First Impressions

Elevator Pitch? Hopeless! Try a 3 second tease instead

I’ve talked a few times about ‘elevator pitches’ before, and as so often happens, we like the idea of having an interesting, short, enticing pitch for all seasons but we don’t ever get round to creating one. Do we? It’s useful for that moment when someone asks us what we do for a living, and a short, interesting answer is better than, blah.

If I’m honest, I’m not a great fan of the ‘elevator pitch’ anyway because I think even 30-45 seconds is too long when someone’s asked you, usually more out of courtesy, what it is you do. Still there is a use for the concept so let’s go ‘with the flow’ and see what we come up with…

1- Take a pen and piece of paper and jot down some first thoughts about-

  • What your business does at the broadest level.
  • A short example of a real life case study and the benefits that has had for the client concerned.
  • A simple, truthful thing that makes you different to the competition.

Here are my notes for me-

  • We offer training and coaching in presentation skills to senior executives, we write speeches, we help design product launches, conferences and training workshops.
  • We helped Mitsubishi Motors launch its last 13 cars to its pan-European dealer network, giving them coherent messages to share with their salespeople, high quality reference materials and consistent brand messaging, also saving them 100,000’s of Euros in duplication of time and effort
  • We would rather not do the work than work for organisations that don’t care.

2- Then look at what you’ve written and edit it for repetition, pretension and bullshit. Then simplify the language, to a sentence or two that a real person would say to his or her friends, and see how you’re doing. My effort now looks like this-

  • We offer training and coaching in presentation skills to senior executives, we write speeches, we help design product launches, conferences and training workshops.  Becomes- We help our clients sell their products and services more effectively…
  • We helped Mitsubishi Motors launch its last 13 cars to its pan-European dealer network, giving them coherent messages to share with their salespeople, high quality reference materials and consistent brand messaging, also saving them 100,000’s of Euros in duplication of time and effort-  Becomes- We’ve helped Mitsubishi launch their cars in Europe with a consistency and quality that has helped them achieve their commercial objectives over the last 8 years.
  • We would rather not do the work than work for organisations that don’t care.– self-obsessed, self-reverential bullshit -Becomes- deleted.

3- Then look at the whole thing again and edit for all of those things again, and say it out loud to yourself or a friend who will tell you the truth. If you gag, rewrite it; if they vomit, start again- until you can say those words with real sincerity and sound human.

Then just check for an element of ‘tease’. Something implied but not said, that may just prompt the other person to ask for more information.

 That’s your pitch for all seasons. Mine? “We help our clients sell more stuff, whatever they do. “

4- So in truth my elevator pitch is not 45 seconds long, it’s 3 seconds long. And it’s designed to prompt questions, to be the start of a conversation driven by the other person. I don’t want to ‘push’ or ‘sell’, I simply want to engage.

What do you think?

Jim Harvey

Jim Harvey

Managing Director at The Message Business
Jim is the MD of The Message Business, a company which helps FTSE 100 companies to sell themselves, and their products better. Speech writer, Prezi trainer and designer, coach and consultant, Jim also finds time to be a proud father and husband.
Jim Harvey
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

To Top