Did you know how the elevator pitch came about?
When elevators were first built in the 1800s, they weren’t perfect. A typical elevator was pulled with a cable using a pulley system, and if the cable broke, the elevator would fall to the ground, killing or hurting its passengers. One day, an American industrialist named Elisha Otis invented a breaking system that prevented the elevator from falling in any event of a malfunction. Instead of verbally pitching his invention, Otis built an elevator shaft with glass and took it to a state fair. He then got in the elevator and had an associate cut the cable. The elevator shifted, but it didn’t come crashing down. There was an entire audience of people who witnessed this ground-breaking invention at work. Otis put his life in danger to prove that his product worked, and that’s how the elevator pitch was born.
Today, we use the term, “elevator pitch” to describe a very concise presentation delivered in a matter of a few seconds, or the length of an elevator ride. The purpose of an elevator pitch is to quickly inspire the prospect to seek more information about your product.
Creating a compelling elevator pitch may be difficult to do, but it’s definitely possible. We put together a few tips on how to craft an effective sales pitch that leaves your prospect wanting more.
Make sure you’re not taking the prospect’s time
Nobody likes to be interrupted, much less by somebody who’s trying to sell a product. Before starting your pitch, make sure your prospect isn’t busy. If he’s talking on the phone, reading something, or in a conversation with somebody else, leave him alone until you’re certain that he’s able to give you his undivided attention. Also review your speech and ensure that it’s void of any fluff. If you give your prospect a long-winded speech without a point, you’re almost guaranteed to lose him early on.
Cover only the key elements
Really get to the point by only delineating all the key elements of your pitch. Choose your words wisely and make sure they’re powerful enough to capture your prospect’s attention.
For example, instead of covering every single detail about your product, say something along the lines of, “I know what you do with XYZ Company, and we have some killer solutions that help small businesses with their banking needs. I have one in particular that would help you with your situation concerning high interest rates. Here’s my card. Give me a call if you’re interested in discussing this further.”
Mirror the prospect’s body language
People respond better to others who act similar to them. If you mirror your prospect’s body language, speech, rhythm, and volume, the prospect will feel more comfortable with you. However, you have to be subtle. If you’re too obvious, the prospect will feel like you’re mimicking him in a mocking manner.
Build rapport if necessary.
If you have a little bit of extra time, you can squeeze in simple rapport building. Drum up some small talk and get to know the prospect a little bit before starting your pitch. This is an effective method because by the time you get into your pitch, your prospect will feel more at ease with you.
Give the prospect a way to contact you
The point of pitching your product is to get your prospect to contact you later to make a purchase. That’s why it’s always very important to leave your contact information with the prospect. At the end of the pitch, give him your card, write down your email address, or ask him to call you for more information.
The bottom line
In this day and age, no businessperson has the time to drop everything to listen to a lengthy sales pitch. In fact, a prospect would get irritated if you drop by unexpectedly and spend a long period of time trying to sell him something. That’s why elevator pitches are greatly appreciated by many. If you take the prospect’s busy schedule into consideration and keep your pitch short and sweet, the prospect will be likely to call you back at his convenience to learn more about the product you’re selling.