99 Reasons to Stop Using an Elevator Pitch and Do this instead

Every salesperson is told they must have a powerful elevator pitch if they are going to make an impact with a prospect. The idea that “you only have 30 seconds to interest them” is drilled into salespeople as gospel.

To that end every salesperson spends vast amounts of time creating, tweaking and perfecting in search of just the “right” words. Elevator pitches are so glorified that numerous associations hold annual contests to award the salespeople who have honed this skill.

But what if it’s all BS? What if you don’t really have 30 seconds to “make your case”? What if you are actually killing your chances with a prospect by delivering your elevator pitch?

Well it is BS. And you don’t have 30 seconds. And you are killing your chances with an elevator pitch. Here’s why…

The myth of the elevator pitch is based on the ass-umption that a prospect is wondering “what can you do for me?” when you make your first contact with them. But that is NEVER the thought in their head.

The truth is they don’t care about you or what you do! So launching into a 30 second let-me-tell-you-about-me-a-thon is just annoying!

And it goes MUCH deeper than that.

You see, the real reason elevator pitches don’t work is because they are directed at the conscious mind of the prospect. Yet, as we know, humans live 99% of their lives subconsciously. The 1% of conscious awareness that we have is NOT in control of what we do or think.

But EVERYBODY is trying to talk to the conscious mind with their elevator pitch! You are doing a logical data-dump on the part of the brain that HAS NO CONTROL!

The subconscious intercepts ALL communication long before it gets to the conscious mind. And it looks for the FIRST chance to say “I already know where this is going and I have already disqualified it” so it can go back to what it was doing before you interrupted it.

So you don’t have 30 seconds. You only have up to the moment you say a word or phrase that they subconscious mind has already heard before so it can quantify and disqualify you. After that the subconscious puts up a wall and you are done! You can keep talking, but you are done nonetheless!

At this point you’re probably thinking “Okay Mr. Smartypants, what should I do instead?

Well, the answer has three parts.

First, you must Create Curiosity.

The reason you must create curiosity is because once a human is curious their subconscious changes from being defensive to being receptive.

An easy way to do this is to create what I call a Unique Sales Title.

Usually people will say something like “I am an Account Rep for ABC Widgets” or “I’m a Chiropractor” or “I am the Regional Sales Director for Mega Big Corp.” Yes, this may be your job title, but it is also what the subconscious mind is looking for to disqualify you.

Instead, say something that relates to the prospect and also surprises them.

For example: When people ask me what I do I say “I am the Bruce Lee of Sales and Lead Generation.” Instantly their subconscious knows the context of what I do (Sales and Lead Generation) but it can’t connect it to a standard job title (VP, Consultant, Rep, etc.).

The subconscious needs clarification. It will not rest until it has it. It will not rest until it can quantify me. So it forces the prospect to ask “What does that mean?”

Now the subconscious is open and ready to receive information. That is EXACTLY what I want!

We move on to the next step, Craft a Story.

The subconscious mind does not work logically. Feeding it data is like pouring water onto a stone…none of it gets in.

The subconscious works by taking various abstract pieces (memories, pictures, sounds, feelings, etc.) and joining them together. It comprehends by comparing and contrasting things it already knows and applying that to new information.

So a story is exactly what the subconscious wants to hear.

You want to have a story that builds upon your Unique Sales Title and uses metaphors to explain what you do.

For example: I tell prospects that Bruce Lee never earned a black belt. Yet he beat every black belt he ever fought. The reason he could do this is because he did not follow tradition. He did not lock himself into rigid positions mandated by a “style.” He was always learning and adapting from everyone he met. He used what was useful and discarded what was useless. He was forever innovating. So his opponents – who always relied on just one style - could never beat him. I do the same thing with Lead Generation strategies.

Once I get to this point the prospect is even more curious about what I can do. Plus, we have rapport going at a subconscious level.

So time (i.e. the 30 seconds you mistakenly believed you had) is out the window. We are into a real conversation…exactly what I (and you) wanted in the first place!

We can now move into the third step, Compel Desire.

I love Bruce Lee, but unless I want to sign the guy up for martial arts lessons I have to cross-contextualize our conversation over into what I do at some point.

Now before I go into what I can do / would do for them, I try to learn more about the prospect, their company, their problems, etc. This gives me an idea of what we can discuss to create desire.

At this point I might be tempted to list out a menu of options of services I can provide. But, again, that would be talking to the conscious mind at the exclusion of the subconscious. So I opt for seeding or hinting at what I can do, and the potential results, so the subconscious can comprehend it easier.

For example: I was having my first conversation with a prospect the other day. During the conversation they told me that they do NOTHING with Linkedin and basically get all their clients by phone. They are doing about $7MM a year right now, but have barely made any gains in the past several years.

So I briefly described a tactic I employed with another client that had added $13MM of high-potential prospects (basically ready to close) to their pipeline in just one week simply using a Linkedin strategy.

The prospect signed with me by the end of the conversation!

In summary:

- Talk to the subconscious mind because it is 99% in control

- Create curiosity with a Unique Sales Title

- Craft a story that aligns with your Unique Sales Title and alludes to what you do

- Create desire by seeding your abilities and results indirectly

And always have fun!