Know Your Elevator Pitch


Whether your encounter is face-to-face or you are on the phone “dialing for dollars” you know that you only have a moment to get across a cogent well-timed message to supplement your original sales intro that spurs the buyer to consider you, and your company.

Your ability to include the right elements, coupled with the strength of your delivery may get you that appointment that you desire.  Remember, when cold calling, or phone prospecting the “end game” is to get in front of the customer, and this is the tool that you will use to show your understanding of the following elements:

  • Your understanding of the customer’s needs – Why would they consider and buy?
  • The important features of your product – What makes it desirable?
  • The key considerations of your company – Why is ABC company a leader or an upstart?

Yes, this can be done in one brief passage, and you had better be good at it as attention spans and time constraints require it to be short and on point.  I business this is called an elevator pitch as the time that it takes to go from the 1st to the 7th floor might be all you have get the point across, and ask for the appointment.

The good part is that you can and should practice it over and over until you feel that it is natural and ready for delivery.

Key Points

The above bullets indicate the elements that you are going to convey.  Your objective is to leave someone with a short, almost precise, indication of who you are, what your organization is known for, and why he or she should interact with you.

Here is an example:

Set Up – You are selling widgets in a large metropolitan area.  Your company is one of the largest widget manufacturers and distributors in the northeast.  It is a proven performer, a Fortune 1,000 company with a “state of the art” research and development facility and clever innovation.  Your ability to fill large orders quickly is a big plus.

You are at the airport, preparing to board a flight from Hartford, Connecticut to Dallas, Texas and your winning personality comes through when you have a discussion with a businessman who needs…you guessed it, widgets!

Businessman – Exclaims with exasperation “Our supplier for widgets has basically advised they cannot keep up with our growth and demand.  They are top-flight widgets, yet as a result of our tolerances we are going to have to consider having two suppliers.”

Sales Professional – Sees the opportunity and says, “I certainly understand that situation.  I am in the widget business, and we have been successful in sourcing high quality widgets to our customers with the highest tolerances and in high volumes, with short lead times.  Your widgets are probably the most important component of your product.”

As he hands the businessman a card he says, “I work for ABC Widgets out of Hartford.  You might be aware that we are the largest, most technologically advanced widget manufacturer in the country according to Manufacturer’s Digest.  Our ability to meet tight tolerances, large orders, and ‘just-in-time’ requests ranks with the best of any widget manufacturers.  Also, since we manufacture and wholesale for other widget producers, we know that we can supply all of your needs. We will do everything possible to keep you from having multiple suppliers.  Give me your card and I will touch base with you Thursday?”

Businessman – “What a coincidence! Here is my card.  Make it Friday when I return and I will look forward to it.”

In this vignette the sale professional seized on the opportunity by describing who ABC Widgets is, and then using a known proof source to get credibility.  He then states that what they are known for, tight tolerances, large orders, and responsiveness.  He was in the right place at the right time, yet while boarding, he had a few seconds, and a ready pitch.

What does it mean for you?

If you are a Black sales professional your pitch should be well rehearsed, delivered with aplomb, and focused on the strength of your company or organization.

When you get deeper into the solicitation process and are delivering solutions, you can begin to stress the assets that you bring.  If all goes well, you will get that chance.

By the way, you may need more than one elevator pitch for different types of industries or products.  Yes, this example may seem oversimplified, yet it you will see the worth of having this prepared discussion many times over in your sales career.

Practice it and make it work for you.

Your comments are welcome.

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