5 Elements of a Good Elevator Pitch: How to Stop Winging It

You are at a networking event with 40 people and are asked to “introduce yourself to the group.”

You stand up, say your name and notice how many faces are all looking at you. Here’s your chance to impress. But you can’t remember what you were going to say! You fear failure, so this fear builds on itself and then very nearly paralyzes you. You mutter some sentences just to get it over with, and then sit down.

Or maybe you want to avoid forgetting something, so you start rambling. Others are glancing at their phones, and some are even thumb stabbing now, but you can’t seem to find the right closing line, so onward you plod.

Both of these can be avoided by some careful preparation.

What matters is establishing eye contact with listeners, speak slowly, not droning in monotone, speaking with vocal inflection, memorize rather than winging it, and don’t fidget.

Here are the elements of a successful elevator pitch.

  1. Give your name, the company name and location, and quick statement of what you do. Brief–not a list of everything. A poignant opening quote can be effective here and can create a fun moment for the group.
  2. Tell a story of what makes your company different. Ask a “hooking” question like, “Are any of these important problems for your business…?” Continue with, We help companies that are (struggling with), (concerned about), (looking to), (worried about), etc. What pains is the business facing? How do you present a solution that both saves time and makes money for the client? Share a story of a recent or specific example of your business solving a pressing problem.
  3. Describe your ideal client or referral. “A good referral for us would is…” A short description of your ideal client may resonate with anyone there, and someone who matches up well will likely approach you later. The goal of good networking is to make introductions.
  4. Ask for business. Here is what lawyers call The Ask. Say something like, “So if you see, hear of or know someone who has questions we can answer, won’t you please give them my card?” Do this, and there is a distinct chance that your phone will ring with a potential new client just a few days later.
  5. Finish with a memory hook. “We work with clients who need help…” Remind them of your name and company. A concluding joke or moment of levity is superb here. People remember the first and last things they hear when listening, so give them something to hang on to. Close with a tagline that’s pithy, memorable and relevant, “building a smarter planet, just do it, don’t leave home without it.”

These ideas and the five elements will help you design an effective pitch for networking. Remember, you have to design it only once. After that, it gets only better with repeated deliveries.

How To Defeat Sales Objections

Anyone who owns or operates a business is in sales.

Sales objections are unavoidable. In fact, regardless of our profession, we all deal with objections in life with co-workers, business partners, spouses, and family.

The good news is that there are ways to get around those objections. All it takes is a little preparation.

The first consideration is that when you sell, whatever you sell, you should never be surprised by objections. In fact, every objection is an opportunity. It is an indication of what your prospect has in mind. Thinking of it this way makes it a positive.

Objections Can Teach You A Lot

When an objection is presented, listen carefully completely; pause, and make sure you understand the situation. When you respond, the most effective responses are generally framed as a question.

  • Objection: “Your price is too high”
     Reply: “I understand your concern, what were you planning to spend?”
  • Objection: “I want to think about it.”
     Reply: “That’s a fair statement, so what are the specific items you want to think about?’

Dig deeper. You want your prospective buyer to open up and tell you more about what is keeping them from making a decision. During this exchange, be real, be sincere, be understanding and be positive. Honest, heartfelt questions will normally get prospects to open up. And, you must answer the objection to the satisfaction of your client, before moving forward in your process.

Never argue or debate with your prospective client: nothing stalls or even kills a negotiation faster. Never speak poorly of your competition. If an objection forces you to compare your product or service against a competitor, use factual information only. Hearsay and rumors do not lead to long-term success.


What’s The Silver Bullet to Eliminate Objections?

Objections are part of the selling process and they will never totally be eliminated. However, they can be greatly reduced.

How? By spending more time qualifying your prospect and finding out his or her needs and expectations are before you do your presentation. You need to ask a lot of questions. And then, listen to the answers. You can defuse many objections by clarifying the expectations before you start your presentation.

Example: At the end of a perfect presentation the potential buyer announces they need to consult with another person before they can make a decision. How could this objection be avoided? Ask up front if all decision makers are present and make sure that everyone who needed to be there would in fact be there for the presentation. If not, abort and reschedule. This issue could have been prevented completely by simply asking the right question up front.

Try this short exercise to improve your handling of objections:

Write your top five most common objections on one side of a piece of paper. On the other side, for each objections list 2-4 clear responses (framed as questions) that will address the objection and keep you engaging with your prospect.

Your top priority in the discussion is to truly understand the needs of your prospect. His or her objections will help you figure those out. Review your list regularly and get comfortable with the concept that every objection is an opportunity.

Remember that every objection is an opportunity.

8 Critical Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hanging Up Your Shingle

It surprises me to realize, that often when I begin working with a new client, he or she has never thought about the following things:

  1. What are your core values?
  2. What is your core focus?
  3. What is your 10-year target?
  4. What is your marketing strategy?
  5. What is your three-year picture?
  6. What is your one-year plan?
  7. What are your quarterly short time goals?
  8. What are your issues?

If you are going to succeed in business, you must have a plan and a strategy that includes goals and targets. And your values, I believe, are the most important thing because they are what will keep you on track when you are tempted to go in a different direction.

I offer coaching and business development consulting for all size businesses. If you think you could benefit from a free consultation, give me a call today.

What Are Your Marketing Options?

Questions you should think about before starting a marketing program:

On a Limited Budget You Must Prioritize.

Marketing today offers entrepreneurs an amazing spectrum of attractive tools. But can they be all tested within limited resources?

Answer: Only pursue the ones that align most closely with your strategic marketing plan. If you don’t have a plan, you will blow a lot of valuable cash on awesome ideas that promise much and deliver little — not because they are bad ideas, but because they are bad ideas for your company.

These are three rules to evaluate your marketing options.

Build on Your Existing Base

You should aim your marketing first of all at your typical customer. If that sounds obvious to you, plenty of small businesses run aground seeking any customers they can find while never establishing a reputation with one loyal group. Targeting is the difference between marketing as expense and marketing as investment.

This strategy applies also when marketing to other businesses. For example, do you define decision makers versus order-takers within each target company? Both are useful to cultivate, but they require different approaches if you want to get the highest return on each marketing dollar.

Do Not Over-reach and Stick to What You Can Manage

It is not necessary to embrace all the latest marketing fads. While the internet offers powerful marketing tools, they are such only in the measure in which you use them properly.

Let’s take blogging, for example. Blogs are cheap to set up, but they take huge effort to update on a consistent basis. If you manage your blog poorly, you will disappoint your customers. If you are in the business of offering advice (say, on insurance, financial planning or accounting), a blog makes sense and could be your main marketing tool. 

Social networks are another increasingly popular tool. But these, too, require a fair amount of administration. Would those hours and dollars actually boost awareness and, ultimately, revenues? For many small companies, the answer is no.

In making these calculations, remember that you also have to allot enough resources to spruce up your outgoing electronic communication. All prospects expect to interact with sellers and advisers online these days.

Whatever Marketing Gurus are Selling, Buyers Beware

There are innumerable marketing agencies out there that make all kinds of claims. Ask to see case studies of what they have accomplished for other clients like you. Concentrate on what you need, not what they are selling.

A good plan must be action driven, with goals and strategies that will lead to specific outcomes in specific time frames. The strategies will dictate the solution i.e. the tactics you use.