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What is a good “Elevator Pitch”?

This question has often come up with networkers and business owners or salespeople wanting to make a quick introduction to their business or product. Many people have asked me to evaluate their elevator pitch (EP) which ostensibly is something you say to someone as you travel in an elevator between floors. People usually describe an EP as an opening or “pitch” that is perhaps 30-seconds long.

Let’s look at what an EP is and how to use it. First, we need to drop the idea that it is a “pitch” that needs to be fielded by the listener. Instead, think of an EP as a brief introduction that may include a call to action. For example, an EP might be, “Hi, (hello), I’m Jim. I help small businesses succeed, If you like call me, and I can tell you more.” Simply an introduction and a call to action. 

But wait, when do I use this introduction? An old saying is,  “A text out of context is a pretext.” So how does this saying fit in with an introduction? First, you will find you introduce yourself, your business, or your product differently in different situations, so one size does not fit all. Second, you will want to introduce yourself depending on your purpose. Many times you will be fishing for clients/customers. Everyone is a prospect but not a customer. So your introduction becomes a filtering system to separate those you want to spend time cultivating, and those will be a waste of time and energy. For example, if you were a cosmetologist, you might want to talk more to women than men.

You will want several types of introductions rather than one you rattle off to everyone you meet, as might be inferred by the traditional EP. Take the cosmetologist example above. As a cosmetologist, if you notice a man wearing a wedding ring, your approach might suggest he give his wife a particular treatment you offer.

Subtle differences make a big difference, and using hypnotic suggestions in your conversation helps build rapport.

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