elevator-pitch-tacticsFrom your local coffee shop to a networking happy hour to meeting your significant other’s friends for the first time, typically the first thing people ask is “So what do you do for a living?” 

In the early 2000s, responding with “I work in Supply Chain” gave most people the “deer in the headlights” look. 

Today, while the supply chain discipline is more widely known, it’s still important to quickly and effectively be able to articulate what you do and the value you bring within your organization in layman’s terms.  

It’s always important to have a quick 30-60 second elevator pitch prepared for ANYONE you meet, as you never who you encounter and how they could not only help you in your career but perhaps use your company’s services. 

When developing your elevator pitch, be sure to keep these elements in mind:

  • Clear- Especially in the supply chain world, be sure to use language that everyone understands. The more you break it down into layman’s terms, the better.
  • Quick– Keep it short, as most people lose attention after 30 seconds. 
  • Engaging– Use attention-grabbing words that not only illuminates what you do but keeps the listener interested.
  • Targeted–  Be sure to have an outcome in mind. Are you trying to make a sale? Gain a prospect? Market yourself? You may have to tweak your pitch depending on the outcome. 

We’ll go into some best practices and elevator pitch tactics to keep in mind: 


Write Out What You Do 

A great place to start is to just write what you do. Try to do this in at least 10 different ways, and avoid editing at this point. The goal is to get as many variations of what you do down as possible. 

A good elevator pitch can be used in a variety of situations, i.e. as a personal branding or corporate branding tool that can be used either in a business or social setting. What will be the purpose(s) of your pitch? Do you imagine you’ll be using one mostly for marketing yourself? Making a sale? Searching for a job? If you don’t know where to start, a good framework is below:

My name is (Name, Title, Company). I help (Target Audience) with (Unique Value Proposition/ Action Statement). 

It’s important to note as well (depending on the goal) that you use terms that everyone can understand. In the supply chain discipline, there are many phrases or abbreviations that only fellow supply chain professionals would know, so you’ll want to make sure that you have variations that anyone can comprehend.


Let It Sit 

While what you have now looks more like a group of thoughts than an elevator pitch, it’s important to take a step back after developing your ideas and action statements before formulating a pitch, as a set of fresh eyes can make a difference. Let it sit overnight if possible.


Put Pieces Together

Read through what you’ve written. Highlight the top phrases and statements that compel you and are the most powerful statements. Then you can combine the best pieces together, try to keep it to 50 words or less and don’t forget that there will be a few variations depending on the pitch purpose(s). 

We’ll include a few variations of a supply chain recruiter’s elevator pitches with different deliverables depending on the audience/ goals:

  • Informal, asked what I do for a living: “I’m an Executive Recruiter at SCM Talent Group. I match top supply chain talent with leading organizations/ companies across the country.”
  • To Job Seekers: “My name is John Smith. I’m an executive recruiter at SCM Talent Group and we specialize in helping professionals advance their supply chain careers.”
  • To Employers:  “My name is John Smith. I’m an executive recruiter at SCM Talent Group and we specialize in partnering with companies to looking to build and optimize their supply chain organizations with top leadership talent.”
  • To Supply Chain Professionals: “My name is John Smith. I’m an executive recruiter at SCM Talent Group and we specialize in finding our clients clients top talent to transform their supply chain organization.”

Be sure to support how what you do impacts your customer or client. As you can see, depending on who the recruiter is engaging with, their pitch changes slightly to compel or relate to that individual. 


Record Yourself Reading the Pitch

Using your phone or a web service like Online Voice Recorder, record yourself reading off your new pitch(es). This way, you can see how it sounds, how long it takes you to deliver, etc. This will help you to know what edits to make.


Make Final Edits

Cut as many unnecessary words as possible. The goal is 30-60 seconds maximum, so any way you can get your point across with a clear call to action/ deliverable at the end. Remember, clear, quick, engaging and targeted. You’ll want to practice these until you can commit to memory and comes naturally.


Don’t Stop Improving! 

Another elevator pitch tactic to remember is that over time, be sure to listen for more creative or attention-grabbing phrases you could utilize to make your elevator pitch more clear and impactful. Things like you, your business and goals likely will change over time. 


If you’re looking for more advice specific for supply chain professionals, be sure to join our talent community