Sales Presentation: “Elevator Speech”


Do You Have an “Elevator Speech?”

The other day my son called me.  He is a new, but already successful, young internet entrepreneur.  He told me that he had been invited to a luncheon of businessmen and that he would be given 60 seconds to introduce himself to the group.  He told me that he had gone onto this web site to use the FAB Script writing tool to prepare what he proudly referred to as his “Elevator Speech.”  (If you are a member of this site, you have free access to this great tool.)  It is obvious that he had been paying attention as he grew up in the home of an international sales trainer.  He had done an excellent job of designing his presentation and I made a few suggestions that he believed would make it even better.

As I began thinking about this, I decided to post this article.  Do you have an “Elevator Speech?”  If you do not, it may be that you are not familiar with the idea and you may not know the value.  Following is the explanation of why this particular memorized presentation is called an “Elevator Speech,” and how I used it and taught it for many years.

Why is it called an “Elevator Speech?”  Imagine you get into an elevator and push the button to go up to the 10th floor.  The elevator stops on the 2nd floor and a businessperson that you have been wanting to get an appointment with steps into the elevator.  He pushes the 9th floor button.  You now have the time it takes to travel 7 floors to say something that will grab this person’s attention in such a way that they will ask you to contact them.  The speech must be 60 seconds or less.  The speech must say what you do, how it solves problems and what benefit it is to the prospect.  If you do not have a memorized “Elevator Speech,” you may not be able to successfully take advantage of this opportunity.

How have I used this idea and taught it over the years?  During the last two decades of my career I called on and taught others to call on business leaders.  Occasionally I would find myself in a gathering of business leaders.  For example, I may have been attending an informal Chamber of Commerce function.  Without exception someone would walk up to me and ask, “What do you do?”  Now they really did not care or want to know what I did.  What they really wanted was to find out if I was someone important that they should know … or … they wanted me to tell of my position so they could then tell me how important they really are.  They were never ready for what they were about to hear … my “Elevator Speech.”  It would go as follows:

Prospect: “What do you do?”

Me: “John, we solve the problems that keep senior executives like you awake at night.”

Prospect: “How do you do that?”

Me: “John, we bring executives together on a regular basis to share ideas on how to increase productivity and profitability.  Would you like to know more about those meetings?”

Prospect: “Yes I would.”

Me: “I will call you this afternoon to make an appointment.”

In my “Elevator Speech” I positioned the Benefit first (you will get more sleep).  I would do that so they would need to ask me how we accomplished that.  Then the rest of my speech would be the Feature (bringing folks together) and the Advantage (sharing ideas to increase profits).  My son’s “Elevator Speech” was for a group and he could not try to prompt a question.  So his speech took on a more typical design by telling what he does (Feature) followed by what problems he solves (Advantage) and then concluding with how that helps his prospects gain or avoid (Benefit).  Write your own “Elevator Speech.”  You will have fun and you will be prepared for the next opportunity.

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