When selling membership in your professional trade association or organization, it’s important to remember the “elevator pitch.” An elevator pitch is essentially a 10-to-30-second pitch that you could give to generate interest during the entirety of a basic elevator ride. The phrase harkens back to when salesmen would meet executives in an unexpected elevator trip and would only have a quick chance to impress these executives. While some individuals still rely on an actual elevator pitch, the term has evolved and is now considered to be the standard by which business interactions take place when meeting a potential client for the first time.
1. How to Deliver the ‘Elevator Pitch’
In terms of an elevator ride, you have a very limited time to deliver your pitch, but in reality, such as when facing potential association or organization members, you may have more time. The bottom line? Come up with a pitch that compels people to join your association or organization within a minute. They don’t have to make a commitment within a minute, but give them some time within that minute to make their minds up through your delivery. To do this, point out numbers and facts in addition to experience, but don’t go overboard. You’ll want the audience to know not only what you’ve done, but also what you’ve achieved, and also how you achieved it. Think of your elevator pitch as a very condensed version of your company’s resume. Also, remember that the pitch is not (likely) being carried out in an elevator, and in addition, you likely have some background on the prospect before you deliver your pitch.
2. No is OK
One of the biggest problems facing sales professionals is the word, “No.” To receive a ‘no’ is ok. No matter how good you are at sales, you will likely receive many more ‘no’ answers than ‘yes’ answers in your professional career. Take each ‘no’ and then find a way to improve upon the technique that brought it about. If you’ve tried everything and still can’t get ahead, look to a successful mentor for assistance. Your goal is to bring in new members to your organization, and developing the perfect elevator pitch can take time, experience, practice, and, once again, experience. When you are met with a ‘no’, try to look at it as a learning experience and realize that there are plenty of ‘yes’ answers to come.
3. Don’t Be Pushy
In adding to the above, one of the largest mistakes you can make with an elevator pitch is to be pushy. Remember that the original sentiment is to deliver a pitch as if you were stuck in an elevator for a very short period of time with a prospect. Therefore, don’t push things if you get the cold shoulder. Instead, offer the prospect your business card and hope that he or she offers one back. From there, you have at least made contact, exchanged info, and the possibility exists for a future connection.