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500+ for 50 – day 33: the elevator pitch

In sales we spend a lot of time discussing the development of our company specific elevator pitch.  If you’re not familiar with the term, the elevator pitch is a well-defined, short summary of our business that we can deliver in a short window of opportunity to anyone who inquires about what exactly it is that we do.  If we were to board an elevator in the lobby of a hotel and introduce ourselves to a fellow professional to our left or right, the idea is that we would be able to deliver this summary before the doors reopened signaling our exit.  Obviously the use of this pitch is not limited to chance encounters in an elevator.  It’s a great tool for networking, no matter the type of event or setting.

There are a lot of articles on the internet addressing the key elements to consider when formulating your elevator pitch.  And I’m not here today to attempt to provide you with a scientific analysis of your own personal summary.  To be honest, that kind of thing drives me crazy.  No one knows better how to present and sell your business than you.  Ultimately people don’t buy products or capabilities; they buy differentiating experiences from those that they can relate to and trust.  So what’s important is not the specific make-up of the pitch, but the way that you deliver it.  In a thirty second window with a stranger, most individuals are not likely to be deeply tuned in to every word that you say.  So don’t try and overwhelm them with fancy jargon.  People will remember how you make them feel.  So if you want to leave a lasting impression, work on perfecting your passion for what it is that you do.  That’s what’s going to make someone eager to learn more about you and your business.

Sales is a profession where nearly everyone is seeking answers with regards to what it takes to be successful.  And believe me, there are more than enough individuals out there willing to offer their “personal” solutions to the masses.  The professional development sections of bookstores across the country are well stocked with sales strategy materials from countless authors with a decorated track record in selling.  And some of their works are really, really good.  I believe that we can all benefit from the success stories of those who’ve excelled in our chosen field of employment.  But I do think that it’s important for us to create our own unique identity in our profession, just as each of our favorite authors has in adding their own spin to what’s already been addressed for many, many years.   After all, it’s our own distinct approach that’s going to set us apart from the competition.  And I believe that’s what we need to remember when we begin to construct our elevator pitch.

Everyone in a sales environment is going to run into competition in their respective industries.  That’s inevitable.  There’s no chance that you’re going to be the only guy selling widgets, just as I’m not going to be the lone individual offering print and direct mail solutions.  Chances are, there is someone within a few zip codes of your home office who can provide a product or service that is very similar to yours, and here’s the shocker…they can produce it for far less than you can, too.  Ouch…that stings, I know.  But it’s the reality that we all have to face at one time or another. 

So when we’re creating our elevator pitch, we need to keep a couple of key things in mind.  This is likely not the first time that our audience has heard about our product or service.  And even if it is, they’re not going to appreciate us rambling on with our industry specific verbiage.  People want to know how our product or service is going to bring value to their life or business.  And we can’t convey that by simply calling out a few features and benefits common to our industry competition.  We have to showcase our value in our delivery, and our targets need to be able to recognize our resounding belief in our business in the way that we approach them.  Be passionate about what it is that you do.  If you can’t get excited about your solutions then you can’t expect your clients to get excited about them either.

Have you ever received a call from a telemarketer who, when prompted by your “hello” simply runs through his dialogue in a monotone voice just spewing his product or service all over your lap?  What’s your natural reaction?  Hang up the phone, right?  Well, keep in mind that the same will be true if you approach a prospect in person in a similar fashion.  Even if you’re able to hold them captive for a thirty second elevator ride, I can assure you that they will tune out your approach immediately and will race for the door at their earliest opportunity to exit.  People buy from people.  And they’re not going to buy from an individual who leaves them feeling sleepy and defeated.  They’re going to hook up with the other professionals who are passionate about what they have to offer.  Because those are the types of people who will create the differentiating experiences that they’ll appreciate not simply once or twice but for a lifetime.

Your elevator pitch is more about you than anything else.  Your passion for your business is what’s going to attract the buyers who will share a similar desire for your product or service.  You’ve got a very short window to leave a lasting impression. 

So, in thirty seconds or less, tell me, what is it that makes you memorable?

May God Bless!

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