The Elevator Pitch

It seems that much of our identity is wrapped up in the notion of what we do for a living.  When making casual conversation with people we’ve just met, the question of occupation often arises.  More often than not, the real answer to that question is far too complex for these conversations so we try to capture the essence of our livelihood in a one line bullet point: I’m a physician; I’m a banker; I’m a drug rep etc.  In sales, they call it the "elevator pitch" – the succinct answer you would give someone on a 20 second ride in an elevator.

The need to be succinct doesn’t change even when talking to those in our line of business.  Though PCA provides many products, our vocation is providing pharmaceuticals and medical supplies to clinics.  The answer often changes based on your audience: PCA provides pharmaceutical dispensing services or PCA offers dispensing software or PCA distributes medical injectables. The problem with the one-liner is that it doesn’t make any value judgments – it doesn’t really say whether or not you do these things well.

When thinking of your clinic, the same rules apply.  Every conversation brands your operation.   Sure, you might be a pulmonary specialist but what is it you are offering your patients?  You might be able to explain your specialty in 50 words or less but what does your receptionist say when asked?  At the highest level, you could say that "we make people well" but that doesn’t quite capture it, does it?  Does all of your staff really understand all that you do for patients?  These questions require no answers.  It is simply a way to look at the value you provide a little differently.  The "elevator pitch" should answer what you do but it should also give a hint as to how you do it better.  If you’re curious about how your staff describes your practice in the outside world, try asking them "what do we do?" and see how they answer.  You might be surprised.

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