Opinion

The Elevator Pitch

elevator pitch

My professor in business school always said, ‘have an elevator pitch’. An ‘elevator pitch’ is basically your sales pitch summarized within the time it takes an elevator to get to its final destination from the ground floor (usually a minute or three). Why is this critical? Simply put, beyond selling your product, your elevator pitch sells you! If you are looking for seed investment in a business, you need an elevator pitch (even if you are asking friends and family for funds).

In entrepreneurship and in life, selling and marketing, or as we like to term it locally, ‘packaging’ is a critical skill needed for success. The most successful companies in the world have mastered the art of ‘packaging’ and you know their trick, they sell you a solution to a problem you did not know existed! Imagine this scenario, Bobby goes to the gym to exercise – just to keep fit-, and there are mirrors everywhere clearly highlighting his physical flaws and before you know it, he has registered for a personal trainer, purchased workout supplements and signed up to a personal diet plan (all are more expensive than the gym membership he intended to pay). That is the work of a well thought out marketing plan. Just so you know, I am bobby and after all the added expenses, I still do not have a six-pack and I still wear a vest when I go to the beach (I cannot kill myself anymore).

elevator pitch 2

In Nigeria, marketing has become a dirty and frowned upon word because of its association with the banking industry. A light-skinned young girl (yellow paw-paw) with a short tight skirt is a marketer. Her primary job is to go and mobilize deposits by any means possible and she is given an impossible target that pressures her to market more than the banks products but herself as well. Let’s clean up this notion of marketing/selling, because if you think about, all we do all day long is sell. Asking for your parents’ permission to go out to the movies, toasting a babe, posting pictures and videos on twitter and instagram, these are all forms of selling. What makes selling absolutely critical, is how effective we are at selling, and what we want to sell.

I am not an expert salesman (I only have 494 followers on instagram, let’s not even mention twitter), neither have I produced anything worthy of sales but based on my research on the subject, I have identified Patrick ‘Mad’ Mork’s ten golden rules of masterful selling to provide a proper guide to anyone looking to develop and improve this life skill. The ten rules are

1.Solve a real problem
2.Ask questions
3.Get people talking
4.Look to serve, not sell
5.Never follow up!
6.Don’t be needy
7.Offer a limited set of options
8.Create clients
9.Make the ‘ask’
10.Smile and laugh

If you are like me, this still does not help you overcome the first obstacle in selling which is stage freight. How do you walk up to a complete stranger and ask him to buy your good or service without feeling embarrassed when they inevitably reject you. For me, that rejection is not just a rejection of my product, it is a personal rejection. However, over the course of several weeks, I shall explain these ten steps in detail. So be patient and be prepared to become a better salesman/woman.

BY C.B Nnnanna