If you’ve been in business any length of time you’ve heard that you should have an elevator pitch, or also known as an elevator speech or that thirty second commercial about yourself and business. Why? Because it’s vital to be able to quickly introduce yourself and business to a wide variety of audiences and situations.
What is an Elevator Statement?
There are many resources to help a business understand their USP, their unique selling proposition that many feel is at the heart of every elevator statement. What is an elevator pitch to most people? It’s a quick rattling off of accomplishments and a listing of what they do!
Me, I like to look at the elevator pitch as an opportunity to tease the person to want to learn more about me and my business while telling them what I do for others. Basically how you can help them.
I’m sure you’ve met these people that say, “Hi, I’m MarySue and our company just won an award for being a great company and we do this and that and this and that.” Right? Do I care you won an award? Well, I might if it reinforces something that is pertinent to what I need. But if you don’t know me, how do you know it will resonate with me?
Do I know what this and that? And how it can help me? On that quick introduction, I have no idea.
Results Oriented Elevator Pitch More Effective
A better tactic is typically a more results oriented approach. Some people swear that using the word “help” in every
elevator statement keeps them on point. “We help businesses keep their employees productive with tailored benefit and incentive programs.” “We help businesses lower their cost of doing business by providing as needed employees instead of full time employees.”
I like to think of the elevator pitch as your opening promotion for your business. For example: “You know how complex marketing projects can be with all the moving parts? Well, we simplify this by being a single source to make your projects seamlessly come together.”
Hopefully it’s intriguing enough that the person asks a follow-up question. Really, how? Or What types of programs? What types of businesses?
Don’t be One-Sided with Elevator Pitch
If not, then you ask what they do and then, you listen. You ask questions. You find out more and really listen to their answers. Then you offer to introduce them to others that might be in need of their services. As a result, you start to build a relationship. They aren’t going to buy from you just because you have a great elevator pitch. It’s just a good place to start.
Tips for an Effective Elevator Pitch
- Keep it short. Some experts say 60 seconds, some say 30 seconds. I typically recommend 45 seconds or less. If you do, it will keep you from getting too wordy.
- Make a list of all that you do and then turn that into a list of benefits for your customers. Once you understand how you help then you can craft your message. Never use the list as part of your pitch.
- Practice in front of a mirror. I know it sounds funny and your kids may laugh at you but if you are introducing yourself to yourself you can see where you get hung up, where you may not sound sincere and you’ll be able to see your body language. And practice regularly. Recently I crafted a new elevator pitch and when I took it out to a real audience I stumbled. I thought I had it down but I didn’t. I ended up switching to an old pitch in mid-stream. Not my finest 30 second commercial.
- Watch your body language. Do you have your arms crossed? Are you looking over their shoulder for someone more interesting to talk to? Are you slouching away from them? To get their interest, you need to be interested!
- Be approachable. You may not always be the one opening the conversation so if you want to meet new prospects at events then look like it! Don’t close yourself off in a tight circle of friends or stand by the wall with your arms crossed as most people won’t come near you.
Engagement Improves Results
- Ask Questions. This all goes to engagement and starting to establish a relationship. It’s the key for many top sales people. They know how to connect with prospects. Because you want to make them feel welcomed and appreciated. Asking questions provides the opportunity to learn more about them so that you better understand their needs. If you get this before you even introduce your “elevator pitch” then you can tailor your 30 seconds to answer a need they may have just revealed.
- Be prepared with multiple pitches. My company does many things so one pitch doesn’t fit all. Maybe you have multiple product lines that are specific to various target groups. Maybe you have a new service offering that warrants a special mentioning. Be prepared for any type of pitch that you may need.
- Make your business card work with your pitch. I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am when I
receive some business cards. Some are so flimsy that you have trouble inserting them into your business card holder. And while I applaud creativity these businesses that have cards that are 2”w x 1” high don’t understand the reason for a business card. The type is too small for anyone over 30 to read and it has very limited information. I don’t know enough about you to want to immediately go to your website to learn more. Plus, I like to write on the business card something about the person so I can remember them – if the card is that small, I can’t.
So take some time and perfect an elevator pitch or two and you’ll see how much more engaged your prospects become.
Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More