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5 Things I Wish I’d Known about Elevator Pitches

Elevator Pitch Quiz:

Is it more effective to cram everything into your Elevator Pitch,

Or just talk about one thing?

Is the Elevator Pitch for making sales,

Or developing relationships?

Is the Elevator Pitch only about business,

Or can there be a personal side to it as well?

Do you expect to start conversations with everyone,

Or just with the right people.

Is it better to collect business cards,

Or make a connection?

Ready?

The answers may surprise you.

Here are 5 things I wish I’d known about the Elevator Pitch

1. Stay focused on one aspect of the business rather than trying to give a menu of all that I do

It’s so tempting to list every service you offer in the fervent hope that the person standing in front of you will want one of them.

This laundry list approach to the Elevator Pitch is as popular as it is ineffective.

It indicates that you’re seeking a sale …any sale… rather than investing in the relationship.

People can’t possibly understand everything you do the first time you meet them, so pick just one thing you do exceptionally well.

And talk about that.

Being focused draws people in.

They’ll want to get to know you.

And as they get to know you they’ll become interested in everything else you do, too.

2. To not focus on the transaction in the immediate future. Building a long-term relationship based on trust takes time…

It’s easy to contact people when you want them to buy something.

It makes a much bigger impression when you contact them to get to know them.

Be careful that your sales efforts don’t overshadow your business networking.

There’s nothing wrong with contacting people to promote an upcoming event or product.

Just don’t confuse that with networking.

In fact, when you’re networking effectively that gives you a bigger call list of warm leads.

People who are excited to hear from you and know other people you can contact who will want what you have to offer.

It does indeed take time to develop that trust.

It’s time very well spent.

3. That the elevator pitch doesn’t have to start with business info, it can start with what’s new in your personal life

Yes.

The Elevator Pitch is all about making connections.

You might connect over business.

You might connect over hobbies.

You might connect over kids, or vacations, or rhododendrons.

If you’re constantly talking about your business, you’ll sound one-dimensional.

And if you’re never talking about your business, then you’ll never make any sales.

Strike a balance among getting to know people as people, learning about their work and telling them about yours.

4. Deal with people that want to deal with you

You won’t start a conversation with everyone.

That’s fine… even expected.

The goal of business networking is to determine who you like talking to, regardless of their line of work.

When you like someone you’ll talk to them, and when you talk to them you’ll come up with ideas that help both of you.

No need to force a conversation.

In fact, if the conversation feels at all forced at the event, it won’t get any easier on follow up.

Network with the people who like talking to you as much as you like talking to them.

5. Get their business card if you want to follow up. Don’t expect them to call you…

It’s still the most frustrating phrase I hear in all of business networking:

“I gave them your contact information.”

That’s not a professional introduction.

Because they won’t call.

Hey, it’s not because they aren’t interested.

It’s because the card gets lost, or they get busy, or it slips their mind.

They intend to call, and then they don’t.

It’s your job to follow up.

So when people say they’ll call, get their contact information anyway.

They’ll be pleasantly surprised that you made the effort to follow up with them…

6. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about your Elevator Pitch?

2 comments on “5 Things I Wish I’d Known about Elevator Pitches

  1. Very practical and sound comments, Andy!

    My surprising thing: people genuinely appreciate a calm, smiling manner and focus on what they’re saying. Sometimes they will tell you. You can show attention by asking good questions so that an actual conversation occurs. It lets them off the hook, eases the jitters, and gets you both to where you can really pay attention.

    Thanks for your thoughtful post.

    1. Thanks for posting, Larry! Starting conversations is definitely a lost art, and being able to do it well opens up lots of opportunities. I appreciate your comments!

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