Preparation is key
The idea of delivering an elevator pitch, whether to a current customer or an elected official, can seem daunting. However, with careful preparation this can become second nature. We invite you to pick up a pencil and work through the table accompanying this column. Fill in the information for your business. We hope you will find that once you think through the process and the key points you want to make, that an elevator pitch will no longer seem so daunting.
- List at least four individuals, along with the title that they hold, for whom you could benefit by having an elevator pitch with (e.g. Sam Jones, Farmer Customer; Rob Smith, County Commissioner).
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Identify the likely motivation for this individual in interacting with you; what is the problem that they are trying to solve?
- Identify what it is that your business does that results in Value for this individual (e.g., market for farmers’ grain; jobs in the community)
- List the potential places where you might run into this individual (e.g. at the grain elevator; community event; grocery store)
- Describe the nature of this meeting environment (e.g., quiet where I have the full attention of the individual; noisy crowded environment)
- Identify how much time you expect you would have to communicate
- Identify two or three key points you want to highlight for this individual
- Finally jot down your notes on the key things you will do as part of this elevator pitch
- Write down an opening phrase you could use to catch this person’s attention
- Write down a closing phrase you could use to make it easier to have that follow-up interaction
The final stage: Delivering the elevator pitch
Once you have developed your pitch, then practice, practice, practice. You may practice it as you are driving alone down the road, in the shower, or close the door to your office. Two important phrases to consider as you are developing your pitch are the first and last phrases. These can be the hardest ones to say — so having prepared phrases to get you off on the right track and then to leave the person with what you want them to remember is critical. The more you practice your pitch the easier it will be when you deliver your pitch.
Confidence is key here. No matter how much preparation you do, it will all be wasted if you fail at this final point. It is critical that you be confident and positive about yourself, your firm and your product/service.
YouTube has several interesting videos you might want to watch regarding elevator pitches. They may be found at: http://tinyurl.com/2a7svaj.
Thinking about and preparing an elevator speech is a great way to think of the important points you want people to know about your grain or feed business. The key is to throw in things that you know well, but also to think about why others should care. If you think through these central elements, they will be “top of mind,” so that you can deliver them when and where appropriate.