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Great Elevator Pitch! What Now?

Over the past week, I've been posting about elevator pitches. Probably the most important part of the elevator pitch is the "call to action" at the end.

In most of the elevator pitches that people have sent me, the call to action (if present) is stilted and insensitive. Here are two examples:

  • We know that in today's marketplace we need to do more, and to that end Our Difference is the Key. Would you like to hear about the Executive Difference?
  • So what would need to happen to make your company something worth talking about by your customers?
They're stilted because the wording is biz-blabby. And they're insensitive because they assume that the prospect is now interested.

According to sales guru Barry Rhein, the "call to action" must be preceded by an open-ended conversation starter that allows you assess the customer's interest. Then, based on your sense of the level of interest, you attempt to close on a meeting using the appropriate call to action:

  • If the prospect still seems skeptical, say: "If we really could do [your offering's benefit], what would your thoughts be on having an initial conversation with us to hear more?" Listen to the response, and then react accordingly. You may not get the appointment, but you've at least opened up the possibility.
  • If the prospect now seems neutral, say: "What would your thoughts be on having an initial conversation with us about [your offering's benefit]? What is your availability over the next few weeks?" Note that while this asks the same question as above, it pushes more strongly for an appointment.
  • If the prospect seems moderately interested, say: "I would love to have an initial phone conversation with you about [your offering's benefit]. What is the best way to get on your calendar?" Because you're reasonably sure of the prospect's interest, you restate the benefit, and then go for the close.
  • If the prospect is clearly interested, say: "How do I get on your calendar, please?" Because you know the prospect is going to say yes, you don't restate the benefit, but just go directly to the close.
READERS: Have you ever turned a chance meeting into a sales opportunity? If so, how did you do it? Did you use an elevator speech?
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