Let's face it: most elevator pitches woefully inadequate when it comes to starting the sales cycle.
This post contains the video examples of the ten most common elevator pitch problems... with quick advice on how to fix them.
My apologies to the pitchers, who probably didn't envision being thus honored. At least they'll get some publicity for their firms, though...
But don't feel obligated to watch each video to completion. In most cases, the error occurs with 10 seconds.
BTW, the final video (and pitch) is so incredibly awful that it defies belief...like something from a new and dreadful world.
PROBLEM #10: Too Freakin' Long!
- Why he did it: He probably heard that elevator pitches were supposed to be at least one minute long.
- What probably happened: The prospect lost interest long before the pitch was complete.
- How to fix it: Target a length of ten to twenty seconds. No more!
PROBLEM #9: Too Darn Detailed!
- Why he did it: He was throwing things into the air and hoping something would stick.
- What probably happened: He overwhelmed the prospect with details that meant nothing.
- How to fix it: Keep it pertinent. Only hit 2 or 3 key points. Or even just 1 really good one.
PROBLEM #8: No Emotional Punch!
- Why he did it: He (wrongly) assumed an elevator pitch is about providing information.
- What probably happened: The prospect's emotions were not touched, so the prospect didn't care.
- How to fix it: Let your enthusiasm and commitment shine through every word.
PROBLEM #7: No "Ask" At The End!
- Why he did it: He was so wrapped up in his own ideas that he forgot why he was selling.
- What probably happened: The prospect was intrigued but didn't know what to do.
- How to fix it: Ask for the next step when you're certain the prospect is intrigued.
PROBLEM #6: Disconnected From Reality!
- What he did: He asked for $50,000 and then laid out a plan that would require much more.
- What probably happened: The prospect realized immediately that the business plan wasn't coherent.
- How to fix it: Make sure your pitch is just a starting point for a well-run campaign.
PROBLEM #5: Starting With a Crappy Gift!
- What he did: He tried to obligate the prospect to buy (or at least listen) by first providing a symbolic gift.
- What ACTUALLY happened: The prospects took one look at the hat (t-shirt, mug, etc.) and winced.
- How to fix it: Save the gimcracks and giveaways until after you've made the sale.
PROBLEM #4: Too Much Techie Jargon!
- What he did: He blabbered out a lot of techie talk that just sounded like gibberish.
- What probably happened: The prospect decided the guy was a propeller-head and turned off.
- How to fix it: Make every word count. Use plain language to describe what you're doing.
PROBLEM #3: Motormouth!
- What he did: He was so nervous that he talked a mile a minute. (Note: Despite the weak pitch here, Ribbit is actually kinda cool.)
- What probably happened: The prospect figured the guy took sales training from an auctioneer.
- How to fix it: Pace yourself. Practice your elevator pitch in a normal, conversational voice.
PROBLEM #2: A Stupid Leading Question!
- What he did: He tried to get the prospect involved by asking a rhetorical question.
- What probably happened: The prospect was the hard-sell coming and started looking for the exit.
- How to fix it: You've only got 20 seconds, dude. There's no time for your jackass question.
PROBLEM #1: Written By Marketing!
Note: For extra fun, stop the video at 17 seconds (0:17) !!!
- What he did: He assumed that the "branding" guys would know how to write a good sales message.
- What probably happened: The prospect thought the guy was incompetent. (Or insane, because of his hair, but that's an entire other issue.)
- How to fix it: Write a sales-oriented elevator pitch that actually makes sense. Here are a couple of posts to help you out: