The essential marketing tool you’re not using

An elevator speech is a quick, concise statement about what makes your company unique. It’s short enough that you can pull it off on an elevator ride. And pithy enough that you can spout it at a cocktail party — and keep your swilling audience interested. A good elevator speech is not easy to craft, but is a key part of an excellent marketing program so the time and effort you spend on yours is important.

To begin your speech, Christine Clapp of Toastmasters International suggests that in the first sentence, you present yourself as a solution to a problem, “Listeners don’t necessarily care what your job title is, how your industry describes the work you do or what degrees or technical certifications you have earned. Listeners want to know how you can help them.”

Ask yourself what problems your company solves. Don’t be afraid to ask customers how the company has helped them specifically. Research and patience to get this part right will pay dividends in the end. Asking what makes your credit union unique (do you offer extended hours, do you offer low interest rates on loans, how does your CU support your local community through projects and volunteerism, etc) can be helpful when crafting your speech.

Once you’ve gotten your listener’s attention with your problem-solving abilities, let your listener know how they can learn more about your credit union whether it’s in person, online or over the phone.

Finally, Clapp suggests ending with an open-ended question (something that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no.) This allows you to learn more about the individual you are speaking with and continue the conversation with them, potentially in further detail.

Before declaring your speech ready for prime time, test it. Practice the speech on coworkers, friends and family or even the dog. Change any portions that don’t feel natural when you say them out loud. The most important step in creating your elevator speech is ensuring that it feels comfortable to you!