Ever wondered what it would be like to walk up to someone (or vise versa) and sell them you ITAL without an elevator pitch? To avoid the blank stares, heavy pauses and typically long-winded answers? I think that’d be a win-win for everyone involved, don’t you?
Granted, the coveted Elevator Pitch has helped many, and provided opportunity when the pitcher wouldn’t otherwise have know what to say… But there is also bit of undeniably awkward, stuffy, possibly robotic verbal and physical action that accompanies an elevator pitch. To avoid this and still make a deal is every business owner’s dream.
Well, I’m not here to say that the elevator pitch doesn’t have its place, or that it is null and void.
What I am saying, however, is that an elevator pitch can help refine your awkward, stuffy and nervous pitch into a more polished off the cuff conversation. Then, and only then can you move on to the next step: Forgetting the Elevator Pitch (#ForgetTheElevatorPitch)
This doesn’t mean to forget the entire process you went through, or to forget what you learned in creating your pitch; it just means to toss the actual pitch out the window.
But then there’s the question of what to do instead, right?
And you’re probably wondering why in the world I would tell you to just throw your perfectly crafted pitch away, correct?
Not the you that was made to force out the words of a rehearsed line (or paragraph) that goes by the name of “Elevator Pitch”.
No, the you that sat down, pen in hand, time ticking, in order to create that pitch. The dedicated you. The you that loves your business, wants to see it succeed. The you with communication skills, creativity, likability… That’s the person your prospects want to hire.
The only downside to this? Putting forth that you – the one that wrote, scribbled and scratched your way to character and lessons learned – only comes with practice.
Just like teaching yourself to form and memorize your own elevator pitch, you have to teach yourself how to use those same set of strategies (stay calm, fight the nerves, and just be yourself) in front of prospects – only this time on the spot, not from memory.
The only way you’ll ever gain the right customers – the ones you want, the ones that will respect you – is to be honestly you in front of them. They’ll expect nothing less than their first impression, remember that.
With all of that being said, you do need to be professional, and you can’t toss everything out the window…
To #ForgetTheElevatorPitch, below are a few pointers I put together (based off of creating an actual elevator pitch):
+ Forget run-on sentences.
How many times have you been asked, “What do you do?”, and then you blurt out your elevator pitch and it turns into dead silence afterwards? Giving away the whole shabang right away doesn’t do any good. It doesn’t leave the prospect wondering, which means they don’t want to ask questions. When this happens, the pitcher may be awkwardly awaiting a response, and the listener is wondering what to say or ask… based on the huge load that was just dumped on them. Awk. Ward. Leave room for questions, wonder, and interest.
+ Forget the complicated.
I’m a graphic designer, so when people ask me what I do, I say just that. Of course I could say a few other short variations of that, but why should I when those three words have been working? People usually express some sort of interest, whether by asking me where I work or what type of things I design. Either way, that’s all it’s really about. Cultivating a business relationship, or getting the word out about you and what you do, is pretty similar to a friendship: it can’t be rushed.
+ Forget the awkwardness.
This helps when thinking about what to say, how to say it, and when. When you forget the elevator pitch, it’s more about finding what you have in common with the person/people you’re speaking with rather than how much information you can shove down their throats. Not that all elevator pitches are terrible or stuffy – some people are actually really great at them – but they can be awkward if all you’re thinking about is how to get them to buy from you.
+ Forget the chase.
Don’t worry about scoring some huge (or tiny) deal that same day. Use the three pointers above, have a nice conversation, get their contact info, and do not think about how they could benefit you. Don’t chase them. If you strike up some sort of bond or something in common, contact them another day and bring it up. Start another conversation. Pretty soon, you’ll learn how you can help them, and maybe how they can help you, too.
This whole #ForgetTheElevatorPitch thing isn’t a new concept, it’s just not as commonly searched for as, “elevator pitch ideas”, or “elevator pitch tips”. BUT you can help me change that! (Haha, just kidding!) I will ask, though, that If you liked this post, go ahead and share it! Pin this for future reference. AND get more to your inbox, sign up here.
Oh, and Happy Easter! And April Fool’s Day!