Take the “Pitch” Out of the Elevator

Take the “Pitch” Out of the Elevator

SalesCycle_FeaturedIn my humble opinion, we live in a world where people have an attention span of approximately 15 seconds. This is the amount of time that people look up from their screens between emails, texts, tweets and status updates and actually pay attention to the world around them. I say this partially in jest, but there’s no doubt it’s also quite true. It’s during this brief moment that you can capitalize on the chance to attract someone’s attention and redirect it towards yourself so you can quickly qualify a possible sales opportunity.

An “elevator pitch” is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition. The name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will continue after the elevator ride or end in exchange of business card or a scheduled meeting. As professional newspaper salespeople, we should all have an elevator pitch that we can quickly pull out of our sales tool belt.

That said, I’ve recently began eliminating the “pitch” from my short summary of MNA and the value we offer. The word ‘pitch’ conjures up images of a one-way exchange, with a salesperson talking at a prospect and focusing on nothing but themselves. In a traditional ‘pitch’, a salesperson is throwing information and ideas at someone, hoping to quickly sell something. However, I believe that method of selling no longer works. Today, you need to creatively redefine the ‘pitch’ and transform it into a dialogue with your audience – one where you ask a few questions, listen to the answers, and then explain how you can potentially provide solutions to business problems.

Creating an effective elevator pitch is not as easy task, but it is a necessity for all of us. In reality, we give elevator pitches quite frequently during our daily life – any time anyone asks us “What do you do?” There are four things that every effective pitch should include:

  1. Intriguing Opening (a/k/a “Attention Grabber”) – Persuade me to look up from my rechargeable electronic device and pay attention to you. A witty opening, a relevant statistic…anything to make my ears perk up.
  2. Enough About Me, What About You (a/k/a “Turn the Table”) – Stop talking, start listening. This is your opportunity to learn about your audience and qualify the potential opportunity to do business together.
  3. Value Proposition (a/k/a “I Can Help You”) – Now that you have some information about your audience, how might you be able to provide assistance to them? Remember, it’s all about them – so be sure that you focus on how they will benefit from building a relationship with you.
  4. Call to Action (a/k/a “What You Can Do”) – An elevator pitch is only as good as it’s call to action. If you’ve successfully pulled off steps #1-3, provide your audience with an opportunity to do something with their interest. Provide a clear call to action (here’s my card – drop me an email, visit our website, etc.) with the goal of setting an appointment to meet at a future date so that you can conduct a more comprehensive needs analysis.

Creating an elevator pitch not only gives you a chance to sharpen your message explaining who you are and what you do, it also gives you a clear and concise message for any opportunity in which you need to motivate action.

Have a great week,

If there are specific topics you’d like to see discussed in a future issue of The Sales Cycle, please contact me at (612) 278-0223 or dan@mna.org