Anyone who works in a Business to Business (B2B) selling environment knows that the key to success rests in the ability to provide a great sales experience; an experience that begins during the initial point of contact. Usually that first contact will include an elevator pitch, but many people don’t know what that pitch needs to include in order to hook the client and land an appointment or even a sale.
Investopedia refers to an elevator pitch as a slang term, and defines it as a brief speech that succinctly outlines a product, service, idea, or project, and opens a dialogue for future communication. It comes from the idea that elevator rides are very brief, 20 - 60 seconds to be exact (https://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/elevatorpitch.asp). During those short elevator moments, you might find yourself standing next to a heavy-hitting decision maker, and you have to make those moments count.
Most traditionally thought of as a verbal presentation, elevator pitches can also be presented in written form, and can sometimes be more effective than a lengthy business proposal. The goal is to communicate an effective 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).
This is your opener, where you provide an answer 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.
Your solution should be personalized to meet the 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).
You’ve captured the client’s interest by letting them know that you’ve identified their problem and have a solution. However, have you introduced yourself to the client? A solution provided 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 the rest (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 connections. Don’t be afraid to list previous clients or stakeholders that can validate your claims.
Consistency in messaging for a company is important in securing product integrity. Has your company developed a 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 you apart from the competition and gives a snapshot of what your company is about, theBalance.com provides a great guide (https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-write-a-unique-selling-proposition-usp-2951698).
It is perfectly acceptable to incorporate your USP message into your elevator pitch.
No elevator pitch is complete without some call to action that requires the client to continue the conversation and move the sales process forward. What is that call to action for you?
Whether that call to action is a response to email, signing up for a client portal, or simply continuing a conversation with an in person meeting, it is important to state exactly what you want to see happen. This will make it easier when you follow-up with the client, as you have a legitimate reason to continue the conversation.
Nothing is more confusing than a pitch that abruptly ends after the call to action, and that fails to tie everything together. 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 a feeling of completion.
This will help solidify you in the mind of the client as someone that “ties up loose ends” and leaves nothing undone.
There are a few 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.
- Use professional language at all times. It is never appropriate to use slang or a 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 writing professional emails and proposals for business purposes (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 core 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 and secure a sale. 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 based on emotion, if the client feels you are not passionate about your product, they will be less likely to dismiss your elevator pitch.
- 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 links to 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. It will be worth it!
Here is another article you may enjoy: How to write a business proposal.
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