Many are familiar with what has become known in Networking lingo as an “Elevator Pitch.” Typically, it’s defined as a description of your product or service that can be communicated in a very brief time (i.e, up to 30 seconds; the time span of an elevator ride).
Although its genesis was in the context of an entrepreneur being asked to pitch their business idea to a venture capitalist in hopes of receiving funding, it has now come to mean something different; that when asked at a business or social event what you do for a living, you should respond with this carefully prepared statement in order to immediately elicit the questioner’s interest in doing business with you.
While indeed there is a time and place for everything, the chances are excellent that right when you first meet someone new — whether at a formal networking event or informal gathering — is not the time. First, the other person probably doesn’t care enough to want to listen. Secondly, they most likely will not appreciate being “pitched.” Doing this — especially right away — will, more often than not, break any possibility of creating rapport.
Actually, one excellent idea is to forever get rid of the word, “pitch.” After all, a pitch isn’t something you do for someone…it’s something you do to someone. Thus, Go-Givers or any successful Networkers don’t pitch. A much better word might be “present” or even “share.” Though, now is not the time for either of those, as well.
There is, of course, a time when it’s totally appropriate to share this information. This is when the relationship has begun to be established and he or she asks you to be explain what you do; either to them directly so that they have a better understanding or to someone to whom they are introducing you. In that case, it is helpful to have what we call a Benefit Statement.
This is a brief statement — typically, between 5-7 seconds — consisting of the benefit(s) one would derive from doing business with you. Unlike an “Elevator Pitch”, a Benefit Statement is “other-focused” (not “I-focused”) and doesn’t come across as…“pitchy.”
Next article, we’ll discuss this further and look at some good examples you can model in crafting your own.