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Delivering The Perfect Elevator Pitch
Most successful entrepreneurs could talk for hours about their business, what it does, and how it works. If you’re a business owner, you could probably do the same You’ve lived your business – you know how it started, how it got to where it is now, and what you’d like it to do next. You could probably write whole books about it. The only problem is that when we’re pitching to potential customers – especially VIP potential customers who are in a rush – you don’t have time to give all that information.
You need to condense everything great about your business, and why they should consider using you, down into as short a time as possible.
A lot of people struggle with this. With so much information you want to give, what should you focus on? What should you leave out? Will the information you choose to give make sense without the context you’d normally add to it? Thankfully, many creative minds have come across this problem before and came up with the solution. It’s called the elevator pitch. It got its name because it’s so short that you’d be able to both start and finish it inside a brief trip with a stranger in an elevator.
Nobody’s sure where and when the expression originated – although Wikipedia has a collection of origin stories – it’s been around for at least three decades. Over that time, ideas on how to deliver one and what to include have been refined. We’ve collected those ideas together, and we present them to you right here on this page.
Start With A Question
Starting a conversation about what you do, and how you do it, can be challenging with someone you’ve never met before. That’s why you have to get the other party to do it for you. If you ask someone what they do for a living, they’ll likely tell you. Then, out of politeness, they’ll ask you. This is your ‘in.’ Give them your job title, and then explain what you do. As you’re doing it, weigh up your prospect’s level of attention and interest, and try to draw them into the conversation. If you’ve identified them as a potential customer, you presumably also know how and why you’ll be able to help them. Introduce that ‘how’ and ‘why’ into the conversation at an early stage.
Hit Hard Early On
Time is already of the essence with an elevator pitch, but it’s even more so for the person listening to you. We’ve seen some studies which say that a first impression is formed within seven seconds. If within those seven seconds, you haven’t secured the interest of your prospect, your chance is probably already gone. That’s why you have to come at them like an online UK Slot Games.
That might seem like a strange metaphor, but it isn’t. Compare the process of logging onto an online casino website with logging on to your doctor’s surgery’s website. Your doctor’s surgery is probably full of stock images, side headings, and excess information. An online casino page will contain nothing but casino games. It gets straight to the point and shows people what they want to see. No form of website does ‘immediacy’ better than a casino.
You, however, are not a casino. The best way to make that immediate impression is to tell your prospect exactly what you can do for them – and do it as soon as you’ve introduced yourself. When they ask what you do, tell them ‘I work in (your industry here), and I can (benefit you can bring to the potential customer goes here).’ If you’re confident you can be of value to the prospect, tell them in strong terms. If you’re not, then why are you pitching to them in the first place? And why don’t you believe in your business?
Leave Statistics Out Of It
Nobody remembers statistics – especially complicated ones – on a first impression. They might remember ideas, but they won’t remember the figures. Your prospect wasn’t expecting to hear a pitch from you today; they probably aren’t taking notes! You likely have no way of knowing for certain how much your prospect does or doesn’t know about your industry, so don’t use industry-specific words.
Make your pitch accessible. Cut jargon out of it. Take away abbreviations, and don’t use figures. Your prospect doesn’t need to know whether you can boost their profit or efficiency by 20% or 30%; they just need to know you can boost it. The finer details can come later. If, however, you’re doing better (or can perform better) than a competitor that you know your prospect is using, then make direct reference to that fact. That’s likely to get their attention.
‘My company does this’ and ‘my company does that’ aren’t good lines in an elevator pitch. Your prospect hasn’t had any direct contact with your company before today. As far as they’re concerned, you are the company. Sell your uniqueness. What makes you, as an individual, special? What is it that you do that nobody else does? What’s the one thing that makes you the best person to do whatever it is you want to do for this person? If you don’t have answers to those questions, you’re not ready to pitch. You need to know all this first, and you need to believe in it.
End With A Question, Too
You’ll only have one way of knowing whether your pitch has worked or not, and that’s by getting feedback from your prospect. Remember that the point of an elevator pitch isn’t to sell there and then – it’s to obtain a future opportunity to sell, where you can discuss matters in more detail. Don’t push too hard during the elevator pitch.
End it by saying something like ‘how do you feel about discussing this in more detail sometime?’, and note that the question isn’t the same as ‘can we discuss this in more detail?’ Asking the prospect a question that starts with ‘how do you feel’ is more likely to get you an honest answer, and open your prospect up. If they’re interested, ask for their contact details. Don’t rely on just giving them your card. Make sure they get it – but also get theirs!
Above all else, practice your delivery. Stand in front of a mirror, and run through your pitch multiple times until you’re totally happy with how it sounds, and how confident you are with it. Consider the responses you might get and any questions you may get based on the content. Become equally confident with giving the answers. You want this to be a smooth, slick operation.
To summarize:- Start with a question that leads them to ask you the same, hit them with the core information straight away, give a short, statistic-free example of your success, and then explain your part in it. That should be all that’s required. Happy pitching!