In his recent blog on Inc.com, Geoffrey James shares the essential elements of an effective elevator pitch. His insights are on target, articulate, and worth sharing; but before we launch into James’ wisdom, it is worth examining the definition and purpose of the elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch is a very brief and concise introduction of yourself and “what you do.” The term “elevator pitch” was bestowed to reflect the brief nature of this introduction (can be delivered in a 15-30 second elevator ride) rather than any real relevance to your physical location when you deliver it. The elevator pitch comes into play anytime you have the opportunity to introduce yourself/your organization/the products and services you sell to a new audience or individual. Because these opportunities are frequent and the event itself so brief, it is easy to underestimate the importance of your elevator pitch. Do so at your own risk. This is often your first impression on an individual. Given both its importance and its brevity, the words in your elevator pitch should be very deliberate and impactful. Read James’ How To Give a Flawless Elevator Pitch, and then invest the time to carefully hone your own!
HOW TO GIVE A FLAWLESS ELEVATOR PITCH
By Geoffrey James
To find new customers, learn to segue the right way not the wrong way.
Most people confuse elevator pitches with sales pitches, but they’re completely different. A sales pitch is a formal presentation. An elevator pitch is a segue that takes place within a casual conversation.
Proverbially, the elevator pitch is supposed to take place in an elevator but that rarely happens. More typically, you use an elevator pitch when you run into a potential customer at a conference, trade show, or social event.
So, let’s suppose you’re at the “open bar” mixer at a trade show and somebody who doesn’t look like another vendor asks: “So, Joe, what do you do for a living?”
If you reply “I’m in sales” or “I work for ABC,” the conversation will devolve into chit-chat. Instead, you use your elevator pitch to segue into a conversation that might eventually lead to a sale.
The elevator pitch consists of three parts:
- The Benefit. That’s the reason the customer might want what you’re selling.
- The Differentiator. That’s the reason the customer might want to buy from YOU.
- The Ask. That’s where you ask for meeting the customer, if the customer shows interest.
I’ll go through each element in detail…