The moment you've been waiting for to deliver your perfect elevator pitch!
THE CEO—the Big Kahuna—just stepped onto the elevator and you jumped on just before it closed.
If your shortness of breath, sweaty forehead, and flushed skin didn't give you away, the fact you didn't even select a floor,...
but just stared right at the VIP...
ready to deliver your USP...
about your SaaS CRM,...
approved by IT for HR, AEs, and C-Level MBAs...
because it's ISO-9001 and PETA-certified for NAFTA,...
with a neutral CO(2) footprint,...
let her know a pitch was coming.
(You're about to make it rain. Yeah Baby!)
Show Up...and Throw Up?
Now you blurt out something about
- paradigm shifts,
- leveraging best practices,
- tiger teams,
- swim lanes,
- S.W.A.T. teams,
- "bigger than eBay,"
- patented technology,
- "no competition," and
- "If just 1/10th of 1% of half the people on the 4th day buy..."
...and it took just 73 seconds without even taking a breath.
Victory, right? That's what all the experts teach, don't they?
You Sound Like a Robo-Call
Let me ask you something: how is this any different than the auto-dialer phone call you get during dinner, where the "pitch man" on the other end of the phone forces you to choose between politely waiting for him to breathe so you can say "Sorry, not interested," or rudely hanging up?
But, Wes, sometimes we only get one shot and we have to seize the moment and go for broke and hold nothing back and grab the bull by the horns.”
Yes. That is true. It's just rare that you have to assault someone with your sales pitch in the manner described above.
So while I applaud you for following the Boy Scout motto of always being prepared, let's look at this a little more realistically.
In this situation, I'd recommend you try something along the lines of "Ms. VIP, May I ask you a question?" (Don't even start with your name or company name.
We all forget them anyway, and that just puts pressure on her to try and remember it. We want her full attention for 70 seconds, so start by asking permission to engage.)
She will politely say "Sure."
"If there was a service that was helping your #1 competitor respond to 100% of their inbound leads in under 15 minutes with targeted, relevant information that the prospect asked for, and it was helping them shorten their sales cycle by 57% over the last quarter, who in your company would you want to look at it?"
That took me 19.56 seconds to say out loud.
"But, Wes, I live in a town with no elevators. What do I say at a networking event or mixer where I'm trying to break the ice with people I may or may not know?"
As you're hanging out eating your meatballs and crackers and drinking wine out of a plastic cup and someone asks, "What do you do?" have a reply ready that is suitable for the type of people that are in attendance.
For example, if I'm at an event of small business owners and someone asks me what I do, I respond with "I'm an expert in sales and marketing automation. How about you?"
(Remember the new ABCs of selling include "always be concise.")
While I might also use that in a group of salespeople, I know they probably won't spend the money on my software so I might say to people in that group,
"I'm an expert in helping salespeople take control of every sales situation. How about you?"
Or I might say,
"Kevin and Becky Patrick, 38, second-generation business owners, filled a 23% shortfall in their sales, created a paid waiting list for their service, and added $250,000 to their bottom line and we did it in just 87 days. How about you?"
The objective is NOT to tell them everything you do and how you do it.
The objective is to pique their interest and DIS-qualify them as someone you want to spend your limited time with by giving them your best "pitch" and seeing if they brought their catcher's mitt.
The Best Pitch is Not a Pitch
But you can see that it's not really a pitch at all.
It's an honest, tantalizing lure—for the right "big fish"—that you cast out quickly, reel back in, and cast back out the other side of your prospecting boat if they don't take the bait.
If they are not receptive to your response, you can both chit-chat for another 30 seconds, and politely excuse yourself to meet someone else.
When you find someone that tilts their head and says, "Hmmm. How do you do that?" , you reply with more details based on their response to your question, which was "How about you?"
If they ignore that question because they want to know more about what you do, you MUST NOT answer them until you ask,
"Well, I help in several ways, depending on (someone's role at the company) / (your industry). What is it you do exactly?"
Once I know if they are in sales or management or they are a freelancer or consultant or C-Level executive, I'll tailor my response to their role as I probe them for more information on what similar solutions they are using and how that is working out for them.
Whoever is asking the questions is in control of the conversation!
Remember, unless you are chasing a known Big Wig and are literally catching him or her on an elevator, you won't always know with whom you're rubbing elbows.
So stop "pitching" and start attracting great prospects with your own great openings.
That's how you make every sale.
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.