Follow Diane Twitter Facebook
Email Diane Email
Education
Mar 21, 2019

Selling Your Story: The Elevator Speech

Sponsored Content provided by Diane Durance - Director, UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

This Insights article was contributed by Keith White, MA, Certified Life Coach

When I started my coaching practice, I took a step backwards and asked myself, What is coaching?
 
I decided to develop an elevator speech that caused me to personalize my definition of coaching. My academic training and practical experience gave me a foundational understanding of coaching, but I needed to have a message, in my own words, that spoke my client’s language.
 
Success for a start-up, such as my coaching practice, requires customers; without customers all you have is a hobby. Moving from message to practice requires an intimate knowledge of your client and the ability to tell them your story. Moving someone from prospect to client involves selling yourself and your story.  
 
After an internet search, I concluded that the other practicing coaches speak a foreign language. Coaches use words like transformation, neuro-linguistic programming, holistic and co-active. These words are understood in the coaching community, but they make little sense to the potential clients.
 
Consider the dry cleaners. Do they market the chemical or the process of dry cleaning? Of course not. They simply market “one-hour service.” Other companies use simple phrases to sell the brand – Coke is the “real thing,” “things go better with Sprite,” and Ford’s “quality is job one” tell a story the client understands.  
 
My urgency to develop a personalized coaching message and my inability to personalize my coaching message became real on a date night with my wife and best friends. When my buddy found out that I had been certified as a life coach, he asked me an honest, sincere question. He simply queried, “What is coaching?”
 
My reply was clumsy and awkward. I said coaches help people who are stuck in a rut. In a light-hearted retort he said, “Yeah, my wife does that for me.” I said, “Hey, let’s order dinner.”
 
Developing the elevator speech required three things: an understanding of the marketplace; a unique product; and the ability to market your product.
 
I looked at the marketplace. I looked at the way other coaches describe coaching on their websites. I asked myself, Is the product they offer interesting? Would I hire them to be my coach? What are they offering?  I chose to take a different tack and concluded my approach would focus on the outcomes of coaching. I chose to focus on the future reality of the client. as opposed to the client’s current reality. I chose to describe the outcomes as better decision making, success in business, success in relationships, and a more fulfilling life.  
 
Over the next few weeks, I developed an elevator speech that focused on the outcomes of coaching. The three crucial tools to getting things done are wise decision-making, focus and vision. I found the analogy ‘coaching is the owners-manual for life’ led to a great discussion of the outcomes of coaching because coaching is the roadmap that guides all three of the crucial tools.    
 
For my coaching practice, developing an elevator speech was the beginning. I still needed to find a way to make money and get in front of the right people. When the aspiring entrepreneur attends a network gathering, meets someone on the street, or meets the gatekeeper for the person they want to see, an elevator speech is paramount.
 
Make sure the speech tells your story and make sure the elevator speech leads the client to ask you questions. I knew my elevator speech was effective when my potential clients started asking me questions like, “What does coaching have to do with decision-making and how does vision and focus lead to success?”
 

The Elevator Speech

Life does not come with an owner’s manual. The overnight success story is a myth. The musician who performs flawlessly is much more than talented. The secret is practice and endless repetition. The secret to success is more than passion; the secret to success is passion and persistence over a long period of time.
 
Coaches offer an owner’s manual for success and a more fulfilling life. Coaching is wise decision-making. Coaching develops a sustained vision that leads to a specific place. Along the way, coaching leads to wise decision-making, because decisions are wise when they align with your core values.
 
Clients who are coached get things done, over a long period of time. In short, coaching is the road map to a successful and fulfilling life.

Diane Durance, MPA, is director of UNC Wilmington's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). The CIE is a resource for the start-up and early-stage business community to help diversify the local economy with innovative solutions. For more information, visit www.uncw.edu/cie.  

Other Posts from Diane Durance

Uncw cie taglogo2 300x250 2151694615
Ico insights

INSIGHTS

SPONSORS' CONTENT
Jasonpathfinder3

Where to Live in Retirement Part 1: Considerations

Jason Wheeler - Pathfinder Wealth Consulting
Burrus rob headshot 300x300

Which MBA Program Best Meets Your Needs?

Robert Burrus - Cameron School of Business - UNC-Wilmington
Hardy revised

Social Workers Play Vital Role in Substance Use Treatment Process

Charles Hardy - UNCW College of Health and Human Services

Trending News

Delay Hospital Vote, Say NHRMC Medical Staff Members

Vicky Janowski - Aug 15, 2019

Wanda Coley Moves To UnitedHealthcare; Well Care Names Interim COO

Christina Haley O'Neal - Aug 15, 2019

Ulta Beauty Leases Space At Independence Mall

Cece Nunn - Aug 15, 2019

Castle St. Redevelopment Proposal Back On The Table

Christina Haley O'Neal - Aug 16, 2019

Amid Bankruptcy, Bevello Clothing Stores Shut Down, Including Mayfaire's

Cece Nunn - Aug 16, 2019

In The Current Issue

Measuring Coral Health

Researchers at UNCW have developed an instrument that measures the health of coral reefs, a tool that could be useful for other universities...


Local Distillery Makes A Splash

With Brooke Bloomquist’s background in marketing and special events and her father’s naval career and business prowess, their masterminding...


Thinking Smaller For New Subdivisions

Some homebuilders and developers in the Wilmington area are working on creating smaller subdivisions and infill communities....

Book On Business

The 2019 WilmingtonBiz: Book on Business is an annual publication showcasing the Wilmington region as a center of business.

Order Your Copy Today!


Galleries

Videos

WILMA's Leadership Accelerator
Power Breakfast - The H Word (June 13, 2019)
2019 WilmingtonBiz Expo Keynote Lunch - CEO, nCino, Pierre Naude`