Whether you run a professional service, a Fish shop or an Estate Agency, when faced with meeting people or prospective clients you have to know what to say and how to say it to get them eager to want to know more, use your services or have their regular fish and chips at your shop. Obviously perfecting your elevator pitch takes a lot practise, the best place to start is in front of your mirror or in the shower, but we will look at some points that will help you get it right from the start. By know you’ve probably figured out that it is called an Elevator Pitchbecause that’s how much time you have to get someone hooked.. just as much time as it takes before they step out of the elevator that you are sharing.. about 30 seconds!
Where do you start? Start by writing down a short description of what it is you do or your company does. Try to avoid jargon and phrases that only you and your colleagues/partner will understand. Keep it simple is always the best motto and yes another point that you probably think is an old cliché but still legend – Less is more!
With this short description in mind you can now start crafting your pitch. Remember that 80% of your success depends on your opening line so make sure this is good! One technique that we’ve found works well is to try and not make it sound like a pitch. You will definitely not get the desired excitement if you sound like you are reciting your biography! Start in a conversational manner with the problem you are trying to solve, aka the value you are offering, then follow through with the way the current alternatives are lacking, and then “bang”you’ve hit the sweet spot!
We like to think of the elevator pitch as your verbal business card. This is important – just like a business card doesn’t seal the deal for you, neither is the elevator pitch meant to sign, seal and deliver that fat contract. It is meant to entice, draw them out, like bait on a fishing line (and here I must apologise for all the references to fish but on a cold day like today this is what I’m craving! A nice steamy hot freshly caught and battered fish with slap chips like only a fish shop can make). Back to my point – It is what happens after you’ve delivered that killer pitch that matters most. One thing you need to remember when networking or meeting people – your most valuable tool is to be a good listener.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” ― Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Now comes the time where you have to be prepared for follow up questions so that you’re not caught off guard, and can respond with some quality answers. Try to exude confidence and passion but not too much you don’t want to scare people off by coming across as desperate.
You might want to adapt your pitch to your audience. Different people will respond differently to what you have to offer, how you say it and how they respond. It is a good idea to practise with your friends, you should have friends that are very different in their approach to things, and these are the best to practise on. At the end of your pitch ask them to mirror back to you what your company does. This will be a good testament of whether your pitch has nailed it or not.
Lastly don’t forget to close. You need some way in which your new contact can get in touch with you, a business card, a facebook connection, your web address or physical address. But make it something that they won’t lose, dump in the nearest bin or forget about.