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  • Writer's pictureJess Ponce III

Ditch the Elevator Pitch!

A Long Term Connection Beats a Short Term Gain

How often have you been told to prepare your elevator pitch? The traditional thinking is that this 90-second, rapid-fire way of introducing yourself will ultimately “sells you; and that this big moment in the hypothetical elevator is your “one chance.”

Surprise. It’s not.

If you truly want to make a lasting impression, ditch the elevator pitch and instead focus on creating a 90-second connection.

Making a connection and making a pitch are two very different approaches.

We all know when we are being pitched. It happens too often in too many places: online, at work, at school, in the community, everywhere. Don’t waste a key opportunity when you’re meeting a decision maker--a potential client, investor, or boss--using a single-focused, one-size-fits-all outbound self-marketing approach.

Stand out. Initiate a dialogue where you draw that person into you who you are, instead of bombarding that person with monologue filled with data and sales points singularly focused on what you do. Share a bit of yourself and connect to that person. Set the stage for the future.

How do you make a 90-second connection? Here are 5 tips.

1. Create a dialogue. You are talking to another human being, not to a robot taking in information. So, be human. Don't treat them like a robot and you don't act like a robot either. Entice the other person by giving them a taste of your irresistible offer and invite them to engage with you.

2. Context is important. Feel out the situation and the mood. Be aware of the mental space of the other person. If you just launch into your own monologue without gauging where he or she is at, then they won’t hear anything you say.

3. Be personable. Don’t get psyched out that the other person is a decision maker and turn it into a life and death situation. It’s not. It’s a conversation. Lighten up, and feel free to ask a question, be fun, and show your personality. At the same time, be clear and direct. There’s a balance between information and connection.

4. Practice the art of authentic self-promotion. I call it “The A Factor,” which stands for audience, agenda, and action.

  • Take into consideration your Audience. Speak to what this audience values, not just what you want to pitch. The ultimate sell is how you fit into their short-term or long-term objectives.

  • Your Agenda has to fit with what the audience really needs. Don’t pitch something that isn’t relevant. That’s a waste of time and will do more damage than good.

  • Create an attractive call to Action. Make the moment count. You’ve got the other person’s attention; now do something with it, such as initiating a follow up call/conversation or offering something that he/she needs.

5. Think beyond this single moment. Use the time spent with this individual to get him or her invested in you. Allow them space to ask you a question or two. Take your time. Breathe. You don't need to rattle off quickly. Go for the long-term strategy, not just momentary feedback. Seek a “yes” that’s not just for today, but for as long as it’s mutually beneficial.

The common response I get from people, is “how can I do all this in 90-seconds?” The truth is that 90-seconds is more than enough time to be persuasive and powerful. Your physical energy is key. If you are rushed and overly focused, it shows. Confidence radiates when we believe in what we have to offer and know its value to others.

To be clear, there’s a tremendous value in being prepared ahead of time with what points you want to convey. The problem is you may misunderstand that the real goal needs to be focused on the experience of meeting you, not the facts you are pushing. With that in mind, keep your interactions brief and above all be authentic.

You’ll never have this first-impression moment again… and if it is your “only” shot, connect, don’t bombard with facts. Give that person a reason to want more. If you do, I guarantee he or she will create more time for you … even if it’s not at that exact moment. Kick the tired elevator pitch to the curb and make the savvy 90-second connection to move your brand in the right direction.

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