Every agent, advisor, planner, or sales rep who actively networks is probably familiar with the ever-popular “elevator speech” – the 30-second introduction used to explain what you do so others understand how to help. A good elevator speech should be light fare, with not too much jargon or industry stuff; kind of fun (depending on your market); and memorable.
Enter the “PEEC Statement” – which stands for Profession, Expertise, Environments, and Call to Action. This very model has helped countless advisors and sales reps (including me) land a client, make a connection, or get more information. Here’s how it works.
This is a broad way of describing your role. It’s not necessarily your title, but it could be. For example, if you are a financial advisor, focus on who you help and what you help them with – just keep it pretty general. If you want to make it punchy, funny, and poignant, then do so as long as it’s appropriate and it reflects your personality.
“You know who Bernie Madoff is, right? Well, I’m one of the good guys! I’m a financial advisor focused on helping businesses with their financial management.”
The more you can differentiate yourself from your counterparts, the better. Just don’t get too cutesy or clich?. I like the direct approach, and most other people do, too.
This speaks to the areas within your business in which you have the most knowledge. So as an advisor, your expertise may be in the areas of long term care insurance, annuities, and financial planning. I wouldn’t rattle off more than three areas, though, or else it may come across that you’re trying to be all things to all people. Just talk about your top three favorites or the area in which you think you have the most expertise. Of course, these may not be your only areas of expertise – but you wouldn’t share everything on the first date, would you?
This is your target market – who you serve best and therefore wish to serve most. “I do most of my work in the physician marketplace.”
A typical concern of advisors is that they’re pigeonholing themselves or limiting other opportunities, but in my experience, the exact opposite is actuallt true. People in other fields will be attracted to you because you’re a specialist (with physicians or whomever) and therefore must be very good.
“It seems you work with mostly physicians, but as an attorney, I may have some of the same financial challenges and concerns. Do you think you could help me?” Ball is in your court.
Call to action
This is your direct request of the person you’re speaking with at that networking event, cocktail party, chamber, or association meeting. Be specific about what you’re looking to accomplish and who you’re looking to meet or be introduced to. The more specific you are (names, titles, companies), the more successful you will be.
“I’m looking to meet or be introduced to a physician who’s part of the Northeast Health Care Network. If you could provide some advice, insight or recommendations on how I can make that connection, I’d appreciate it!”
A word of caution: Don’t ask for an opportunity to sit down with them for 20 minutes to show them the value of what you do. Remember, this is not a sales pitch.
Using the PEEC Statement
Before you get too excited, there are five rules you should consider that may help put the PEEC Statement in the proper perspective.
- You have to be asked. “So, what kind of word do you do?” You can’t be working a room and introducing yourself using the PEEC Statement. (The hosts of the event may call security.) The exceptions to this rule include: you’re the speaker at an event, you’re at a networking meeting that avails you 30 seconds to tell your story, or you’re using this approach with someone you already know, such as your natural market or a client.
- You have to be short, sweet, and to the point. As in, roughly 30 seconds.
- You have to be very specific. If you like to work with small businesses, consider what industry, profession, market segment, and demographic they might represent.
- Look to create AIRtime. This isn’t just an opportunity to expand the conversation – be in the habit of asking for Advice, Insight, and Recommendations (AIR).
- Don’t compromise your brand. You shouldn’t be changing all that much given your audience. Otherwise, over time, you’ll confuse people and ultimately make yourself less referable.
Once you know your PEEC Statement (or elevator speech) cold, it should become more of mindset rather than a script. Once you know your stuff really well, it just flows as a natural conversation but the specificity of it makes it a highly effective networking tool. Deliver a prepared, powerful, and interesting PEEC Statement and enjoy the rewards of effectively promoting yourself, your career, and your practice.
Are my 30 seconds up?