Imagine hopping into an elevator to meet with an existing client on the 14th floor. You overhear the lady next to you state to a coworker she needs to purchase a new Acme model no. 5, extra-large green widget for the downtown office. Wait a minute; YOU sell Acme no. 5, extra-large green widgets! It’s time to spring into action, but you have less than a minute before the elevator reaches the 14th floor and your new prospect gets away. No time for the Power Point, just enough information to pique curiosity, and set an appointment. That’s an “elevator speech”.
Of course, it need not be in an elevator, escalator, or restroom stall. For those of us in sales, we might have this prepared already. But have you practiced it lately? For those of us not in sales, it’s a good idea to develop one for your church, civic club or next job interview.
According to Mindtools.com, there is a simple six-step formula for creating your own “sales pitch on the fly”.
1 – Identify your goal. What is it you wish to accomplish? To set up a sales presentation or get the name of the decision maker? just to find out if the strangers organization is hiring or do you actually want to set an interview? At this stage of the game it is probably best to tread lightly and simply get the contact information.
2 – Explain what you do. What do you want your new found friend to remember most about what you say?
3 – Communicate your uniqueness. What makes you different from all the other salespeople? Is it your experience or an innovative approach?
4 – Engage with a question. Take the “temperature” of the receiver rather than trying to convince them of something. “Does that sound like something your company needs?”
5 – Put it all together. Make it informative, yet very concise. Always include an initial “ask” that isn’t too pushy.
6 – Practice. Louis Pasteur stated; “Chance favors the prepared mind”, so be ready! Remember, a “sales pitch” is a SPEECH. All great speakers and actors have to know their lines. You have to practice it, if it is to be effective.