The Elevator Pitch is Out of Order
Six years ago we blogged about how to differentiate yourself with your elevator pitch, in the unlikely scenario that you’re sharing a 22-floor elevator ride with a potential prospect. And in the last six years, you – like every other marketing and salesperson – have probably spent a lot of time and resources trying to perfect that pitch.
Here’s the problem. You’ve been toiling away perfecting a feel-good summary that tells YOUR story, not your audience’s. It’s what makes everyone proud to work for your company. It’s filled with lofty ideals, big words and corporate platitudes that look great on a banner in the cafeteria, but quickly decompress and fizzle to nothing when you get to the one-on-one customer conversation.
You need to translate your messaging in a way that is relevant to your prospect’s story. The conversation should hit on the following points:
- The challenges your customers face;
- The risks these challenges pose for their desired outcomes;
- And how your capabilities uniquely solve these problems.
Let’s imagine how this might play out. You’re at an industry event when you spot Joe Car Man. The company name and title on the badge makes you quiver with excitement, as you are Jane Brake Woman. You sidle up, introduce yourself and casually say, “GoFast Cars, huh? I’ve heard that sports-car makers have started moving into your market because of your customers’ interest in race-car caliber safety features.” He pauses, mid-sip and nods. “Must be tough for you to compete, as adding race-car safety standards, such as big rotor brakes, is potentially cost-prohibitive for you.” He looks mildly impressed and smiles slightly. “We’ve started making brakes based on big rotor technology that have the same response time but are much cheaper for our car manufacturer customers.” He puts down his drink, motions toward a chair and asks you to sit down and tell him more.
This is clearly blind meeting nirvana, but the approach is much more compelling and engaging than spewing out the value, features, benefits that you’ve memorized as your elevator pitch. Offering a distinct point of view that helps your customers see why they can no longer stay in their status quo will not only grab their attention, but might also get them to care enough to hear the rest of your story.