Elevator Networking

What is the Elevator Pitch?

Old school sales personnel were told to get in a lift with your prospective customer and tell him all about your products while they were stuck in the lift with you.

It was also named this because sales people were too good at talking and would go on, and on about themselves before telling the client about the product. This still happens by the way, I experienced a sales manager pitching a $200,000 service to a client and had spent 10 minutes talking about who the company was and nothing about how they were here to help the client fill their need.

So the elevator pitch was born. Senior managers told all their sales staff to learn how to make a product pitch in less than 20 seconds, the average time taken to ride an elevator, and get all the key points across in this time.

Why the method of elevator pitches still works

If anything managers and customers are even more time pressured so your sales pitch has to be done in less than 10 seconds today so everyone can move onto the next person or topic.

Learn to cut the waffle out of your sales pitch by focusing on only what you can say in 20 seconds. In generally goes like this;

  1. Introduce yourself (your company)
  2. One sentence about what you do
  3. One mention of the key product being promoted this pitch
  4. How the product meets clients needs (similar to their needs)
  5. Then throw over to the prospect to join in and start a sales conversation.

Practice makes perfect

It is still surprising to find managers or business owners that cannot summarise their business within a sentence or two. If you cannot do this, then you dont really understand your business well enough yet.

This was another benefit of the elevator pitch as it forced the sales staff to get to the heart of what their business does.

To practice your pitch write down you answers to the above questions and read them aloud to see how well they flow together. each sentence should lead the prospect into your product pitch.

Then walk across your office to the door (or mirror if you really want to challenge yourself) and say your pitch. Make sure you time yourself.

Where elevator pitches can go wrong

If you are at a conference or business event, you will be making this pitch many times so you will want to have variations to prevent someone stopping your pitch and saying I have heard this already.

The other important part of the elevator pitch is to make it interesting for listeners to remember. After all the entire point of the pitch is so they remember your product and company.

Review your customers and see if you can find any interesting or hard to fix solutions that you can use as examples, without naming or identifying them of course.

Like any pitch, you have thrown the ball to the plate and you need to see what the batter (prospect) does with your ball. This is where the challenge of elevator pitching, like any lead generation strategies, really starts.