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Why Elevator Pitches Are a Thing of the Past (and What to Do Instead)

Classic elevator pitches are built on principles of brevity and simplification. Let's break them down with a new paradigm in mind.

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Classic elevator pitches are built on principles of brevity and simplification. They worked well when the digital economy had yet to become saturated with one-liners from thousands of new business owners daily. Now, however, they’re not enough. Hyper-generalized statements about what you do are not as effective as communicating the value of your offer in varying ways.

Consumers are smarter and more exposed to sales language than ever. They’re asking great questions and expecting answers with more substance than, “I help busy business owners free up time” and “Let’s take your life to the next level!” Is it helpful to build the skill of summarizing what you do, for whom and why in 100 words or less? Yes. Is it your key to success? Not anymore.

Related: 10 Reasons Why Your Startup Isn't Getting Customers

Let’s break down the classic elevator pitch with this new paradigm in mind.

What you do

Are you clear about what you sell, and is it clear to others? Consider for a moment that you have 30-60 seconds to explain what you do. What would you say? Write that down. Your first draft is a good baseline. Once you have it, you can check its effectiveness. Does it feel exciting? Do you have questions? Are there any reasons you may not buy right now? Write these down.

Now, consider you’re in an elevator with two different people. They have two different perspectives. Their needs and desires are different. Their budgets are different. They live in different parts of the world. They speak different languages.

The classic elevator pitch would be to simplify and condense your language to appeal to them simultaneously. The new approach is to lead with more questions and encourage a dialogue. Find a way to talk about your offer in ways they can relate to, individually. Get creative with your delivery and more specific based on what they tell you. Which approach do you think leads to more sales?

Related: 4 Simple Ways to Communicate Better With Your Customers

Whom you serve

Your audience craves reassurance. They want twice the value in half the time. They want to pay less and see higher returns on their investment. They want the features to be clear and the benefits to feel attainable. They want it all.

Sharing what you do with them in a way that marries their high expectations and low level of commitment requires its own skill set. The archaic process of niching way down and creating buyer personas is no longer effective. What works now is getting clear about what you offer so you can sell to anyone in logical and highly attuned ways.

Using this approach, you can even get paid to validate your audience and learn more about them. I call this niching your content, and with the proper strategies in place, it builds visibility and credibility simultaneously. You’re transforming time that would otherwise be spent in hypothesis getting real feedback. Thus, you're generating revenue.

Related: 3 Ways You Can Let Your Customers' Stories Speak for Your Brand

Why it matters

People prioritize their own needs and desires when making a purchase. It would not make sense to invest in something without a perceived positive outcome. Old school ways of pitching may not operate the same way, but ROI sure stands the test of time. It therefore remains important to communicate why buying your offer is a good idea and what can be expected when one does just that.

Standards have also evolved more when it comes to sales. Offers sold with unethical fear at the core, such as forced scarcity tactics, are a dying breed. We are at a pivotal moment where feel-good language and true partnership are taking the reins. This is a positive shift that has resulted in higher integrity sales methods and more satisfied customers.

The “why” is now a blend of why we do it, why they desire it and where alignment exists. Once this is established and communicated well, sales are inevitable and flow more naturally. Both sides are also fulfilled throughout the process. It’s a beautiful, collaborative experience that leads to better customer experiences and higher loyalty.

You can keep your pitch simple and succinct without sacrificing the heart of your message. It begins with clarity around your offer. Once you listen to someone, you can adapt your value proposition to meet his or her needs in the same amount of time as a generic offer. Just be sure to maintain the highest level of integrity and commitment to delivering on each promise you make once that person buys. If you’ve done this, your business will stand out for all the right reasons and inevitably thrive.

Justine Beauregard

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Justine Beauregard is a marketing strategist and coach for compassionate entrepreneurs worldwide. Since 2008, she's helped hundreds of entrepreneurs worldwide maximize their impact and income using her marketing process proven to help businesses grow up to 6-times revenue in as little as 30 days.