How Sales Experts Develop an Effective Elevator Pitch

Key Elements of a Great Elevator Pitch

If you've been doing your training right, your sales representatives know your company inside and out. They’re experts on the product you sell, and could easily discourse for hours about its benefits for all sorts of customers. They know how to resolve every objection under the sun, and how to deliver persuasive hard and soft closes.Eve

But none of that in-depth knowledge will do your sales team any good if they cannot quickly and effectively convey to prospective clients why they should spend their valuable time listening in the first place.

The Solution

Enter the elevator pitch. If they've been in sales for any length of time, your sales representatives have probably thought out and practiced one or two or three or ten of them. Elevator pitches are useful to sell a product. But it’s also helpful for sales professionals to develop an elevator pitch to sell themselves at job interviews.

The name “elevator pitch” comes from the idea of meeting a stranger in an elevator and having only the elevator ride to succinctly explain your product offering and pique the person’s interest in hearing more.

How Short Is Short Enough?

Traditionally, elevator pitches are between 30 seconds and two minutes long. However, since your sales representatives won’t usually be able to count on a captive audience actually stuck in an elevator, it’s best to keep the pitch to under a minute. They can always elaborate on it afterwards if the elevator pitch works and the person ends up being interested.

Successful elevator pitches tend to be somewhat individual, so what works for one person on the team might not work well for another, even if they’re selling the exact same product. Whether your company provides a ready-made elevator pitch, a list of topics to cover, or simply allows the sales representatives to come up with their own pitch, it's important that each member of the team make the pitch their own. All your sales representatives should feel comfortable and confident about their approaches. Furthermore, they should continue to tweak their approaches until they are effectively convincing potential clients to listen to them.

Essential Elements of a Good Elevator Pitch

It's not a bad idea to dedicate an entire sales training meeting (or a series of sales training meetings) to developing and practicing elevator pitches. Even if you don't provide a ready-made pitch or series of points to cover, you should give your sales representatives some direction on how to come up with a good pitch.

The first sentence of the elevator pitch should catch the person’s attention, build rapport, and establish your credibility. Here is not the place to insert a lot of technobabble, give a complete history of your company, or tell a corny joke.

Instead, your sales representatives should explain conversationally and clearly the most significant benefit companies derive from using your service. Inserting a nice, juicy statistic is always a good move. And remind them to be enthusiastic. If they are not excited about their pitch, chances are nobody else will be either.

Once they’ve opened with a killer first sentence, encourage your sales representatives to follow it up with giving some reasons that your company is better than the alternatives. Have them finish off with a question soliciting a bit of discussion about what related issues their subject is facing, and what concerns or challenges he or she has in the areas they have mentioned. Then if the response is interested and favorable, they can segue into a more detailed conversation or set a date for a later meeting.

Practice, Practice, Practice

After your sales representatives have written out at least a rough draft of their elevator pitches, remind them to start trying it out, first in front of the mirror, and then in front of family, friends, and of course you and their sales team.

Once they feel comfortable, it’s time to try it out on a sales prospect. Don’t expect it to be perfect the first time; part of what you need to do as you practice is gauge your audience’s reaction and adjust your elevator pitch accordingly. In fact, even after your sales representatives have a strong elevator pitch you should encourage them to always be open to modifying it to better reflect the needs of their customers and the value they can give them. 

Having an elevator pitch can help your sales representatives to not only articulate the value of the product to clients, but also to themselves. It helps to have a succinct, clearly articulated explanation of what they’re selling. Need some help with sales training? Contact Netpique to find out how we can help your company hone its training program to increase your team's effectiveness.