Wanna know a secret? I’m a marketing expert and my elevator pitch STINKS. Come to think of it, I don’t really have a good elevator pitch. The other day I was at one of those networking events where people get up to introduce themselves and some of them have these snazzy, memorized elevator pitches. I don’t have anything against those, but that really isn’t my style.
What about you? Do you have an elevator pitch? When did you put it together? And did you know that in addition to the internet, social media and marketing in general — elevator pitches have evolved and gotten more sophisticated. I KNOW — it’s crazy! And after I tell you all about this new book called Small Message, Big Impact the Elevator Speech Effect  by Terri Sjodin (@terrisjodin ) , you’re going to find yourself going back to the drawing board on your elevator pitch. Now that I’ve told you that, I don’t feel so bad about not having worked on mine.
So let’s take a peek inside Small Message, Big Impact and see if we can take our elevator pitch into the 21st century.
But First, A Word About The Author
I haven’t met Terri Sjodin, but I feel (and I think you will, too) like I know her. I got this feeling from her honest sharing of her first experience with the elevator pitch. Anyone who has been in sales and tried to get that big account will relate to her story, her creativity and her spunk when she decided to land that big account and then showed up in his office parking lot at the crack of dawn with a white rose — just to earn a 10 minute appointment. She says it was a lame attempt at an elevator pitch — I say it was brilliant.
Terri is the principal and founder of Sjodin Communications , a public speaking, sales training, and consulting firm. She’s been a speaker and consultant for Fortune 500 companies, industry associations, academic conferences, CEOs and members of Congress (may not nearly enough members of Congress, but I digress). What’s most impressive about Terri is her insight about the fact that our relationship building and referral conversations have changed and that our elevator pitch has to change with them.
What Do An Elevator Pitch And The Butterfly Effect Have In Common?
This entire book hinges on the concept of the Butterfly Effect – the phenomenon inspired by Edward Lorenz, an MIT mathematician. The concept is that a small change in one part of the world can create a huge impact on another side of the world. She makes her point clearly in the opening of the book where she tells a story about running into your ideal client in an airport. Maybe your circumstances are different – but you get it. Who hasn’t had the experience of being presented with an opportunity to impress or to create a new business opportunity and squandered it because you didn’t know what to say and how to start the conversation?
The Right Pitch For The Right Time
Small Message, Big Impact is based on the idea that you can’t have just one elevator pitch. You have to have several that are at your disposal and top of mind so that you can approach these serendipitous opportunities with grace and ease. The book is written in twelve chapters that take you by the hand and educate you on why it’s important to have a custom pitch and how to create one for every occasion.
Chapter 2 hits on what I see as the most important thing to “get” out of this book — your INTENTION. It’s your intention for that person or for that circumstance that will define which elevator pitch you’re going to use. When I read this, I just about fell off my chair because this is what I think has been holding me back. I’ve been working on a single elevator pitch and never used it because it never seemed to fit the circumstance. You’ll want to read this chapter carefully and make sure that you understand and integrate what Sjodin is trying to get across.
Chapter 3 gives you the outline for a successful elevator pitch. That’s nothing new. But were Sjodin strikes paydirt is that she reminds us that we will often have three basic intentions with our pitch; to inform, persuade or simply present. There is also a template that is at the end of the chapter for you to use. In fact, everywhere she introduces a new outline, she provides a template. Each subsequent chapter guides you through the process and shares stories from real people that you can relate to and their challenges and successes related to the elevator pitch process. Then, at the end of the book there is an appendix where you will find all the templates together.
What Was Missing For Me
Maybe it’s my insecurity or writer’s block when it comes to these things, but I wish there were MORE examples of elevator pitches included that showed the progression of brainstorm, to first draft to finished draft using the templates provided. When I sat down and looked at the template — I literally froze up and my brain just shut down.
For example here is the first template:
- Grab the listener’s attention _____________________.
- Tell them where you are going__________.
- Talking point 1
- Talking point 2
- Talking point 3
I was overwhelmed at “Grab the listener’s attention” – I just froze up. I would have loved to see examples there. Don’t get me wrong — there are examples there. I just wanted more.
How To Read This Book