6 Tips for Making a Great Elevator Pitch

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Many times we have the opportunity to talk to someone important about our product or service. Do we capitalize on those opportunities? Are we ready for them? Usually, the opportunities come completely by accident and without time for preparation. One of the great uses of the elevator pitch is to help you convert a happen-stance introduction to a valuable meeting where you can share your product or service.

But, the elevator pitch is not only for the introduction - you will use it in every stage of the selling process. If there is one thing to memorize, to practice, and to have down cold, it is the elevator pitch. If your pitch is good and expresses value, you will be able to use your pitch to open the door to many opportunities. Here are a few tips to help you construct your elevator pitch.

1. Know what you want to say in advance of the situation.

2. Know your target audience - do not make the pitch about what you do, make it about what the target audience needs.

3. Show that you solve a problem.

4. Be specific and be straight-forward. Your elevator pitch should be both simple and powerful. Avoid flowery statements.

5. Practice 15, 30, and 45 second pitches.

6. It is good to be excited and passionate. Believe in what you are doing. Make the pitch personal. Do not just duplicate what someone else in your organization is saying. It is important that the pitch come from you, be in your words, and be something you believe in.

Three Exercises to Perfect Your Pitch:
First - Practice: Practice your pitch to yourself while you are on the way to the appointment. I remember driving to an appointment while I was in the storm window business. I spent my time in the car not listening to the radio but practicing out loud the various forms of my elevator pitch, and then the details of my presentation. This practice helped me have the elevator pitch in my mind and gave me the ability to use it whenever needed. I used this same technique when I sold software and high-end consulting services, often with 6-figure starting point price tags. The process works. When I used it, I was on top of my game.

Second - Visualize. Imagine you walked into an elevator and found yourself alone with the most important individual on your prospecting list. If somehow you could get this person to join your cause, or if this person became a key customer, your organization would sail to the top. You have exactly 30 seconds alone in the elevator while you ride to the top floor. What will you say? This process takes discipline. But, if you are committed to creating more business, accessing better prospects, and moving the sales process along towards the close with more speed, then visualize and practice.

Third - Try it. The elevator pitch will be used frequently, not just during the initiation of an opportunity, but at many times during the sales cycle to help clarify where the prospect is in the sales process. Craft your pitch, memorize it, and practice it on as many people as you can

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