The Trick to Elevator Pitches

One of my favorite tricks to play on CEOs and entrepreneurs is to ask them, “Tell us about your company.”

Immediately, some jump into the weeds. Others jump into a story. A select few give beautifully crafted answers that position their business in a heroic light.

No matter what they say, I always respond with the same question to everyone in the audience:

How did the speaker FEEL about his company?”

They never see it coming.

Immediately, a sheepish wave of awareness fills the room as people realize that the entire answer had been devoid of emotion.

Having seen this over and over, I know the next thing I say will hit people right in the gut—because deep down we know it to be true.

I look the speaker right in the eye, and in a Mr. Miyagi moment, I ask him:

“If you don’t feel anything while you speak, how do you expect us to feel anything?”

Elevator pitches are emotional opportunities in disguise.

There’s a famous quote in sales:

“People don’t buy on logic. They buy on emotion.”

If you want people to buy into your elevator pitch, you can’t rely on logic alone.

You have to feel.

But you can’t fake this. You can’t just say the same words with more passion and enthusiasm and call it a day.

For this to be real, you need to shift your focus to a better question, such as:

  • What do you truly love about your company?
  • What about it genuinely inspires you?
  • Why should we care about it?

Whatever you say next needs to come from the heart.

People don’t just buy into your elevator pitch. They buy into you.

And in the end, we probably won’t remember most of what you tell us anyway.

But we’ll never forget how you made us feel.

April 3, 2019

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