What is an “elevator pitch”? Quite simply, it is a short presentation designed to grab the attention of new prospects in a succinct yet comprehensive way.
Nobody seems to remember who first coined the term elevator pitch, or elevator speech, but I know it’s been around a long time, and I am often asked to help design such speeches for clients.
An elevator pitch is a short presentation that you could deliver to someone in an elevator as it travels from top to bottom, or vice versa.
It must be compelling as well as descriptive. It should contain such punch that the other person would love to buy from you. Of course, you can present such a speech in places other than an elevator!
When cold calling in person, it is a good idea to have your pitch ready. When the buyer meets you in the reception area, deliver the elevator pitch with enthusiasm, and he or she is much more likely to agree to allocate time to you. On the phone, you can use this method to obtain an appointment. You may even want to use it in a sales letter where you introduce your company to the prospect.
For those who work trade shows, have your elevator speech ready for people as they approach your booth.
I use my elevator pitch as a networking tool, and I deliver it by way of an introduction of myself and my companies.
The Main Components of the Pitch
An elevator speech should meet the following criteria:
• Keep it brief — long enough to convince, but short enough to hold the other person’s attention.
• Be articulate. Use the right tone and speed so that you don’t rush the message.
• Make it sincere — the buyer must feel that you’re a credible source (which of course you are).
• Be enthusiastic. Use appropriate excitement when telling your story. Buyers take their leads from salespeople.
Enthusiasm is infectious, and if you are not enthusiastic about your products/services or your company, change jobs!
Your elevator speech should answer these questions: Who are we? What do we do? To whom do we sell? What makes us unique? How do we bring value to our customers?
An elevator speech might sound like this: “My name is John Brown, and I work for Packaging R’us, a global leader in packaging technology. Our 20 European technical sales and service centers specialize in helping many Times Top 1000 companies solve their biggest handling, packaging and shipping headaches. Our product lines include packaging equipment and shipping supplies. Our customized solutions increase production uptime and throughput. Our customers tell us that we stand out because of our troubleshooting expertise, problem-solving creativity, and quality solutions. Last year, we won the Packaging Association Customer Satisfaction Award.”
Do remember that knowing what you want to say and rehearsing it will make this sound natural. This may be the first time the buyer has heard it — but you don’t want it to be the first time you deliver it.
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