Hold the Elevator, I have a Pitch!

What is the importance of a good elevator pitch? Do you even know what an elevator pitch is? Ok, so I guess I should start back at the beginning. For those of you that don’t know, an elevator pitch is a succinct and persuasive sales pitch. They call it an elevator pitch because back in the 1950’s and 60’s, companies’ executive offices were on the higher floors of their office building. Vendors and even lower ranking employees would “pitch” their business or idea to an exec in the elevator. Think Don Draper and Mad Men. They only had the time of the elevator ride from lower floors to get their pitch in. Pitches that were too long, boring or just didn’t impress were left in the elevator to head back down to the dumpsters in the basement. Successful pitches landed you in the exec’s office for further discussion.

So in today’s day and age are elevator pitches still important? You better believe it.

Gone are the days of executive suites and caste systems of hierarchy in organizations (for the most part at least). Instead, today’s modern organizations are constructed to foster collaboration and open communication between all levels of employees. But that doesn’t mean there is no use for elevator pitches. A good elevator pitch is the same as any other business communication. It should be clear, succinct and show value to solving an issue. Whether or not you are using it in an elevator is irrelevant. Here are a few tips to hone your elevator pitch for the ride up.

Introduce the solution – that’s right, the solution. That doesn’t mean skip introducing yourself. You are the solution! So feel as such and introduce yourself. Be confident in what you bring to the table and address the issue that you are the solution to. Explain the benefits of you and/or your company and explain why you are the best solution.

Be confident not cocky – there is a difference but often people confuse confidence with cockiness. Be confident in who you are and what you do. Be likeable and professional and speak with conviction. Don’t be cocky. If you think you’re the ‘sh*t’ chances are you’ll come off as just that, ‘sh*t’.

Street cred – you may not be known for your rap game but you don’t have to fake the funk when it comes to your business credentials. If you’ve worked for a competitor or a leading company in the same industry be sure to mention it, especially if it is a well-known brand. Your relevant credentials bring you instant credibility and will help develop trust as you pitch.

“you may not be known for your rap game but you don’t have to fake the funk when it comes to your business credentials”

Don’t give it all away – leave them wanting more. Remember, it’s an elevator pitch so it should be short and sweet. Yes, you won’t be able to give every important detail about yourself, your company or your solution. You should leave them wanting more and more importantly, asking for more. Chum the waters and wait for the fish to bite.

Know your limits – you want your pitch to be natural and not come off robotic or rehearsed. So know your limits and stay within them come game time. Don’t go out on a limb and try a new technique or something you haven’t yet practiced. Stay with what you know during the pitch. You don’t want to hook them and then have nothing to back it up with because you’ve over extended yourself. You’ll look foolish and do more damage than good.

Call to action – you didn’t put all this thought and effort into your pitch not to have a call to action (CTA). You’re pitching for a specific reason so let your reason or goal be known. Want them as a client, tell them so. Don’t leave things ambivalent. Be clear what you are pitching and clear as to what you want from them so your pitch results in a meeting, a conference call or some other follow up.

A Little Bit About My Blog:
I write about a vast array of topics related to marketing, public relations, business development and business management. Sometimes the topic is very focused and my blog addresses very specific challenges with specific answers. While other times my blogs take a wider view of a topic or theory and are intended to make the reader think on a macro-level as opposed to providing specific answers. It’s like the proverb says: “Feed a fish to a hungry person you’ve fed them for a day. Teach them to fish you feed them for life.” The goal is not to give you the answers but to help you solve the challenges of your business through critical thinking. Either way, I hope my blogs elicit a reaction, good or bad. If good, we can compare notes and share stories of success. If bad, we can have a good old fashion debate. May the best debater win.

View all of my blog topics and post here.

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