It's Elevator Pitch Day, no really, it's National Talk In An Elevator Day.
There was a time when taking the elevator was a charming, romantic experience with an attendant that held beautifully crafted rod-iron gates open for you, warmly greeted you, and inquired about your day. Some attendants going so far as pausing the elevator so they can walk a single lady to her door for safe passage. Gone are the days of such nostalgic romanticism. In modern, technological year 2021, it's fair to assume an elevator ride is strictly functional. The closest to an attendant would be another rider offering to push the button for your floor if they're proximate to the push pad and only if they're proximate.
Asking a fellow attendant to hold the elevator doors open before the doors close on you? Ask any Northeasterner the answer to that question. Fortunately, being from the Southwest, it's not uncommon to see a Southerner hold a door until it buzzes if it means someone is able to catch the elevator. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Today's elevator use may be functional but for a growing business entrepreneur, it's like throwing a Hail Mary at the bottom of the 4th from their own 20 yard line with 10 seconds left on the clock. It comes down to laces out, the perfect spiral, and a perfect landing cradled by the receiver.
Can you tell I'm from Texas, yet? Friday Night Lights, y'all.
Although this sports metaphor may fall on deaf ears for non football enthusiasts, it still translates to any entrepreneur's elevator pitch experience. It takes luck, strategy, and the perfect pitch. So how do you perform a winning Hail Mary elevator pitch?
Pick your target. Is this is an elevator often used by familiar acquaintances? Maybe take note of the schedule of the person you've been meaning to connect with and seek opportunities to be proximate to elevator around the times that individual frequents. Is this an elevator full of strangers and would be a first time encounter? Be open to the possibilities that's about to happen!
Hook it up. Think of something memorable or catchy that will grab the attention of your fellow rider. There are a few introduction styles you can consider.
Small Talk Introductions: Do you share a title, social circle, professional circle, industry work? Do you have something in common in clothing, accessory, life experience?
Industry Introductions: Do you have a compelling statistic about your business industry? Do you know any growth levels or trends that's worth hearing more about?
Identify the Pain Point Introduction: What is the problem that your business will solve? Do you know what customers often express they need/complain about in your industry?
3. Share the solution. Identify all the benefits your business will bring to someone's life. Frame it by answering the following questions:
"My Business Will Make My Customer's Life Better Because _______________"
"My Business Helps My Customer Improve How They _____________________"
"My Business Relieves The ___________________ Experience Of My Customer."
4. Provide a takeaway. I don't mean giveaway anything. You want to ensure there is a follows-up from the chance meeting. Takeaway examples include providing your email, phone number, social media platforms profiles, QR code, website, invitation to coffee, etc.
Some other considerations that can be helpful to ensure you're efficient and effective:
A. Have an end goal in mind during the meeting. By having a goal established, it will naturally shape the direction of the conversation should it last long enough. This is your objective and will drive your task list during the follow-up process.
B. Know the intention of the meeting. Is this to accelerate funding? Is this to expand your professional circle? Is this to be an intermediary for a bigger fish? Is this to invite them to join your board? This is the question you're going to have answered.
Hopefully, you'll feel better equipped and informed with what to do in your next elevator when you have 30-seconds to 2 minutes to leave a lasting first impression. Keep your eyes locked on the end zone and a touchdown won't be too far off.