With attention spans falling, and the competition for our limited attention rising, the demands on what it takes to deliver a successful elevator pitch have gone up big time.
A salesperson can no longer reasonably expect to sell a solution in a short conversation, so drop that expectation immediately. Solutions simply are not sold in Elevator Pitches anymore, but that does not mean that Elevator Pitches have gone out of style. Their purpose has changed, perhaps for the better.
Today’s buyers want to come to a decision at lightning speed, and to hell with anything that slows them down, including a rambling salesperson. Buyers no longer want to know what or how BEFORE they know why. They know they can always find the details of what and how elsewhere. What is top of mind to today’s buyer is why should I even be bothered to think about this?
If the Elevator Pitch does not emotionally engage the potential buyer in 90 seconds or less, you may have just lost your prospect’s attention. Here are five things that must be accomplished in under 90 seconds.
- Connect Emotionally First. As a general rule, people’s interest gains traction emotionally before they engage intellectually. The intellect comes second and it serves to rationalize the emotional conclusion they came to initially. To be sure, they will need both before action is taken, but the order is of paramount importance.
- Use the two primary Emotional Pathways. People’s emotional ears immediately perk up anytime they hear something that will either advance their personal or professional agenda.
- Show unusual and thoughtful relevance. You only have 90 seconds to demonstrate that you have done your homework and that what you have to say is very different than others. Do not open your mouth until you have that unique differentiation that instantly makes you stand out from others.
- Disrupt their pattern of thinking. Take them down a road that they have never been down before. Make them question some of their own conclusions, cause them to rethink their assumptions and suppositions. Throw them off their certainty and raise concern if they have subscribed to some wrong beliefs and they, or their company, could be in danger.
- Ask them if you and he/she should be talking more? Your close in an elevator pitch is not for them to buy something but to desire to have a more “in-depth” conversation about the unsettling issues you just raised. If they say that they would like to have a meeting, and maybe even invite some of their colleagues, you will have just had a very successful Elevator Pitch! Now, in your next meeting you can take the lead in co-creating a company-specific value proposition with and for them. You’ve just created demand! Congratulations!
Personal Challenge: Have clearly in your mind how you want them to feel when you part company. Remember, “a person will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” We want them to wish they had more time with you!