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Practice Management > Building Your Business

A fitting introduction

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The old adage tells us, “You only have one opportunity to make a first impression, so use it well.” The best way to make sure that you are ready to make the most of every prospecting opportunity is to arm yourself with a great “elevator speech.”

Legend has it that the term elevator speech began in Hollywood where a writer or director had only the time of “an elevator ride in a very short building” to pitch a movie idea. Today, the “elevator speech” is an important sales tool used by anyone who understands the importance of never wasting the opportunity to make a sale. The concept is simple: Assume that you get on an elevator on the ground floor and find yourself standing next to an important prospect. Could you, in the time it takes to get to the fifth floor, be able to convey who you are, what you do, and why that prospect should be doing business with you instead of every other insurance agent in town? If the answer is yes, then you have a great “elevator speech.”

Many successful agents have learned that the value of an effective elevator speech goes well beyond an elevator ride. They always have a well-rehearsed elevator speech ready to be used whenever — and wherever — the occasion warrants.

So, how do you create an elevator speech that is concise and persuasive? A good rule of thumb is to focus on accomplishing the following crucial steps in the sales process:

  • Get the prospects’ attention. To break through the clutter, your story needs to be descriptive and memorable, as well as simple, clear and credible.
  • Tell a convincing story. An effective story persuasively articulates the benefits you offer your clients and explains what makes you and your approach different — and so much better — than the competition.
  • Make an emotional connection. A compelling story paints a vivid picture that enables prospects to envision and identify with the benefits you offer.
  • Gain commitment and close the sale. It is important that you “ask for the sale” so that prospects take the “next step” while they are motivated.

This article is adapted from The Professional’s Guide to Financial Services Marketing: Bite-Sized Insights for Creating Effective Approaches (Wiley Publishing), by Jay Nagdeman. For more information, visit

Check out more of Jay’s Marketing Tips.


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