Create a winning elevator (sales) pitch
How do you craft a winning elevator (sales) pitch that will engage others and get noticed?
People make up their minds about others in a matter of seconds. That’s a fact. So how do you answer the age-old question of “tell me more about yourself?” and gain the trust you need to make sales?
In two words- warmth and competence.
Managing your warmth and competence will help you make a successful pitch. Your pitch should be personable and natural e.g. “I remember riding in the car with my father which is why I wanted to go into engineering.”
Studies show people will consider warmth first before deciding if they can trust you. So let’s get in to how you can display warmth and gain the trust of your clients. Note that this recipe can be tailored to creating your own personal pitch for interviews.
Clear theme & story
Make sure there’s a clear theme to your pitch. The theme is defined as the one thing you want people to walk away with remembering you by. Keep this in mind. One way to display warmth is to add a personal story to your pitch. You can include things like: heritage, upbringing or personal convictions (as long as appropriate for professional setting).
Ask yourself the following questions and see if you have any personal stories to share on the topic that will help add warmth to your pitch.
- How did you get into this field
- What motivated you to do the work you do
Vivid language & questions
Use vivid details and questions where appropriate. It’s one thing to say “I grew up in a small town” and something else to reveal your town had only 1 stop street and restaurant.
Rhetorical questions can also help you change your tone in a natural, warm way.
Some rhetorical question examples include:
“You would think I would quit at that point, wouldn’t you?” or “this may all seem like a long journey, right?”
Declarative statements work in the same way-
“The bottom line is, I’m an entrepreneur at heart” or “If you ask me, I was born to be in sales.”
Are you poised while sounding conversational? Does your tone sound comfortable; as if you’re talking to a friend? Or do you go “on stage” when telling someone about yourself or your product? Understanding your presentation style can help you adjust it where necessary.
Consider your speed & articulation. You want to sound as authentic as possible because many pitches occur in brief opportunities and the temptation to get as much information in as possible can be your downfall. If you try this, you’ll end up speaking too fast and neglecting the storyline and warmth. Speaking too fast will also risk verbal blunders.
93% of a message’s meaning comes across in non-verbals. This means that the tone of voice and body language are the main things we’re being judged on. If you’re pitching in person, it’s a good idea to take note of the following (some of these points are also valid for video and voice call pitches)-
Maintain respectful and comfortable eye contact if you’re in front of the person. Looking at both eyes isn’t possible, so aim to look at the person’s right eye. Avoid looking down and to the side as this may signal discomfort or disinterest.
Remember that sometimes looking someone in the eye may not be culturally appropriate, so be sure to do your research into this beforehand.
Genuine smile & facial expressions
Smiling genuinely when you begin your pitch helps raise your tone of voice (this can be used either in person or on a call). It’s perceived as confident and relaxed; making sure your facial expressions come across as authentic and genuine.
These help communicate warmth and confidence. Make sure your gestures are smooth and open.
Slightly leaning in, to communicate with the person, helps show that you’re interested in what they’re saying. Just don’t get too close. Warm communicators manage a mix of enthusiasm, energy, authenticity and calm presence with non-verbals.
Demonstrating you’re trustworthy when you first meet someone is really important.
Choose two words to describe yourself and stick with those. An example could be: I’m an insurance junkie.
Simply listing your competencies isn’t enough. The person you’re talking to needs to feel confident that you have what they need. Consider your experiences and find the best examples to highlight each competency required. In this case, competencies can also be products or services.
The STAR approach
The STAR approach is a handy acronym for structuring examples of how you’ve demonstrated a particular competency.
Situation- set the scene by outlining context of your example
Task- define the task, problem or goal
Action- explain in detail the what, how and why behind what you did to complete the task
Results- outline the results to show your success using that skill.
After considering these points, write a script of what you’d like to say or get across and practice in front of a mirror or even test it on friends or family. Take into account what their feedback is and always make sure your script balances warmth with competency.