easier to demonstrate coaching than it is to explain it fully…do you mind if I coach you for about 5 minutes?”. If the person says yes, then I can begin to ask them about an area of their life that they would like to change, improve or the one thing that that they keep writing down on their “new years resolution list” but they never take action on. If I can get them to discover one new aspect that helps them take action, that might “sell” the service on it’s own. Haven’t tried it yet, but one thing I have concluded is this: since I transitioned out of my business, people are starting to ask, “what are you doing now?”. Until recently I would say something like, “Well, I just sold a franchise and now I’m in training as a life coach….etc….”. I’ve decided to boldy state “I”m a life coach”, and roll with it.
Your story inspired me, and I really want to thank you for sharing your story and your heart. Be blessed in all you do, and hopefully we can meet and/or talk again sometime.
Thanks for your comments and for sharing how things are developing for you as you think through letting people know you are a life coach. Creatively doing what works for you is a great plan. I will write more on this topic in my next couple of posts. Thanks for posting.