Most Elevator Pitches Are A Waste of Time
There was time when we were all encouraged to have a 30 second elevator pitch ….. and they were usually very dreary and dull. Today people use variations of the same theme .. even if they don’t realise it.
Go to any networking or similar event and you’ll hear people asking “What do you do?” Often the answer is something like “I’m Fred (or Mary) and I’m Managing Director of Widgets Ltd. We are an innovative, leading edge widget agency with a client base spanning five continents> Our colour process technology is awesome and ……… ”
So what did Fred or Mary tell us?
I’ve no idea because I turned off after the first 10 seconds and even if I had paid attention they never actually said anything useful.
What’s the alternative?
Well I say something like, “I’m Stefan Drew and I’ve just completed a project where I increased FE recruitment for a large provider by 31%. We’ve also increased the ROI for a smaller provider by 47%”
By saying this I’m indicating the value we can add to a business (especially a FE provider in this case). The rationale is that no one is actually interested in what I do, they were only being polite when they asked. People are generally only interested in themselves and their business. They are probably only at the event to sell!
Value Applies to Advertising
Many adverts don’t work for similar reason. The advert doesn’t actually say anything that is is valuable. So we need to modify our ads to demonstrate the value we, or our products or services, bring to the prospect.
What is the Right Thing to Say When Networking?
Knowing the right thing to do when networking (even if not at a networking event) is essential if you are to get business. And of course there are things you shouldn’t do.
The prime objective is to demonstrate value. In the above example I’ve also kept it short and spoken in terms they understand.
When you or I answer with a value based answer the most common response we’ll get is “How do you do that?”
This is a great response as it demonstrates we’ve grabbed their interest and they are paying attention. They actually want to hear the answer.
We can then give an answer in broad outlines and finish with a question like, “Is increasing your recruitment / improving ROI / or whatever we’ve just piqued their attention with /, something you are interested in?”
Very few people say no at this stage. In fact only one person has ever said that to me .. and he was leaving the company in a few weeks. When they say Yes, you have the chance in asking “Would you be interested if i could help you with that?”
Giving a value based “elevator pitch” will get a regular flow of meetings.
Obviously you need to pre-qualify the person you are talking to (no point in meeting with people that have no authority to buy (unless they have the ear of the person that can) and you do need to determine size and value of business and all the normal pre-sales meeting things we all do. But you do have an open door into the business.