Not too long ago in a land very close by, I was in an elevator leaving a pitch I had won (oh, the irony!). I was giving my elevator pitch. I watched, horrified, as my elevator buddy’s eyes glazed over just as I went into my spiel about algorithms, psychographics and mass amounts of social data.
I thought I was educating this man into buying my services. I was wrong …
The man, and probably 99.99% of other business owners out there don’t want to be educated on what you do. That’s why they’re hiring YOU – so that they DON’T have to learn the arduous processes and procedures around what you/your company does.
Thankfully, shortly after my startling realization I had a webinar with Infusionsoft, our CRM, about elevator pitches. What luck!
7 Ways To Stink Up The Elevator With Your Pitch
There are actually seven ways you can really muck up your pitch (including me, #4):
- The Opera Singer: Me, Me, Me, Meeeeeee. No, that’s not an Opera singer warming up, it’s the salesperson talking about themselves constantly. Yawn, I’m bored. Maybe I should have taken the stairs.
- The Generalist: If you give me the same, tired pitch that every other [insert your field here] gives, I’m tuning out. Think: “I’m a people person!” Or “I really care about your success.” Mmm-hmmm … I’m just going to let my eyes glaze over and think about what I’m cooking for dinner.
- The List Maker: “I can help you with … #1, #2, #3, #4 ….” If you try to tell everyone everything that you do, they won’t remember. Plus, not all of those things apply to them.
- The Professor: I can’t possibly try and teach someone all of the educational and technical things about social media. Neither can you. Nor should you. Most people don’t care about how it works, they care about WHY it will work for THEM.
- The Talker: Oh boy … I have had more than enough of these to last me a lifetime, only I never get saved by a brief elevator ride. In fact, I frequently get sat next to these people on planes. They talk, and talk, and TALK. You can’t get a word in. They usually also show major signs of being a #1.
- The Unprepared Dude (or Dudette): They fumble and mumble and say uh, um, or have unusually long periods of silence during their pitch. You basically feel really sorry for this person, but more sorry for yourself – “Why’d I bother to ask?!”
- The Buzzkill: The marketer or techie who uses a buzzword three times in every sentence. You have no idea what they’re talking about but you just nod and smile and try not to look stupid or confused.
What’s Your Hook?
Taking the above into consideration, I had to think about how to be interesting. It’s not as easy as it sounds!
My advice: Look for that one piece of information that piques the interest of your elevator buddy. Ask a question. Tell them a crazy fact or statistic. Be memorable, grab their attention, and make a statement.
Then, allow your friend to start a conversation. The more questions they ask, the more interested they are. Focus on the benefits you provide, ask lots of questions and let the conversation flow naturally.
The thing is, it’s all about getting that conversation started, and less about some “pitch”.
Great Questions Flesh Out Great Leads
As with getting to know anyone, questions are often key to great conversations.
There’s a book I highly recommend you read if you’re interested in sales. It’s called Action Selling. Truth be told, I wish I would have read this book back when I was selling and leasing real estate. I could have sold millions more!
Anyhow, Action Selling has an entire chapter on asking the best questions to find out how to better sell (or pitch!) to someone. Questions like:
- How do you/your company “win”?
- How do you/your company make money?
- How are you/your company competitive?
And of course there’s always the easy questions that involve uncovering:
Turn Your Pitch Into A Conversation
So how’d I fix my pitch? I tossed it. I’m not the professor trying to “teach” in 60 seconds or less. I listen more than I talk, and when I DO talk I ask questions that help me uncover whether or not my elevator buddy is a prospect or not.
How about you? Do you have a pitch or have you canned it for conversation? Let me know in the comments below!
See you in the social sphere!
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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and customer care agency. She's also the Co-host of The Marketing Companion podcast with Mark Schaefer, where they discuss jaw-dropping marketing trends. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout!
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