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A “useless” Elevator Pitch (and 3 ways to fix it)

Can you spot the three mistakes in this “useless” pitch?

You have unread messages from Kelli...

Let’s look at the 3 mistakes, then write 3 new emails that will work better.

Mistake #1: Dear John

Ok, she didn’t literally call him John, but she might as well have.

It’s obvious that, except for the word “Phil,” she sent this exact same email to everyone.

That’s cold calling.

It’s not business networking, and it’s not an elevator pitch.

Mistake #2: Me! Me!! (oh yeah, ME!!!!)

“I hope this note finds you well” doesn’t make it about the person you’re writing to.

In fairness, it is more polite than just launching into your ask. But only barely.

It’s a trick, and an obviously transparent one at that.

Mistake #3: THIS or that…

She’s taking what I call the laundry list approach: “If I mention everything maybe something will resonate.”

That’s backwards.

You want your one thing to resonate with the right people.

If you’re message doesn’t resonate with the person standing in front of you, don’t change your message!

Find someone else who does resonate with your message.

That’s how your Elevator Pitch attracts opportunities.

Mistake #4 (BONUS!): Keep me in mind?

I would daresay that Kelli doesn’t want people to keep her in mind.


Even if the rest of the email was very engaging, people would read her closing and, even if they had the perfect job for her, they would never be inspired to call her.

OK. Now that we know what’s wrong, let’s explore 3 ways to make this email better:

Example 1:

Hey Phil,

We haven’t spoken in a while, but I wrote down that sales quote you gave me (“sales cures all ills”) and I look at it every day. Very motivating! How is you daughter doing? Is she in middle school already?

I’m writing to you because, as you may remember, I’ve been a transmission parts buyer for many years. I love the work and I am interested in a new opportunity. If you know anyone connected to the car parts buyer industry in Hackensack I would appreciate the introduction.

I look forward to catching up.


The wisdom in this email: Kelli knows something about Phil and she mentions it. This is no longer a cold call. It’s friends (or at least acquaintances). And she is very specific about the kind of job she wants and the town she wants to work in. Believe me, if Phil knows of an opportunity in Little Ferry he’ll mention it.

Example 2:


Long time no speak! I thought of you because I saw this article on skydiving <link to article> and remembered your funny story. Any more crazy adventures I should know about?

I also wanted to touch base because I’m looking for a new opportunity to sell life insurance in Manhattan. Do I remember that you really like your insurance broker? If you wouldn’t mind introducing me I’d love to get 10 minutes for his ideas on good people to talk to.



The wisdom in this email: Kelli knows something about Phil, and is sharing something that will be of interest to him. It’s not her resume, or a story about her. It’s something about him. And she is very specific about the kind of job she wants and the town she wants to work in. Believe me, if Phil knows of an opportunity selling car (or boat) insurance he’ll mention it.

Example 3:

Hi Phil,

I wanted to catch up with you for two reasons:

1. I have someone I’d like to introduce you to. I think he’ll be a great <client, contact, mentor>.

2. I wanted to let you know that I am looking for new opportunities as a technology buyer in Westchester.

Let me know a good time for a 10 minute phone call.

Look forward to catching up!


The wisdom in this email: Kelli contacts Phil to give him a referral. This is the most powerful message you can send. People will always return a call when you want to introduce them to a potential client. It does mean that you have to have a legitimate lead for them. That’s the way networking works. Once she makes the referral, Phil will be happy to listen to what she wants.

How about you??

Are you taking the time to get to know people?

Are you networking, or are you cold calling?

P.S. Not sure how to get to know people? That’s the topic of our upcoming free webinar: Expand Your Referral Network. I hope you’ll join us!

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