Why You Need an Elevator Speech

The business of Fine Art can be tough, but it is even tougher if you can't tell people what you do.

Imagine meeting someone in an elevator who asks what you do for a living. "I'm an artist." "Oh, ok. Cool." That's the end of the conversation, right? You give them nothing to follow up on, no intrigue, no specifics. No sales leads.

When salesman learn their craft, they are taught to simply continue the conversation. If the conversation ends, they lose the sale. If they keep it going, their chances increase dramatically. That is what I want you to learn to do.

Instead of, "I'm an artist", we are going to put together a quick few sentences that will draw in your new acquaintance. Maybe they aren't particularly interested in what you do, but they know someone you just HAVE to meet. Networking is a powerful thing!

If they do seem interested, handing them a business card with a link to your online portfolio is a great way to stay fresh in their minds. Ask for their email address so you can send them some images if you are feeling confident. Don't forget... always try to continue the conversation.

Create Your Unique Elevator Speech

Step 1: What you do

I am a _______ who creates _________...

Easy, peasy right? If not, it is time to give this some serious thought! You wouldn't open a store-front business without knowing what it is you are going to sell, would you? (If you would, we have a lot of work ahead, but don't give up!)

  • I am a painter who creates abstract, impressionistic landscapes...
  • I am a printmaker who creates pointillistic patterns...
  • I am a photographer who creates art noir photos of couples...

PRO TIP: Not everyone understands art lingo. Have a backup speech prepared for those folks using descriptive language instead of jargon.

  • I am a painter who creates images of landscapes that are blurry but hint at the details with lots of curving lines...
  • I am a printmaker who creates images of patterns using thousands of microscopic dots...
  • I am a photographer who creates dark, black and white images of couples...

Step 2: Who you do it for

If you don't know who you are creating for, see How to Choose Your Genuine Target Market. This step may require some decision making, but will make your elevator speech 100% more effective. Don't get too stressed about this. You are allowed to change it later.

(I am a _____ who creates_____)... for ___________.

  • ...for art collectors looking for investment pieces.
  • ...for those looking for mid-range priced prints for their home.
  • ...for business owners looking to create an out-of-the-box environment.

Step 3: Why you are unique

This is the hardest of the steps, but can easily be the most compelling. Your "why" can be just about anything. Think about it as a random fact you would share about your business in a "get to know you" game. The more interesting, the better.

If you just can't come up with anything, revisit How to Choose Your Genuine Target Market, and brainstorm what your audience might be interested in. If they are awed by anyone with artistic abilities, maybe you can create packages of matching art for them. If they are activists, maybe it is a donation to their cause. If they are computer nerds, maybe you integrate social media.

  • I sell in sets of three so you can create a cohesive look in a room.
  • I donate 25% of sales to homeless artists.
  • I choose my subject matter from images submitted from fans on my Facebook page.

Now check out these examples. You'd be interested in learning more, right?

You could put together any combination of the above examples, but here are the ones I chose to illustrate my point.

  • I am a painter who creates abstract, impressionistic landscapes for those looking for mid-range priced prints for their home. I choose my subject matter from images submitted from fans on my Facebook page.
  • I am a photographer who creates art noir photos of couples for art collectors looking for investment pieces. I donate 25% of sales to homeless artists.
  • I am a printmaker who creates images of patterns using thousands of microscopic dots for business owners looking to create an out-of-the-box environment. I sell in sets of three so they can create a cohesive look in a room.

If you found this lesson inspiring or motivating, we'd be honored to send you four more just like it every month... for free! Join 100's of others in our community by signing up below.

Learn to talk about what you do when you meet new people

Does this post speak your language? Please share it with another artist!