I’m Steve Davis and I’d like to talk about creating your perfect elevator pitch. The first thing you have to do is figure out what your goal in giving your pitch is.
Determine a Goal for Your Elevator Pitch
Most startups make the mistake of thinking that they’re going to make a sale in their first meeting. The thing is, statistics show that only 2 percent of all sales occur in the first meeting. So your goal in the first meeting or the first contact is to get the second meeting.
That’s the purpose of the elevator pitch, to generate enough interest that they say “tell me more, let’s set up another time to meet.” The problem is, you have to know what your goal is, just being interesting is not enough. Quite frankly I don’t care about you, most people don’t care about you. Your job in your elevator pitch is to make me want to care about you, tell me why I should be listening to you.
Most groups, when they talk about building elevator pitches, say an elevator pitch should be between one and two minutes long. Really, the ideal pitch should be 30 seconds, maybe 60 seconds maximum. And you only have 10 seconds to catch my attention. I’m from New York, and I’m only going to give you six seconds.
You also have to know who your audience is because your pitch is not going to be the same. Business school teaches you that your pitch is going to be the same no matter who you’re talking to. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Customize Your Pitch
You have to tailor it to your audience. so look at your core message as a plain muffin. I don’t like plain muffins, I like chocolate frosting. Look at it, as my wife says, as a delivery vehicle for the frosting. Each audience is going to have a different flavor of frosting that they like. So you have your core message, and then you have to embellish it with what frosting or what messages they are going to be interested in. So you have to add the flavor that appeals.
What’s Your Hook?
You also have to know what your hook is? People will buy in on emotion, but they justify their buying with statistics and with logic. You have to understand why they buy. What is going to hook them? What is your hook going to be? Just statistics and just logic will not work. People buy on emotion and justify with statistics. You need to understand their real motivation.
What Motivates Your Client?
If you can identify with them, if you can drive their emotions to your ultimate conclusion, through a story that they can identify with, you’re better off.
Most companies just dryly go into stats – this is the product I do, this is the market we are going to go after, this is what we do, this is what we offer – I don’t care, that’s not enough to get me interested! You have to make an emotional connection. You have to be memorable, and you have to test it. You also have to practice it. The more you practice the better you are.
Pitches Should Be Natural
It has to be like a second nature to you. Second nature to make changes based on who the audience is. You may go into a networking environment, a major conference, and you may meet people that you have never met before in your life, in segments of the market that you’ve never addressed in life, and you have to be able to quickly adapt your core message to what’s going to influence them.
About Steve Davis
Stephen Davis, Principal and Founder of The CXO Advisory Group provides interim COO and VP Sales and Marketing services focused on improving the performance and profitability of emerging and established companies. Steve has worked with companies in North America, Europe and Asia to assist them in establishing US market operations, strategic alliances, joint ventures, business development and sales management. He has assisted clients with due diligence and preparation for venture financing.
Steve has more than 30 years experience as a senior executive, including COO and CMO with P&L responsibility in the computer, software, consumer electronics and Internet industries. Steve has successfully built, managed, and restructured numerous sales and marketing organizations. He has successfully developed new markets and has introduced over 300 new products into various industries.
Steve is an industry pioneer whose visionary marketing and sales strategies were instrumental in two of the PC industry milestone products. Among his many successes he was responsible for introducing ATARI’s home computer and Corvus OMNINET, the PC industry’s first local area network.
In 1989, Steve founded the Davis Management Group, a company whose proprietary sales management and marketing methodology promoted growth in client’s revenue and profitability. He is an executive strategist and problem solver who conceives, plans and implements new business practices to produce measurable improvements in market position, revenues and profits. Previously, Steve spent 15 years in senior level positions at major corporations including Qualogy, Corvus Systems, Atari, IBM and GE.
Steve is active with many groups that support entrepreneurs. He is a frequent speaker and prolific writer on marketing and sales topics. Davis has given speeches at some of the leading business and technology forums and his articles have appeared in a variety of engineering and IT business publications.