No matter what industry you’re in or what your role is in your company, you network every day. And every time someone asks you what you do, you’re giving a sales pitch (whether you realize it or not).
It’s a natural part of our daily grind – especially if you’re in sales of any kind (from sales professional to CEO). Yet I find that so many entrepreneurs don’t dedicate the time and effort they should into creating their perfect pitch.
And then when they have to stand up and deliver their pitch in front of a hundred other business owners, they’re nervous!
Preparing your sales pitch will free you. You’ll find that your pitch will feel way more natural. Then you can concentrate on making connections.
What Is An Elevator Pitch?
A sales pitch is a short introduction. It’s the most basic and versatile tool in any professional’s arsenal. Whether you’re looking to get a job, land clients, or secure funding, the sales pitch is what gets you in the door.
The “elevator” part of the name comes from the notion that a sales pitch should last no longer than an average elevator ride.
The hardest pitches are those that are in front of a group of peers (especially when they’re potential clients). I remember when I started networking and I didn’t have a ready pitch. I stood up in front of just 15 business owners and delivered a 1-minute rant that in no way differentiated me from the other web designer in the room. (Luckily there weren’t any others in the room at the time.)
These days, thanks to preparedness, I can convey my business concisely and confidently in a few short words in front of hundreds.
That’s the kind of pitch we’ll focus on developing today (I’ve included an example at the end).
The Anatomy of a Perfect Elevator Pitch
A perfect sales pitch has one simple goal: to convince your audience that you’re worth an appointment. A perfect sales pitch has a structured but natural flow: name → organization → role → hook → outcome + target → name → tag line.
Name, Organization, and Role
I think this is pretty obvious. I like to give just my first name; it feels more personal. Organization is straightforward, but notice how I used role instead of title.
So many folks like to use fancy titles to feed their ego. But the opposing party doesn’t care about that. Tell them in layman’s terms what you do at the company, and they’ll relate to you better.
By the time you’ve stated your name, organization, and role you’ve already used up 5 precious seconds. By this time many listeners are tuning out already.
It’s time to hook them, and reel them in for the climax! The best hooks are (in my opinion) either controversial, thought-provoking, or funny. If you’re going for something controversial, be careful of course. Your hook should be no longer than 7 seconds.
Outcome and Target
In his article he argues that there’s a third step to the formula: outcome; he says that’s where the selling really happens.
And he’s spot on. People don’t care about the benefit; they care about how the benefit is going to improve their life (or business).
Targeting your pitch is critical. The more specific you are the better. Being specific with your target market shows that you’ve put thought into who you’re pitching to. And remember: don’t target those in the room with you. Target their contacts.
For example, if I’m among a group of established commercial real estate brokers, I might benefit from mentioning that I’m looking for small businesses that are experiencing rapid growth now.
Here’s the thing: most of your audience didn’t pay attention the first time you said your name. They weren’t paying attention until your incredible hook and amazing outcome statement. So give them your name again and throw a witty tag line out there to further cement your place in their memory.
Characteristics of the Perfect Elevator Pitch
There are several key characteristics that will make your pitch shine brighter than the rest of the group’s:
- Dynamic. The best sales pitches are dynamic and can be tailored to the group. Remember how we targeted a specific niche based on who you’re talking to? Everything from your hook to your role to your outcome statement should be tailored to the group you’re talking to. In our earlier example, the outcome statement would paint a picture about how the brokers’ clients will be much happier in their
- Concise. Since many networking groups limit you to a 30-second pitch it makes sense that you start a habit of keeping your intro short. You’ll just make yourself look like an attention hog if you don’t.
- Authentic. People (especially seasoned entrepreneurs) can see through dishonestly. In a world where there are more shady marketers than ever an authentic pitch will be appreciated by your audience. Don’t use misleading language, and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Update: My good friend Trish Aikman added this to authentic: remember the smile. A real smile will make your pitch seem way more authentic.
- Respectful. Talking about how your brand is great. Talking about how bad your competitors are isn’t. Whether you have competitors present in the room or not, don’t try to make yourself look good at somebody else’s cost.
- Confident. A great pitch projects confidence in your brand. Let’s be honest: if you’re not passionate about the brand you represent, you shouldn’t be pitching it anyways. Being confident in your pitch really shows in the delivery though (and not the wording). Project your voice proudly, and you’ll dramatically increase the effectiveness of your pitch.
Remember Your End Goal
Remember, you’re not trying to sell your product with your pitch. You’re trying to sell your credibility as a person. Once you earn this credibility, set the appointment. The appointment is where you should close the sale.
What To Do Now?
Go write your pitch. Then rewrite it! Writing your elevator speech is like anything else: practice makes perfect. I changed mine around 40 times before I settled on a framework I really liked (and that worked in getting me more appointments).
Also, check out my blog post about More Productive Networking.
Then, after you’ve perfected the written form, practice your delivery. I find it helpful to record myself on my webcam. It’s funny how you’ll pick up on the little behaviors when you watch yourself on camera.
And Where’s That Example?
Hi! I’m Rishi. I own Monazu Creative Group. I’m a Connectioneer. I teach small business owners how to make get more profits out of their marketing budget. Again, I’m Rishi with Monazu. Stop Marketing, Start Connecting.
There it is. Go forth and network my friends!