There have been many articles and techniques revolving around Elevator Pitches. These are the pitches that you can make in a very short time as in the amount of time it takes an elevator to go from the main lobby to one of the top floors. This 30 to 90-second commercial is intended to get you more business and set meetings on the spot. There have been numerous approaches to this speech that include everything from a wow statement such as “I change the world, one student at a time”, to telling a story, to showing humor. There are even names for pitches, such as the Pixar Pitch wherein you pitch yourself the same way Pixar pitches their stories starting with “Once upon a time…”
Let’s be honest, would you want to be caught in an elevator listening to an Insurance Salesperson tell you that he protects your loved ones by providing your widowed wife and fatherless children security (i.e. money) after you die? Or a financial planner that can lower your tax rate, or the car salesperson that tells you he makes dreams come true?
This approach reminds me of car dealership commercials where the owner is yelling about his great offers while standing on top of his dealership building, or the furniture dealer that thinks using his kids and pets as props will make you want to run to the store to buy furniture.
These approaches are one-sided monologues full of sound and fury. They are all about pushing something on you that you may or may not need. There is the assumption that if you tell enough people the same thing, sales will flow. It also assumes that all people are equal. Everyone needs a new car, everyone needs to update their furniture, everyone needs to lower their tax rate. What if the person you are babbling to has just bought a new car, lives in a furnished apartment, and pays little or no taxes.
When someone asks me what I do, I usually tell them in one sentence, something like this: “I help companies grow their business.” Right after that statement, I ask “what about you, what do you do.?” There are a few things at work here:
- I didn’t tell them what I do, but how I help companies
- My answer was extremely short.
- I switched the conversation back to them instead of going on about me.
My main goal is to build rapport, and see if there may be a potential need. I am not trying to sell them anything and I am much more interested in asking and listening than I am in telling. If it sounds like there may be a potential alignment of my services and their needs then I may see if they would like to meet for coffee or lunch to chat further. Frankly, I may also see if they want to meet simply because what they do is fascinating, or that they may be an extremely interesting person and someone that I would like to better get to know. You never know where these discussions may lead. Obviously getting business is important, but also hearing about a great book, hearing a great story, hearing about a business approach, or developing a center of influence also has its rewards.
About the author:
Harold (Butch) Frick is a Sales Consultant with Lockton Companies. Where he is responsible for the ongoing stewardship of client services for a group of clients as well as new business development. Lockton is a professional insurance and risk management services firm that provides full-service retail insurance brokerage, loss prevention, claims management, and alternative risk financing consulting to commercial clients that range in size from smaller local companies to international Fortune 500 businesses operating in many diverse industries.