Many graphic designers, when asked what they do, will either answer with just “I’m a graphic designer”, or they’ll ramble a little about the types of projects they do. There’s nothing wrong with either of those responses, but there is a way to respond that is more likely to get you clients, and that’s with a polished “elevator pitch”. This is especially important for freelance graphic designers, but I’d recommend it for designers who work with agencies as well.
What Is An Elevator Pitch
Simply put, an elevator pitch is a 30-60 second commercial about yourself. The idea is that if you were in an elevator with someone and they asked “what do you do?”, you should have an answer ready that tells all the most important details of your business before the elevator ride is through. If your elevator pitch is good, when you meet a potential client at, say, a networking event, you can have them interested enough to contact you within a very short conversation. Sydney Mortgage broker George Poullos notes that in his frequent networking events, almost three quarters of participants don’t know how to provide an elevator pitch or short message which conveys what they do and how they can help you, leading to lost potential business and contacts.
What You Need To Cover
In our post 3 Questions All Marketing Needs To Answer we talked about how important it is for a business to answer the questions of who they are, what they do, and why potential customers should care. The fact is, you’re in business too, so the need for those questions also applies to you. If you cover these three points well, you will have a successful elevator pitch.
How To Write It
Get out a piece of paper. Now, write down what you do. There’s a bit of a balance here, because you want to be specific, but at the same time succinct. Treat it as if you you were making this list for someone who has no idea what a graphic designer does, but try to limit yourself to 3–4 items on your list.
Now, make a separate list of the 3 top reasons why a client should hire you rather than someone else. This can include your specialties, your experience, your training, or any other highlights of why you are a great designer. With these two lists, you now have all the points you need for an elevator pitch.
How To Use It
I don’t recommend memorizing your pitch word for word, because you’ll sound like you’re reading the script for an advertisement. I do, however, recommend memorizing the bullet points from your list, and practicing saying them in a friendly, casual manner that isn’t too boastful. Here’s an example of an elevator pitch answer to the question “what do you do”:
“I’m a freelance graphic designer. I specialize in marketing materials for small businesses: logos, brochures, websites; that type of thing. I have a background in marketing, so I can offer business owners a strategic approach to design and ensure that their materials are both attractive and effective.”
Now all you need to do is start using it! Get in the habit of answering the “what do you do” question this way, regardless of who’s asking. In a networking situation it can win you clients, but it’s even good in a social situation because it’s clear and effective communication. The people you’re talking to will have a better understanding of you and your career because of it. Plus, you never know when that person you meet socially might need a graphic designer!