An elevator pitch should answer three things:

  1. Who you are
  2. What you do/want
  3. What benefits you bring

The reason so many people get this simple formula wrong when it comes to real estate networking is that they are so used to making this “pitch” in daily introductions in their everyday lives they forget to adjust for context when they enter “real estate mode.” For example, most new investors still have “day jobs” and work on real estate in their off hours. As a result, Jane, the elementary school teacher with a side passion for interior design and a flair for rehabbing rentals and fix-and-flips for top dollar, may actually go to a real estate convention and introduce herself this way:

“I’m Jane, and I teach fifth grade.”

Because she is used to thinking of herself as a fifth-grade teacher, Jane fails to tell her real estate audience what they need to know: She routinely adds 5 percent to the purchase prices on the flips she lists because she is a whiz with budget-minded savings, and she loves doing research on what types of counter tops and kitchen cupboards will net you seven to 13 percent more on your monthly rents by making your rental units more desirable and competitive. Jane should say:

“I’m Jane, and I design and stage properties for flippers and landlords. It’s actually really simple to raise your rental rates by $85* a month just based on what type of countertop you install! I’ve got a few recent examples on my website [offers card] if you want to check it out. What do you do?”

*this number is solely for the purposes of an example.

In about 30 seconds, Jane has told her conversation partner her name, what she does in terms of real estate, exchanged cards, and offered a memorable piece of information. Now, she’s free to have a longer conversation or go on her way. Either way, she’s made an impression and told the other participants in the conversation how they might work together now or in the future as well.

The Elevator Pitch Formula

Answer these three questions:

1| Who are you?
Answer: Your name (and, if you want, company name if the company is real estate-related)
Example: Lindsey Investor, owner of Lindsey’s Corporate Rentals
2| What do you do/want (in real estate)?
What you do in terms of real estate and, if it fits naturally, what you are seeking at the event.
Example: Lindsey is seeking a designer for her corporate rentals and looking for opportunities to buy more units.
3| What benefits do you bring?
Answer: How another investor might work with you to their benefit.
Example: Lindsey works with a lot of self-directed investors who want to own rentals that bring in more monthly income than traditional apartment units or single-family units and who use IRAs to invest. Meaning they need good, trustworthy property management because, in most cases, they should not handle that side of the investment themselves due to IRS regulations. Lindsey has a great track record, several years of producing great returns for her investors, and a proven system for managing these properties in place. Investors looking to sell properties that meet her requirements for corporate rental units may also benefit from working with her because they could do deals together.

Next Step

Now, refine all that information, which, as you can clearly see, will take a lot more than 30 seconds to convey. Get down to the bare bones! Ask yourself for every piece of information: “What does my conversation partner really need to know?”

For #1 and #2, the answer is simple. Your conversation partner needs to know your name, business name, and what you do. #3 can be a little more complicated because it is usually the most complicated to answer. Be ruthless at this point! Provide important information, and remember it’s okay to not explain everything up front. You just want to give enough information to be memorable to the people who might work with you and allow for further interaction.

In Lindsey’s case, although she might be tempted to start trying to explain self-directed investing and real estate IRAs, she should save that for later in the conversation. It should not be part of her elevator pitch! However, since her services are attractive to self-directed investors, she should mention that she works with them. If she’s talking to one, they’ll follow up from there if they’re interested. If she’s not, then there may not be any reason to explain all of that anyway.

Here’s how we boiled down Lindsey’s elevator pitch based on her three sample answers:

“I’m Lindsey Investor, and I own Lindsey’s Corporate Rentals [offers card]. I manage corporate rentals for a number of real estate investor clients including investors using real estate IRAs to invest in rental properties, and I’m hoping to meet a good stager for my properties today and hopefully get some leads on some new deals. The corporate rental market is booming in this town and I need more properties!”

Lindsey’s elevator pitch is probably a little on the long side, actually. When you write your own, be sure not to let it get any longer than hers. If you can keep it a bit shorter, that will be fine too.

Once you’ve created a good elevator pitch, practice it! You don’t want to sound rehearsed, but there is no worse feeling than getting tongue-tied when you first start networking. A little practice with some honest friends will help you determine if your introduction is clear, effective, and professional.

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