The elevator pitch – that pressured packed 30 seconds to 1 minute where your future success lies in someone else’s hands. What to say and how to say it so the other party is at least interested in continuing the conversation.
The assumption with most elevator pitches is that a compelling and exciting description of a business or opportunity is what makes the pitch interesting and engaging. This is important, but it is not the heart of a great elevator pitch.
I contend that the most engaging part of a conversation is the person themselves. If the person is not interesting or engaging, then what they are saying will be either half-heard or not heard at all.
Therefore, if you want your elevator pitch to be engaging, totally enwrap yourself into what you are saying. Show the passion behind the person, and the business. If the other party finds you interesting, then they will be motivated to continue talking. If the other person cannot connect with you, then what you are offering is devalued to a commodity.
Let’s consider a few scenarios where elevator pitches are used. Sales people practice their elevator pitches because they frequently meet people at networking events or similar types of meetings. Entrepreneurs practice their elevator pitch because they are always looking for something, be it new customers, investment capital, or partners who can help them succeed.
In both of these scenarios, think about the person on the receiving end of the elevator pitch. If you are at a networking meeting, would you buy from someone who immediately starts telling you how wonderful their product or service is? If you are an investor, would you put your money with someone who talks about how their product will change the industry and their sales will increase like a hockey stick?
The probable answer in either scenario is no. People, when they first meet someone, are usually most interested in who they are meeting. Who is this person? Where are they from? What is interesting about them?
If you want a great elevator pitch, start with you. What can you say about yourself that is at least intriguing, reflects your personality, and is informative? For example:
- Sales person at a networking event: Hi, I’m Ken. These types of events are uncomfortable for me. How about you? Break the ice with something personal, and in this case, showing a vulnerability. Then maybe follow up with an easy question. For example, What are you hoping for from this event? This question engages the other person in terms of their goals and aspirations. Albeit, goals and aspirations on a small scale, but goals and aspirations nonetheless. At least it is not about products.
- Entrepreneur in front of potential investors or customers: Talk about passions and what drives you. Describe why you are pursuing a product that you think will change an industry. Enable a customer or an investor to connect to you; after all, that is who they are buying. Customers and investors need to believe in the person first. Without that, they won’t even consider the product or the company.
Bottom line – In both scenarios the conversation will eventually get around to business. But the elevator pitch was the first step in that business relationship. Make the pitch a good one by personalizing it – give the other party a strong personal reason to continue the conversation.