Anyone who works in a Business to Business (B2B) sales environment knows that a key to success rests in the ability to provide a great sales experience, which begins from the initial point of contact with a prospect. Usually that initial contact with a prospect will include what is referred to as an "elevator pitch", but many people don't know what an elevator pitch is or what it needs to include to grab the attention of your prospect and get them to agree to a meeting with you.
Investopedia refers to an elevator pitch as a business slang term, and defines it as a brief speech that succinctly outlines a product, idea, or project, and opens a dialogue for future communication. It comes from the idea that elevator rides are very brief, normally lasting only 10 - 40 seconds in length (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/elevatorpitch.asp). During those short elevator ride moments, you might find yourself standing next to a heavy-hitting decision maker at your dream client, and you want to make the most of this opportunity by giving that person a short and very persuasive sales pitch on the product or service you sell or a project you want to develop. The preferred outcome of an elevator pitch is to get the person you are pitching to, to agree to schedule an in-person meeting with you.
While an elevator pitch is traditionally thought of as a verbal presentation, they can also be presented in written form, and can sometimes be more effective than a lengthy business presentation. The goal is to communicate an effective and persuasive message that leaves the reader's interest piqued, and wanting to continue the conversation (https://www.inco-marketing.com/blog/the-elevator-pitch-how-to-create-it-in-4-easy-steps ).
A goal length for your elevator pitch should be 150-250 words (https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-write-an-elevator-pitch-2951690).
1. Identify the client's problem and let them know how you will fix it, and how you will do a better job of fixing it than anyone else.
This is your opener where you provide an answer to the client's question of what your product or service will do to help them. If they have a problem, your first instinct should be to tell them how you can solve it and solve it better than anyone else.
Your solution should be personalized to meet your client's needs, and should pique the client's interest so that they continue reading past your first few sentences (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228070).
2. Define who you are and what you do
You've captured the client's interest by letting them know that you've identified their problem and you have the perfect solution. However, have you introduced yourself to the client? Offering a solution to a problem is great, but the client needs to remember who you are. Putting a name to a business, thus giving it a face, will help to provide credibility and set you apart from your competitors (https://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2010/05/05/5-tips-for-an-elevator-pitch-that-gets-results/#1cc37c135cff).
Remember, business relationships are all about making personal connections. Don't be afraid to list previous clients or stakeholders that can validate your claims.
3. Has your company developed a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? If yes, use it in your elevator pitch
Consistency in messaging for a company is important in securing product integrity. Has your company developed a USP statement that defines your product or service so that all sales staff are able to convey the same message?
For more information on creating a USP that sets your company and product/service apart from the competition and gives a snapshot of what your company is about, theBalance.com provides a great guide found at https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-write-a-unique-selling-proposition-usp-2951698. It is perfectly acceptable and smart to incorporate your USP into your elevator pitch.
4. You've stated who you are and your purpose, now ask the client to take action
No elevator pitch is complete without some call to action that persuades the client to continue the conversation and move the sales process forward. Whether that call to action is a response to an email, signing up for a client portal, or simply continuing a conversation with their sales rep, it is important to state exactly what you want to see happen as the next step. This will make it easier when you follow-up with the client as you have a legitimate reason to continue the conversation.
5. Don't forget to tie it all together
Nothing is more confusing than an elevator pitch that abruptly ends after the call to action, and that fails to tie everything together in a concise summary. It isn't likely, considering how short your elevator pitch will be, that the client has forgotten the purpose, but it is important to restate what you can do for them so that they are left with seeing value in your offer.
There are several things to keep in mind when crafting the perfect elevator pitch:
* There are no second chances to make a positive first impression. Your elevator pitch will not get a do-over once it is rejected by the client.
* Poor grammar will affect your credibility. Make sure that your elevator pitch is free from any grammatical errors, including spelling and punctuation errors.
* Use professional language at all times. It is not appropriate to use slang or an overly casual tone when writing for business purposes. Do you have questions about how to write in a professional tone? The Business2Community forum provides excellent advice on how to write for business purposes, and can be found at https://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/12-rules-of-writing-emails-professionally-and-effectively-058750#E23MljlhsIgsL60k.97.
* Know your product, services, and company like the back of your hand. Your knowledge of your company's products/services, as well as your company, should be so ingrained in your mind that it is second nature. A client will be able to tell if you are not well-versed on your product, and they won't be afraid to call you out on it.
* Anticipate questions. The proper defense is a strong offense. An interested client will ask questions. Don't think of questions as barriers, think of them as opportunities to overcome that will move the sale forward. The more prepared you are, the more confidence you instill in the client and their opinion of you.
* Don't be afraid to convey passion about your product or service. Since it is human nature to purchase on emotion, if the client feels you are not passionate about your product, they will be less likely to be interested in your product and they will not want to move the sale forward.
* Follow-up and Follow-through. Nothing is more disappointing to a client than having a sales person over-promise and under-deliver. Make sure that you follow-up on any call to action or promise that you make in your elevator pitch. This could be the determining factor in whether or not you land a deal.
Here are a few examples and articles that provide more tips/tricks of what your elevator pitch should look like:
* How to Write an Elevator Pitch. Harvard Business Review. Apr. 1, 2009 (https://hbr.org/2009/04/how-to-write-an-elevator-pitch).
* How to Write a Killer Elevator Pitch (Examples Included). The Interview Guys. 2017 (https://theinterviewguys.com/write-elevator-pitch/).
* Best Practices for Creating an Elevator Pitch. B2B Sales & Marketing Knowledge Sharing. Jun. 23, 2014 (https://www.b2bknowledgesharing.com/tag/elevator-pitch/).
Creating an elevator pitch, if done correctly, will open the door to business relationships and lead to future sales. Spend the time perfecting your elevator pitch because doing so will make you far more successful in your sales and business career!
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