If you have worked in sales, sooner or later someone will tell you that you need to work on your elevator pitch. You may have one memorized or written down in your pocket right now. What if I told you that it is your elevator pitch itself that is the problem?
Elevator pitches have their place in marketing and personal networking. There is a certain point in every conversation when you have to get to the point and let someone know why you are asking for their time. You need to be able to articulate what your business is and what you can do for them.
The problem is that elevator pitches are exactly that, pitches that sound like pitches. They are often too long even at only 60 seconds, leaving your target thinking about just about anything other than what you are talking about. If it is a pitch you make often, it probably will sound rehearsed and stale after a while.
What is the alternative? If you only have 60 seconds to make your pitch you need to quickly attract their attention and interest. However, what if that could be accomplished without pitching at all?
Small talk is often derided in sales and marketing. After all, your time is as valuable as your leads. You need to get to the point and get to the next sale. The truth is that small talk is an art form that can increase your conversions and your sales figures. Higher conversions is actually a time and effort saver, enabling you to make more sales with less pitches.
There are some steps that you can take to improve your talk, and have the target of your pitch go through an entire conversation without realizing that they have been pitched.
Step One: All about you
The first ten seconds of your small talk elevator pitch are when you should completely put what your selling out of your mind. This isn't what your target is focused on, and neither should you. The first ten seconds are all about you, and even if you are selling yourself it should be about you as the person and not the professional. Introduce yourself thoroughly
Step Two: Forget about yourself for ten seconds
The next ten seconds are about your target. This is where you express curiosity. What do they like? What are they into? What do they need? This is the crucial step, and the crux of everything that you will continue to talk about.
Step Three: Build a rapport
The next ten seconds should be somewhat improvisational, as you are trying to build common ground with your target. Perhaps you like the same sports team or are both interested in a common news item. You should already know this from the previous step. This is where you unpack it.
Step Four: Look for an in
By now you have spent half the time that your pitch would have taken, and you will already have an engaged and interested target. At this point, a segue to what you can do for them is inevitable because you know what they value and they know what you are about.
Step Five: Make the pitch
You now have enough of a rapport with the target that getting down to business is much easier. You can give a personalized, targeted pitch that should be no longer than what you could put on a bumper sticker.
If you follow these steps you will not only increase your conversions and sales, but you will know your customers better and build more solid relationships.