The Elevator Pitch: An Intro to Possibilities

Everyone in your company needs to have an elevator pitch.  You need to be able to explain what your company does as well as the value of its product or service.  This literally needs to be one of the first things that you nail down.

[bctt tweet=”You need to be able to explain what your company does as well as the value of its product or service.”]   

What Happens Without an Elevator Pitch

You are walking through Target and you see someone you have not seen in a long while.    You chat for a while and then they ask “What are you doing now?”  Your mind jumps into gear.  You suddenly realize that from everything you remember about this person, she is a perfect prospect for your business.  You want to tell her all about it with all  the enthusiasm you can and 10 minutes later you suddenly realize that she is checking her watch and you have lost her about 8 minutes ago.  What went wrong?  You are sure that you gave a great presentation.  You gave her a freebie as well as your business card, but your gut is telling you she will never really check out the business.   You think “Where did I go wrong?”  You can justify yourself and think she was just in a hurry, or you can decide to work on improving for the next time.

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Internet Marketer?

First of all did you use the term internet marketer or network marketer?  If you are in the field you most likely did and that is a huge mistake.  Most people have NO idea what that really means, but everyone has heard of scams and they know those usually are on the internet.  If someone says they are a plumber, we know immediately what that person does.  A doctor, salesman, and a secretary all give an immediate image of what that person does for a living. You can google a doctor and find him, his history, where he works and reviews about him. I can hear some people objecting in their mind saying so what do we do?  You craft the perfect elevator pitch. 

Elevator Pitch

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Your solution to the problem of what to say to people is an elevator pitch.  An elevator pitch can be defined as a short summary given quickly to an organization, group or person.  It should take from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  The term comes from an accidental meeting in the elevator.  If it is value added and interesting, the interchange will continue with a business card or scheduled meeting.

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[bctt tweet=”An elevator pitch can be defined as a short summary given quickly to an organization, group or person. “]

“I have found that an effective elevator pitch is nine things: concise, clear, compelling, credible, conceptual, concrete, consistent, customized and conversational.”       Chris O’Leary

Developing Your Pitch

OBJECTIVE

Identify the objective of the pitch. What is the message you want to give?  Of course you want to explain what it is that your company does, but you want it first be free of business babble and jargon that may mean nothing to the person you are speaking to.  It is so easy to fall into the trap thinking that everyone knows all the terminology of your business, but that is not the case. This oftentimes leaves the listener to rely on their previous experiences with our category of business. This is a dangerous risk that you don’t have to take.

[bctt tweet=”Ensuring that the explanation of your business is one sentence and free of business terminology is the first step. “]

 I do have a word of caution.  Our society is a very self-centered group of people.  Your potential client cares less about what you do and how you do it as much as what they get from working with you. Most of us spend 70 to 80% of our time talking about ourselves and not our client’s results. This is a classic mistake but a trap that’s hard to resist. Remember that as you work on your objective.

[bctt tweet=”A single sentence explaining what your company does is the first step to developing your elevator pitch. “]

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DATA

Know and describe what it is you actually do.  In this case you are looking for concrete data that demonstrates why “what you do” is a good idea and why it is good for them or their company.  By leading with results first and industry specifics last, we can hold their attention and earn the time to explain what we do in a unique way.  Data will give you the credibility that you are looking for.  It is not being given to justify the work that you do, but rather to provide “VALUE” in your explanation.  This is one part of your pitch where NO fumbling is allowed

[bctt tweet=”Data will give you the credibility that you are looking for.”]  

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YOU OR THE COMPETITION

What makes you stand out from the competition what is your spin on it?  Think of ads you have seen in newspaper or TV.  Think of your major competitor.  Why do you honestly think that YOU can do a better job for them than your competitor?  It could be something as simple as you yourself struggled in this area.  It might be a driven desire to prevent others from making the same mistakes, spending too much money, wasting time, or even risking their reputation. 

[bctt tweet=”Why do you honestly think that YOU can do a better job for them than your competitor?”]

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A QUESTION

End with a leading question. It should be a question that invites them to learn more, Say exactly what it is that you are asking for: check out my website, give me a call, purchase a product, partnership, whatever it may be.  You want to be explicit and detailed, and yet as concise as possible.  Of course it goes without saying that you are not going to ask them to spend $5,000 a month and think that your 1-2 minute pitch is going to do the trick.  Start with something a little less high-commitment than a monthly service or a high purchase price product.    

[bctt tweet=”End your elevator speech with a question.”]

Then have something to “give” your person.  It can be a flyer, postcard, business card.  Try to give the person something that could possibly be of real value to him or her.

[bctt tweet=”Be ready with something to give your person after your elevator pitch.”]    

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT    

Read that pitch out loud.  If you do not like it, change it.  Memorize that pitch until it sounds and looks convincing to you.  Then practice with friends and family.  Get their feedback, ask if they understand what you do and have them explain it to you. Use that feedback to modify and perfect your pitch.   Do not be concerned about sounding automated.  You will sound confident with your posture and your speech.  You do not want to be fumbling as that makes you appear shady, which of course, is the last thing we want to do.  You are looking to present the right balance of passion and energy, without seeming so excited that you seem desperate.

As small business owners, we often get so excited about our idea that we talk too long or give too much detail in an elevator pitch.  Halligan

After you have received feedback, adjusted the pitch, then practice it a million more times in front of a mirror.  The more you practice, the more confident, concise and passionate you will appear. 

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[bctt tweet=”Practice your elevator pitch. Get feedback, modify, and then practice some more. “]

Modify, modify and modify again.  Always continue to make alterations to that pitch.  You could even adjust your pitch to fit a particular audience. (Your ideal customer for example) Most experienced people have several elevator pitches, just as they have several ideal customer personas. Try to imitate!

Remember the goal is between 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  If you speak much longer than that, you will lose them.  If they want you to go longer, THE PERSON will ask a question and that invites you to talk again.  Always remember to give the best answer possible to that question but make it short.  You were not asked to give a speech.

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[bctt tweet=”Practice your elevator pitch. Get feedback, modify, and then practice some more. “]  

Remember that when you see someone and they ask about your business, this is the time to deliver your perfect elevator pitch.  You will most likely have several to suit the person, but make it short, informative and inviting  to entice the person to want to learn more.

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What is it that you are doing?  Do you have an elevator pitch perfected?  What is it?

#elevatorpitch  #marketing

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