Wright Foundation | October 22, 2015

Why You Should NOT
Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

In the last ten or twenty years, we’ve heard a lot about having your elevator pitch polished and ready to go: a scripted “story” you can share with potential clients at the drop of a hat, a canned slogan and summary of what you’re all about.

Listen: that idea is outmoded and unnecessary. Drop the idea you need a script to follow. Instead, evoke your emotional intelligence and skip the lines.

If you’re trying to sell too hard, customers will see right through it. Instead of trying to perfect and craft your pitch, try engaging with each person you meet. Give yourself a challenge: ask five questions BEFORE you start talking about yourself. Finding out what makes them tick, what’s challenging to them, and what their biggest concerns are, will lead you to the perfect method for meeting their needs organically. You’ll find out all about them and you’ll be able get in sync.

Find out about them and they’ll be interested in you.

Social intelligence is the key to unlocking any conversation, with customers or with coworkers. Try making the conversation about them and not about you. The most talented salesmen and leaders learn to share their vision with everyone they engage with, leading everyone involved to a shared outcome.

Pause, Listen and Hear…

We’re excited about our message! We want to share it with everyone we come in contact with. We get so fixated on engaging, we do all the talking and sharing. Step back and give your audience a minute to find their voice. Conversation is a two-way street and if you’re finding it tough to navigate with someone, you might not be fully listening.

The quietest people are often busy analyzing their next comment, they might be thinking out what to say next. They might be weighing outcomes and measuring their thoughts and trying to gauge their reaction. When I’m faced with someone who doesn’t seem to engage, who is putting up a wall or holding back, rather than trying to “talk” him or her into sharing, I find it’s a sign I need to shut up and listen.

Often the thing they share can be the most profound because they’ve been working it over for so long. Listen to your quiet customers and you will find out many surprising things. If you hear what they’re saying, they will reveal the way to continue the conversation.

Great engagement is about connecting and being interested. People often ask how I get people to open up about personal and sometimes painful issues during coaching sessions. It’s surprisingly easy, when you listen. Most people WANT to be heard and they’re just waiting for the moment to tell you their story.

Find Out What’s Holding Them Back

If you’re facing an uncertain purchaser, trying to convince your boss to get on board with your vision or rally the troops, you may feel like you need to reach into your bag of pat lines. Don’t. Be blunt. Say, “You’re holding back—why?”

Then sit back, listen and figure out what you need to do to get them on your side. Don’t rush to fix things or hand them a response. Instead hear them clearly. Ask questions to open their concerns up and encourage them to keep talking.

Every customer is different. Every person is different. Until you know and understand each person, there’s no set “sales pitch” that will win him or her over. It’s obsolete and actually drives them away. We’ve evolved to a point where we expect developed relationships in business.

We expect to be understood. Our customers expect the same.

Be ready to share your vision and help them understand, but don’t be so eager you don’t listen to theirs. The strongest vision is shared. Listen to the way they envision a perfect scenario and work with them to make it happen. You’ll find you end up with more sales and become a natural, transformational leader to those around you.

Want to boost your career? If you’d like to learn more about what the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential has to offer check out:


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.