“So, what do you do?” That’s the million-dollar question! Answer it correctly, and the thick walls protecting your prospect’s inner sanctum will come tumbling down. Answer it incorrectly, and you’ll be stuck outside left to wonder what went wrong.

Everyday you meet people who could use your products or services or who know others who could benefit from them. But unless you tell them what you do in a clear, concise, compelling manner, those relationships will go nowhere.

That’s why you need an elevator speech — a short description of your business that enables prospective buyers to know who you work with and what value you bring to a relationship. An elevator speech conveys these marketing messages in a way that draws clients to you.

In today’s media-saturated world, your prospect is bombarded by thousands of marketing messages from multiple sources every single day. Advertising is everywhere — television, radio, road signs, email, banner ads, direct mail, clothing, pens, newspapers, magazines and on and on. These pervasive and often intrusive methods of capturing prospects’ attention have created a backlash: Most barely notice them anymore.

To break through all this marketing clutter, it’s imperative you have an enticing elevator pitch that speaks directly to the needs of your clients. It has to roll off your tongue easily, naturally and conversationally. It needs to become a mantra you repeat over and over to yourself and others. If you repeat it often enough, eventually it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You’ll become even more of what you want to be.

So take a moment to develop your elevator pitch. Or if you already have one, review it to make sure it clearly conveys what you need it to convey. Then, practice, practice, practice, until it becomes so automatic you never miss an opportunity to tell a prospect what you do.

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.