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  • Writer's pictureBen Paul

Does an elevator pitch help or hinder your BD efforts?

Does an elevator pitch help or hinder your BD efforts?

The old elevator pitch. It’s one of the oldest and most trusted tools in the sales kit. It is used by many professionals in B2B, and professional services firms.

For those not familiar with an elevator pitch, it is based on the simple premise of getting your message across to your dream buyer, in a short elevator ride. A short spiel that clearly articulates the benefits of the product or service you provide. What’s not to like? After all, it’s been tried and trusted for decades. However, there are some pitfalls in having one generic elevator pitch. Many of you will have guessed what it is from the last sentence. It’s the word “generic”.

Should you ditch your elevator pitch?

Not entirely. It is still a useful tool, as your clients and prospects will absolutely want to understand how what you do, helps them. However, you may need to expand your elevator pitch to elevator pitches. Prepare a number of options that you can use, that address different issues or challenges that you solve. Make the outcomes that you deliver, and have successfully delivered, crystal clear. This is the key part of the messaging.

Why you need more than one elevator pitch

This is quite simple; you’re selling your services to different people, within different organisations. They all have different priorities and different challenges. Even those that have the same challenge, will most likely view them differently, and they may want a different outcome or at least a different approach to getting to that outcome.

The main business benefits are the mitigation of risks, the saving of time or, of course, anything that saves or generates money. The most important benefit to one client will be completely different to another. Some people would much rather have a time saving, over a cost saving, it pays not to assume the benefit your client is looking for. This is why you need more than one pitch.

Stories create emotions, and we all buy on emotions

Some elevator pitches, on paper, look really impressive…at least to the person who wrote them. They talk about logical things and provide logical outcomes. There’s a belief that in the B2B world that people buy on logic and facts. It’s simply not true. Indeed in a recent market study of New Zealand B2B businesses by TRA and Badger Communications, one of the main findings was:

“In a category void of emotional engagement, telling emotional, human stories instead of rational business stories will break the expected pattern, getting your brand noticed and remembered.”

Therefore, when you look at your elevator pitches, remember stories create emotions and engage the buyer’s heart. This means that they can be emotionally and logically invested in any purchase. It is all part of the customer journey. If you can paint a picture of how your service or product will help them, and what working with you will be like, it is easy to understand and believe.

Don’t expect them to take your word for it

This is part of telling a great story. If your elevator pitch is you telling the other person how you are awesome, and how you will help them, it is likely they will be disengaged and they are also highly unlikely to believe what you’re saying. However, if you tell a story of how you’ve helped a previous customer and they outcome that they got, it is much more believable. They also have a reference they can check on later, if they need to.

Don’t just pitch – invite feedback

One way that elevator pitches can harm your BD efforts is if they become a closed pitch that shuts down rather than opens communication. Review your elevator pitch and look for hooks that will invite questions. Also, see where you can add in questions or even think of how you can add a suitable question at the end. If you can keep the conversation going, you’ll build rapport. Which is also one of the basics of selling. 

A bank of good stories/elevator pitches can enhance your BD efforts

The good news is you don’t need to ditch your elevator pitch. Instead, it pays to review what you have, and add some more compelling stories to your BD armoury. Remember, your buyers will relate to and understand the stories you tell them. If they are backed by customer experiences you’ve delivered, then you may well have them hooked.

If you need help with your business development, find out how our BD coaching and mentoring services can assist.


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