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The Elevator Speech is Crap!

woman giving an elevator speech



When was the last time that the elevator door opened, and you saw 100 people all trying to move around? Some were trying to get in and others trying to get out.

Now if you listen to the sales trainer that you just attended, you are supposed to make a short elevator pitch, to tell people what you do, and find out what they do. You have 60 seconds to do this! In fact, the instructor practiced the speech with you until you got it right! What did “right” mean?

And you never tried it.

And if you are telling me the truth, you have never even tried it. Even if you did, in the real world, the person next to you was wondering why you were speaking to them in the first place.

Creating a conversation is, at best, difficult and trying to get information from someone that you have never met, might be better off left to someone in the FBI.

There are all sorts of techniques to begin a conversation in the elevator. Try pushing all the buttons and look so confused that the person takes pity on you.

Or you can drop a $5 bill and suggest that it is theirs, not yours. This creates an honest conversation.


The point is that the elevator pitch is an outdated approach that is still taught by out-of-date sales trainers who really do not understand the way we communicate anymore.

Let’s think about this for a moment. You get into the elevator and what are you thinking about? There are only two things; the meeting you just attended or the meeting that you will be attending. You don’t need some man or woman sliding up to you putting their face in yours and saying: I sell the best tractor, made in America, and sell it to Americans…what do you do?

What is supposed to happen? At least in the roleplay, you did in the morning, the person says “Really!! I was just thinking that we need a new tractor in our plant and this is the time that we buy 100 of them. HOW SOON can you get them to me?” Now you and I know that it just doesn’t happen that way! The person just looks at you in disbelief and wonders what home they let you out of this morning! This is being taught all over the tractor buying world right now. Yes, now, as we read this.

The Secret. You won’t believe this.

I am going to give you the secret of the elevator pitch right now. In fact, it is so easy you do not need a pen to write it down. When I was consulting top retail salespeople how to start a conversation, I told them never, I mean never say “can I help you” or “was there something that you are looking for today?” People walked away from me so fast I thought that I had drooled on them!

Instead, I would go up to the man, in this case, and simply notice their tie. That’s it. I then said that it was a beautiful tie. “Have you seen ones that we have on the counter over here?” Or if the shoes were really handsome I could say, “those are beautiful shoes, where did you get them?” After their reply, follow up with, “Did you see the Johnson and Johnson shoes in the case here?” It never failed to win their attention.

Every person who is living takes pride in what they wear. They look in the mirror before they go out for the day. Whether it be a man or woman, people make statements through their clothing.

It’s their private statement to the world that this is who they are, and that may not be you but it is “ME”.

So, what have we learned? Don’t fall into the trap of memorizing an elevator speech that will not work and you will not have time to say. Instead, engage the person with a compliment that will open the conversation for you and for them. Good luck, and by the way past this along or contact me at #sales or call anytime 646 341 6047.

I hope you found what you read interesting and helpful.



Posted in Real Facts You Need to Read, Sales