And Ten Ways to Avoid IT!
I recently experienced the worst form of elevator speech possible. I didn’t run to find a fire hose but confess that I ended up reading the riot act to the person!
There I was at my favorite supermarket store. I had just been to a client meeting when I remembered that I had to pick up a few household items. So I went down to the toiletries and housecleaning products section. I needed to buy soap. My favorite brand had launched a new soap and my regular saleslady wanted to show it to me. An otherwise normal gentleman was standing in my way. Polite request to move led to a 3 minute monologue.
The gentleman started off with the fact that he wanted to sell a concept. Out of politeness I asked what the concept was. Out came the business card and the next thing I knew, I was avalanched by his entire bio-data, the fact that it had been a decade since he had launched his herbal range, the top places where the products could be found and how he was making the sales of his products improve in the store where they had launched the range 2 years ago. Name, place, animal, thing, I heard everything and more in 3 minutes. The fact that I had a glazed look in my eyes was no deterrent!
A polite nod of acknowledgement and a ‘that’s nice’ and back to the purpose of my shopping – soap. I decided to try the new soap and was about to move on when the gentleman intervened with the sentence
“Your hands are absolutely dry. Do you even use anything on them?”
(Fact: My hands were perfectly alright – the product or concept that he was launching was hand cream!)
Then followed the Riot Act and by chance, the owner of the shop was there and had the gentleman removed from the premises. You do not upset a customer of over 10 years standing for a hand cream sale.
I later learned from the Shop Manager that there had been other complaints and the owner was there that day to actually monitor the complaints.
Not sure what happened after I left but I did do a profile check on LinkedIn and found out that a number of assertions in the “Elevator Pitch” were false. Credibility check got a zero and I am not going to be buying the concept or the hand cream.
Is there anything that can make a prospective client or network contact run to find a fire hose?
So what does one do to keep it steady?
We all have our own special elevator speeches and while I will not go into the details of creating one in this post, the above template would have helped him avoid my ire.
So here’s my shot at what he could have said, and no, I don’t have rhino skin hands, thank you.
I create Ayurveda based herbal products for busy ladies with rhino skin hands who prefer natural ingredients but don’t have time to go to beauty parlors create the spa experience at home and acquire smooth beautiful perfumed soft hands.
Some more pointers for your Elevator Speech
- Keep it short and simple and time limit it to 30 seconds, or at least not more than a minute.
- Maintain eye contact with the listener.
- Make it sound sincere, effortless, natural and conversational. It should not sound like a recorded message. Don’t ramble or go off track.
- Make it interesting to engage the listener prompting him or her to ask more and keep the conversation going. In other words, avoid an Elevator Speech that makes the listener wonder “So what?” or go glazy eyes.
- Be discerning about the time and place to deliver your Elevator Speech. Modify it for the occasion, if necessary.
- Smile. Be warm, friendly and deliver your speech with confidence.
- Consider incorporating examples in your Elevator Speech and avoid jargon when speaking to a non-industry person. So if you are in public relations and keep using the word “Premium” with a non-industry person without the PR part, you might get mistaken for an insurance agent. (Trust me, I’ve seen it happen at a networking event!)
- Can you provide a benefit to the listener? Put it in your 30 second pitch.
- Do you have a Unique Selling Proposition? Put it in your 30 second pitch.
- Your Elevator Speech is a work in progress. Update it as your situation changes.
Does your Elevator Speech meet the above requirements?
Contact me if you need help in drafting your Elevator Speech or think it needs to be tweaked. Better to be safe than hosed down!
Inside Workings Of An Elevator by Peter Grif
Update: This blog post was originally published in January 2013 and has been revised for new content and products to help the discerning professional/solopreneur crack the code to their brand Click here.
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