Creating, generating ideas, developing business concepts is just the start of any creative journey. Once you’ve ‘created’ you often have to tell others about it – whether it be trying to convince them of the strength of your idea or even selling them a product or service. You rarely have long to convince people to keep listening to you – you may only have 30 seconds on the phone, or in person, before someone has decided if they’re going to engage with you – or pass. That’s why it’s worth having an ‘elevator pitch’ rehearsed and ready.
￼WHAT IS AN ELEVATOR PITCH?
Imagine you and your dream potential customer (or person you need to convince of something) are suddenly in an elevator alone. You’re only travelling ten floors (or pehaps in an airport queue, or waiting for your latte). In the very short time you’ve got alone, can you get her interested, enough to keep the conversation going or get an appointment? What you deliver in that time is your elevator pitch. It is, at most, 3-4 sentences that deliver a result.
10 STEPS TO DEVELOP YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH
1. Know what you are trying to achieve—are you looking to close or just keep the conversation going?
2. Know your target—Have you taken the time to understand your audience?
3. It’s not about you—Forget what you want to say. What’s important to your target?
4. Keep it real—Don’t use generic words or meaningless phrases. ‘Total Solution’ or ‘Innovative new approach’ come to mind. Use real words that still mean something.
5. Be specific—Don’t say “It’s our people that make the difference.” Exactly what difference do they make? And how is this different than what anyone else can claim?
6. Preparation is key—Don’t shoot from the hip. Be ready. Put some thought & research into your pitch.
7. Solve a problem—If you know your target market, you know their problem. Make sure what you are pitching solves that problem in some way. Even if one doesn’t really exist, make them worry it does!
8. Let your passion show—Enthusiasm is both attractive and catching. Don’t be a robot. Get passionate about your ability to solve their problem, and they’re more likely to believe you can.
9. Practice—Practice your pitch, just in case the opportunity presents. This is more than just writing it down. This is testing it on people you know and asking for honest feedback.
10. Keep it short—This is not a half hour presentation. You’ve got a minute or two at most. Think about a news story. What makes the headline or the first para? Just enough to make you want to keep reading. Learn from this. Make your words count!
LET’S TRY IT
Quickly, without thinking too much, write down what you are selling in 3-4 sentences: Your ‘elevator pitch’. It might be an idea, your own business, a product or service you’ve developed.
Read over what you’ve written.
Would it excite a prospect, make them want to learn more?
Does it bring out what’s truly unique or exciting about you or your product or service offering?
If you’re like most people, you might struggle to clearly articulate what you’re pitching in a compelling and concise manner. (Even experienced sales people do
a terrible job most of the time).
You must learn to sum up unique aspects of your service/ product/idea/creation in a way that excites others. You need to consider, and share, what really sets you apart.
Sometimes you have time to tell a story; many times you don’t. Ultimately, your pitch must to survive the ‘So what?’ test. In other words, you want to ensure that question is eliminated for your prospect.
“I am the owner of a small agency”. So what?
“We have clients in all sorts of industries.” So what? “We would love to work with you.” So what?
“We have an existing client interested in a cross promotion that will generate double your normal widget sales.” Okay, now I’m interested.