Cute Elevator Speeches

One of the mainstays of sales training is the “Elevator Pitch” — a 30-second summation of what we do that we’d give a prospect if we had the prospect trapped in an elevator. The idea is that when someone at a cocktail party asks what you do, you can respond with a succinct value proposition rather than just a job title. Which, in theory anyway, will pique the interest of anyone who might be a prospect.

For example, if a business owner asks what I do and I say I sell advertising, the conversation might be over very quickly. He probably hasn’t been dreaming about buying advertising. If, on the other hand, I say that I help local businesses find tell their stories, find more customers and make more sales, there may be something to talk about.

 Over at the SW Washington and Portland Small Business Blog, Michael Thompson of Market Accelerators wonders if cute elevator pitches work. 

 No one in our group had a particularly cute one but we all could remember someone who did. You know the “I’m Rachel the Realtor and I’m Really Reliable” or “Harry the Healthy Heart Alternative or whatever. Some folks even dress the part with a particularly impressive hat or big flashing button — you know who you are.

It was interesting because we all could remember someone like that and often it turned out to be the same person. So obviously it works from a remembering point of view but none of us felt particularly like we would buy from someone like that. There was a hesitation for some reason.

I’m all for a memorable hook (I use “Portland’s Finest Media Rep”), but the problem with a cutesy rhyme is that it smacks of trying too hard. And the folks I’ve encountered who use handles like that are so pleased with the alliteration that they forget the rest of the value proposition. The best elevator speeches are like any other form of advertising — they tell potential buyers how the seller can solve a problem. Skip that part, and a rhyme isn’t going to save you.


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