How To Make a Good Elevator Pitch

How To Make a Good Elevator PitchHow to make a good elevator pitch is one of the basic questions I get. And with a networking event coming up fast, it's on my mind. An elevator pitch is also called a 30-second commercial, or in my lingo, Core Message. What's scary is for all the people searching and asking about how to write a good one, there are many more who haven't thought about it at all.

"So, what do you do?"

"I, uh, sell cell phones."

"I work for a company that makes cardboard boxes."

"Well, I do SEO."

Result? Listener immediately gets bored and turns away.

On the other end of the spectrum are salespeople and business owners who want to present and sell to whoever is standing in front of them, right then and right there. Woah, Nellie.

A Mental Transformation On How To Make a Good Elevator Pitch

Sales trainer Sandy Schussel recently shared his views in "Down with elevator speeches!" The article explains Schussel's views that you should change your thinking: 'audio billboard' is his approach. Bold and compelling. Sounds good. He lists three components to an effective audio billboard:

1. Who do you solve problems for?

2. What specific few key problems do you solve for them?

3. Why should they buy from you?

What I like about Sandy's article on how to make a good elevator pitch is the way he explains these openers should be conversations between two human beings. There should be a little back-and-forth. You ought not to be speaking 100% of the time.

How To Make a Good Elevator Pitch With a Built-In Rollercoaster

Wilson Peng, an entrepreneur, also wrote an article about how to make a good elevator pitch I believe is worth sharing. Peng's different point of view, emphasizing how to "bring [your listener] on a fun rollercoaster", stood out. In my opinion the infographic at the end isn't all that useful. But the article, including the admonishment to ask your prospect a question at the conclusion of your speech, is.

How To Make a Good Elevator Pitch With My Approach

So here's my take on how to make a good elevator pitch. First, don't "wing it". You'll sound terrible and bore your listener. Second, take the time to find out the critical issues you fix for your clients. Use these as your screening tool. Yes, you are qualifying as you deliver your elevator speech--if you set it up right. Third, end with a question to get the prospect's involvement.

Here's mine:

"My name is Jason Kanigan, and I'm a sales force developer and trainer. I work with business owners, sales executives and front line sales staff who are:

  • frustrated that price keeps coming up as the number one objection from prospects
  • concerned their monthly revenue is up and down like a yo-yo
  • upset because they or their sales staff are either unwilling or unable to make prospecting calls consistently and effectively.

But I don't know if you're experiencing any of those issues..."

and I trail off. I say all this quite slowly. Much slower than I normally speak. Between each problem point I leave about a "one-mississippi" of air time. The slowdown gives the listener the chance to actually hear and understand what I'm saying. (This is also the main reason why phone prospecting goes wrong--the salesperson rushes through the delivery of the opening, and it goes right over the prospect's head...giving them the chance to react with "I'm not interested," and hang up. Want better results? Start with slowing down.) Now if this prospect really is having any of those problems, their brain will run and get that mental image. It'll resonate. They'll open up because I got past the initial trust hurdle, and start sharing some of The Truth with me about what's really going on in their world. Now we can have a conversation.

As another option for when you need a fast and killer differentiator, have a mission statement ready like mine:

"I'm on a mission to transform 100,000 salepeople from being perceived by the public as slimy tricksters who will say anything to get an order into trusted advisors who are well rewarded for their expertise."

Everyone who hears this is going to ask, "How do you do that?"

A final thought about how to make a good elevator pitch. These are for use in situations where you don't have a whole lot of time, right? So don't expect to sell your prospect right there. Use the opener to start the conversation. Qualify them a little--do they have Need for what you offer? (My students will see something important here.) Get them interested in talking with you further, and book an appointment to go into more detail. Then you can sell.

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Jason Kanigan


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