Craft an Effective Elevator Pitch
Networking meetings can become stale and boring over time. When this happens attendance will decrease and the networking group risks becoming irrelevant. This point was on my mind as I planned our ITB Partners monthly Members meeting for Friday, October 19. We have an excellent speaker scheduled to talk about selling skills for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Her presentation is highly relevant to our members. So, I saw an opportunity to build on that theme and address one of my pet peeves. I decided to modify our standard agenda to accommodate a contest to reward the best elevator pitch. My thinking is two-fold; first to support salesmanship as the theme of the meeting, and secondly, to reinforce the importance of an effective elevator pitch.
Helping our members understand the importance of a well-crafted elevator pitch is important. Also, its an opportunity to have some fun at our meeting, while ensuring that it’s informative and productive. So what is an elevator pitch? The name itself is a metaphor for a short but highly effective positioning statement. The analogy is that if you’re sharing an elevator ride with someone, say for 30 seconds, how would you respond if asked: “what do you do?” An elevator pitch is similar to a positioning statement, also known as an Executive Summary at the beginning of a resume. It should be memorable, believable, and interesting enough to generate a follow-up discussion or meeting.
I’m a big believer in positioning statements; whether it’s for a brand, a resume, or especially as an elevator pitch. This goes back to my days in corporate planning where I learned the value of a coherent positioning statement. One should never underestimate the ability of a positioning statement to focus the organization on its strategic goals. It is difficult for me to get past a poorly constructed Executive Summary on a resume. I have my doubts that job seekers fully appreciate the importance of this paragraph. It’s the candidate’s personal positioning statement, indicating their career interest and unique selling proposition. If the Executive Summary is compelling, the reader will have a greater interest in a closer examination of the resume. If not, it may wind up in the circular file.
When I provide resume coaching advice, I always begin with the Executive Summary. My counsel is to define yourself in the first sentence by stating your career level, your functional discipline, and your principal industry experience. The follow-on sentences can provide additional detail to address one’s particular skill sets. For example, if you are proficient at bringing new products to market, or revitalizing legacy brands, those strengths would be important follow-on statements.
So, why is an elevator pitch so important? If you are engaged in networking as a means of landing a great job or to generate more sales, you need an effective sales pitch. When meeting strangers, your elevator pitch is an effective way to establish a connection. It is a tool to help you recruit evangelists for your brand. Evangelists become a force multiplier, leveraging your business development efforts. They can connect you with people looking for your services. It is meant to capture the imagination of a prospective client, and to establish you as a viable referral for people in your network. If your elevator pitch is memorable, you will be remembered! Your elevator pitch communicates a rationale to consider you as a potential employee or service provider. The quality of your sales pitch is a vital component closing the deal. It should be memorable, so the construction of your elevator pitch must be clear, easy to understand.
At the most fundamental level, an elevator pitch describes who you are, who you help, and why your services are needed. Your elevator pitch is your personal positioning statement. It is short and to the point, and hopefully interesting. In some respects, it is a conversation starter, intended to generate requests for more information. A good elevator pitch will identify your target market, the prospective client’s problem, and how your company solves those problems. Your elevator pitch is important, so make an effort to develop an effective pitch. Practice your pitch! Use it! Refine it!
Hello, I am Jim Weber. I connect good people with great job opportunities! My clients are leaders of mid-cap companies who need C-level professionals to achieve their goals.
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