Why you Should Ditch the Elevator Pitch
"The reason I quit being a sales manager over twenty years now is because I hate elevator pitches. I want to write stories and show people what's in them when they read them, not tell them all about it ahead of time." Kurt Busiek
There is so much information available on how to create an “elevator pitch” and the importance of writing, memorising and practicing one.
Most of you have heard them delivered or have one yourselves but for those who are unsure, an elevator pitch is basically a short (30 second) spiel you give to someone when you meet them for the first time at a networking event.
I'm guessing it was invented so you get to qualify each other quickly. It's how most people are taught to instigate an introduction, and some people say it can be helpful as they get tongue-tied and need a pre-written script to help navigate the awkwardness of this question.
However, an elevator pitch can often work against you. Firstly I don't recommend anyone ask the question “What do you do?” at a networking event and a pre-memorised script is not the most ideal conversational opener.
It’s important to have some kind of answer prepared when someone asks you about your business, because networking is all about building relationships. But first and foremost, these interactions need to be personable, chatty and memorable. Reciting a pre-written spiel will often be seen as too clinical, ‘salesy’ and impersonal.
Also, an elevator pitch is usually targeted towards complete strangers who have never heard of you or your business before. At networking events you will meet strangers, people you’ve met once or twice before and others you know well. One elevator pitch will not cater towards all these demographics.
Instead, it’s far better to build “positioning statements” that vary for the different people in your networking group and the degree to which you know them. These lead to real conversations and far more meaningful exchanges. They give you a rough idea of what to speak about, but are more human and can be adapted to suit the person you’re speaking with.
At our courses, we dedicate a portion of the day to helping you work on your "positioning statement" and it's often the most beneficial outcome people take away from our training.
To find out more about memorable positioning statements or ways to improve your networking skills, check out our public/open program