Thursday, 4 October 2012

The ubiquitous 'Elevator Pitch' - How to get it right

(This article will take 2 minutes to read)

What do think of when I say 'elevator pitch'? 




















Do you think of brazen sales people pitching uninterested buyers?.  Probably - and I want to dispel this myth - and in fact show that having an elevator pitch can be useful tool to more than just the sales force.




"The purpose of an elevator pitch isn't to close the sale. It's to describe a situation or solution so compelling that the person you're with wants to hear more even after the elevator ride is over." Seth Godin


When was the last time you were at an event and someone said to you: "So, what do you do?"

We are asked this seemingly simple question in different places and in different scenarios by different people - do you find yourself answering with one standard answer or do you try and modify the answer to your audience, circumstance and objective?

If you answered with the later, then you are on the right track.  You can use a simple quadrant to help you answer the question, because you need four variations for four different situations:

Were you asked at a social or a business event?  
Is the person a prospect for you or not?

Let me break these two questions down further into the four categories:
  • Social - Not a prospect
  • Social - Is a prospect
  • Business - Not a prospect
  • Business - Is a prospect
Let's then break the scenario into the two parts: Social or Business? -We will look at Social first.  

Social - 

We will use the scenario of a friends wedding.  You are at the wedding as a guest and the brides father, who is a retired army colonel and who has had his fair share of champagne and wine has engaged you in polite conversation and has inevitably asked you what you do for a living.  This is most likely a scenario where "Social - Not a prospect" applies.  Your answer therefore needs to be brief and to the point without boring your inquirer.  You can always test the "prospect - not a prospect" question by reversing the question and asking them what they do first. This way you can gauge the possible level of interest by nature of the potential opportunity.

The same scenario, a friends wedding, but now you are asked by another guest who you know runs a successful business, and whom you know could benefit from your services.  The key is to not to launch into a full on sales pitch, you are after all at a wedding, but to deliver your compelling elevator pitch and agree, if there is interest to pick up the conversation after the wedding.

The elevator pitch is not the reserve of the sales team.  As you can imagine anyone within the business can generate interest for your products, services or solutions and in doing so, directly or indirectly you can help the business you work for.

Business - 

In business scenario's you are in your zone - this is your space to generate interest in your business in your day-to-day to work.  In the business scenario, everyone is a prospect unless you have already qualified them out of being a prospect and even then you should revisit this on a periodic basis to ensure that you are not glossing over a perfectly good opportunity. 

Once again your elevator pitch in the business scenario needs to be short and concise, compelling and leaves the prospect with an interest to further the discussion. 

In summary 

Consider your elevator pitch and practice the different variations that you may need to articulate in different scenario's.  Take time to consider what your elevator pitch needs to include and remember describe the situation or solution that you can help manifest or deliver and the benefit that this can bring to the person your are engaging with - leave them wanting to know more.

Do not forget that even if you do not work work in sales you can still help your company by representing it in a good way and articulating what it does and help it helps other people or other businesses.

Lastly, try and explain now in your mind what it is your company does...how did it sound?

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