The Elevator Pitch: Sell yourself in less than a minute

Let’s be honest: to the average person, insurance is not very interesting or exciting. Adding insult to injury, I’d be willing to bet that most folks think insurance is a necessary evil and hate paying their premiums. Writing new business in an hypercompetitve marketplace is tough enough but, when folks perceive insurance salespeople as Ned Ryerson from “Groundhog Day”, the task of growing your book is even more challenging.

So, here’s the billion dollar question: how do you go from “I sell insurance” to something that will keep the listener from running away?

I suggest a short, well-designed commercial known as an “elevator pitch.” Imagine getting on an elevator and the person standing next to you asks what you do for a living. You now have less than a minute to spark their interest and hopefully get an opportunity for a future conversation. Wouldn’t it be great to have something planned for such an occasion?

In order to craft the perfect elevator pitch, you first need an intriguing yet vague headline. I suggest something unusual and short. For example, “I have an unusual business in a not so unusual industry” or “If I told you what I did, you won’t believe me” or “I have a niche’ business.” Hitting them with something different like that will create curiosity. If you lead off with “I sell insurance” you run the risk of losing the listener before the conversation even starts.

The next step is to let them know the type of people you want to work with. In one sentence or two, convey to the listener a little bit about your ideal client. Typically, the statement begins with the words “I work with…” Here are some examples: “I work with people who own more than one home” or “I work with people who own homes and businesses in the Wilmington area”. This is your chance to let the listener know what kind of business you’re looking for.

The third step is to give the listener a short example of how you solved a client’s problem. Typically, these statements start off with “A business owner was referred to me looking for ways…” or “I recently helped a client…”. Here’s an example of what a finished statement may sound like: “I recently helped a client who’s financially successful. She purchased a multi-unit dwelling and she needed some options to reduce her liability and protect her other assets.” Be careful, the statement should be no more than 3 sentences otherwise you may sound like you’re selling.

Lastly, you’re going to let them know who you are and that you’re in the insurance business and you need to do it in a way that maintains curiosity. Perhaps it could sound like this: “I’m Bob Smith. I’m in the insurance business. My clients come to me because I have a unique skill in handling complex insurance needs.” The purpose of the statement is to create a distance between you and your competitors by letting the listener know that you specialize.

So here’s what it sounds like when you put the whole thing together:

“I have an unusual business in a not so unusual industry. I work with people who own homes and businesses in the Wilmington area. I recently helped a client who’s financially very successful. She purchased a multi-unit dwelling and she needed some options to reduce her liability and to protect her other assets. I’m Bob Smith. I’m in the insurance business. My clients come to me because I have a unique skill in handling complex insurance needs.”

Finally, here are some ideas to help you create your perfect elevator pitch:

  1. Write several statements for each of the 4 steps. Use them interchangeably depending on the situation. The more ideas you jot down, the more options you’ll have.
  2. When creating the statements, brainstorm about what makes up your perfect client and the problems you’ve solved for them. Saying that you save people money on their insurance will attract price shoppers; saying you work with responsible people may help you insure more responsible people.
  3. Once you have created several statements for each step, practice, practice, practice until you can recite your elevator pitch in your sleep!

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Avery Manko

Hey I'm Avery, founder of The Manko Company. We specialize in promotional products and marketing tips for independent insurance agencies and other businesses. I am also the author of "Uncomplicated Marketing - A No-Nonsense Guide to Growing Your Business Using Promotional Products". Take a look at our website and let us know if you have any questions! Thanks for stopping by!

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