It’s been said that our attention span is about as long as an average commercial. If you step onto an elevator and an opportunity arises to explain your business and offerings to a complete stranger, you have to be ready to go into action.

As a successful advisor, your job is to make sure that you’re filling those brief, 30-second meetings with something that could develop into a long-term professional relationship–if given the time. Here are four simple steps to cut through the static and make your next elevator ride truly productive:

  1. Create an interesting introduction that makes people want to ask, “How do you do that?”
    For instance, something like, “I help people protect and grow their savings,” will inspire others to ask for more.
  2. In responding to “How do you do that?” you must now lead others to the next pertinent question: “Why are you qualified to do that?” In the case of our example above, the next statement could be something along the lines of, “I do that by teaching people the practices of those who have not had a decline in their savings.”
  3. Here’s where you establish your value and acknowledge your line of work: “I am a certified financial planner with, Really Big Investments, LLC!”
  4. Your final step is to get contact information–exchange business cards, Twitter identities, Facebook pages, or Web sites–and ask, “What do you do?”

What does all this accomplish? If you’ve followed the steps above, you’ve established yourself as a valuable resource and an expert. More importantly, you’ve added someone to your network and made a connection that could result in having much more time somewhere down the line.