Andy Lopata is a fellow-columnist at The National Networker where we both write a monthly column. Andy’s from the UK. And, while we’re geographically far apart, we’re in close agreement about . . . Elevator Pitches.
If you aren’t familiar with the concept, it’s based upon the 10 – 15 seconds that begins with the time you step into an elevator and the time you step out of one. Maybe a floor or two. Inside the elevator someone asks, “What do you do?”.
Having a prepared ‘pitch’ or commercial response at the ready can turn such a moment-of-truth with a truly qualified prospect for your services . . . into a highly productive one.
Andy argues that these chance encounters, while prevalent in daily business, have deteriorated into a social convention that is often more polite than productive. He’s got a good point. Listen to him directly:
Why Elevator Pitches May Not Really Work
If you’re honest about it, do they work for you? Or, are they merely a social convention that prevents sincere connections from taking place between two people in business?
Lopata contends that delivering a carefully crafted ‘commercial’ has become, for many businesspeople, the sole goal of a ‘new encounter’ rather than using it as the starting point for a meaningful conversation with a stranger. I tend to agree.
What Does Work?
In a word, ‘Listening‘ –– focusing more on what the other person is sharing with you than on what you say in response to their question: “What do you do?”.
It’s only slightly more difficult to listen. But it’s a lot more powerful. And, given that it’s a common complaint about people, being a good listener may be better than being a good pitcher!