Recently, we sat down with Micheal Platania of Powerfully Committed to talk about Elevator Pitches. We met Michael a few years back at Toastmasters in San Francisco.
Can you offer a brief Elevator Pitch to the new service?
Do you know that uncomfortable feeling when you give your Elevator Pitch, and you instinctively know that the person is not interested? As the Elevator Pitch doctor, I can make sure that never happens again.
To define an elevator pitch for us.
An elevator pitch is simply an opening to a conversation. The goal of an elevator pitch is for the client to say, “Tell me more.”
Who needs them?
Everyone is looking for new business and new clients, and even those looking to expand their business with existing clients (though the exact focus of the pitch would change in those circumstances).
I often tell people the Elevator Pitch is getting the client to go on a Business Blind Date.
Why do we struggle with them?
Because most people don’t understand how to engage on a personal (and emotional) level, in business, we are taught the tips and tricks of elevator pitches – how to put your lifetime of experience into a 30-second resume or one-minute bio, how to explain your accomplishments and successes, but this is never what the person you are talking to wants to hear.
I attended an Elevator Pitch workshop last week, and one of the tricks this guy gave was to “speak loud.” But is being loud really what is going to make someone want to know more?
And how do you help?
We revolutionize the elevator pitch by approaching it from a completely different paradigm. Madison Avenue knows that the way to sell a product is to connect with people on an emotional level, and billions are spent to do this through advertising. We approach the elevator pitch the same way – from an emotional level.
It’s scary for many people because talking about emotion in business is not something most people are familiar with. So our clients have to come into this with a certain amount of openness and self-confidence.
What should we avoid in our elevator pitches?
Number one rule – talk less, a lot less. Remember that the point of a pitch is to engage and have a dialogue, and if you are doing all the talking, there is no room in the conversation for the other person.
Number two rule – it’s not about you and what you have done with your life and your career. My eyes start to glaze over when I hear about sales numbers and quotas, and targets. Nobody cares.
In fact, people don’t care what you know; they want to know how much you care.
Does all this take practice?
Yes, it does. I practice walking down the street. I walk past a dry cleaner or pizza place and imagine I am the owner and practice a pitch for them. My mentor, Cynthia Malaran, taught me that I developed the Malaran Method™ for elevator pitches during her time as an advertising professional. Once our clients go through and understand the process, they can practice it and tailor it to any situation.
Any parting thoughts?
What is unique and different about this process is that we are less focused on the résumé and more concerned about connecting with your passion and tying that passion to the client’s need, because once we connect your passion to their need, the client is left with one thought on their mind…”Tell Me More!”
And if our readers want to learn more?
They can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or through my website powerfullycommitted.com. In addition, I am available to work with people in person, via phone, or Skype. People who have gone through this process say it not only changes their elevator pitch but changes how they feel about their business and themselves.