Sidney C. Walker
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July 2010

The Elevator Talk That Never Fails...
by Sidney C. Walker


If I have heard numerous elevator talks in my thirty years of coaching. Some are quite good. They can be attention grabbing and compelling.


I have worked with hundreds of the top advisors (relationship-oriented) in the financial services business. No one has ever told me that an elevator talk was a key part of their success. There is a reason for this. An elevator talk, no matter how good it is, is usually not an effective way to introduce yourself.


The idea that you can come up with an attention grabbing, compelling way to describe what you do that will make people want to talk to is a dream of the analytical mind. If your prospects were all very analytical, the elevator talk could work to get some attention and start a conversation. But then you are only attracting super analytical people who donít usually make the best clients because they need endless information before they can make a decision. In other words, the kind of client most advisors are looking for isnít going to respond to an elevator talk.


So how do you introduce yourself in a way that will get the greatest degree of positive response from the right people? The answer is simple, not complicated or brilliantly crafted. You take an interest in the prospect. You show them that you care about them. You have all heard the often quoted phrase: "People donít care how much you know until they know how much you care."


Or how about this quote from Dale Carnegie: "You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." What do you think Dale would say about the promise of an elevator talk?


Assuming you are a relationship-builder in your approach to people, showing a sincere interest in people is really the only approach that is going to work with any consistency. What most people are going to respond positively to every time is a warm smile, a friendly presence, and most important, someone who takes an interest in them by asking them a question or two.


What do you ask them? Keep it simple. Extend your hand and say: "We havenít met. My name is Sid Walker. I work on the 5th floor." He or she will give you at least their name and probably more. Your next question will depend on the information they gave you. If they didnít tell you what kind of work they do, ask them. "What kind of work do you do?"


Then, one of my favorites is: "I may know someone who is looking for a _______, do you have a card or a website I can pass along? This will usually give you enough contact information to call them or send them something later.


If I have any verbal purists in the audience, I didnít say I know someone who is looking, I said I may know someone. Often I already have someone in mind I could refer them to as soon as I know what they do, but that is not required with this approach.


Some of you may like this language better: "From time to time I run across people looking for a _______. Do you have a card or a website I can pass along?"


The main thing is to take an interest in other people. Find out who they are and what they do by asking them questions. Then see if you can help them in some way. If the people you introduce yourself to feel you are sincere in your desire to get to know them and see if you can help them, they are most likely going to be willing to listen to you when you contact them to talk about what you do.


Here is a challenge that will make you money. See how many people you can introduce yourself to in the next 30 days. Thatís right, every time you see someone you donít know who looks like a potential client, introduce yourself and see I you can get enough information to contact them at a later date.


Step out of your comfort zone. Introduce yourself to more people. Make Dale proud! You and your bank account will be pleasantly surprised!



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