Vote on your favorite pitch from Dreamforce here
Dreamforce is over. Thankfully. What stood out the most from the show? 1) I met with more than 100 people who didn’t have a badge for the show because they said, “the real business is done outside of the expo.” 2) How DIFFERENT everybody’s pitches were walking around the expo center floor.
The truth about how good or how bad elevator pitches are comes out at trade shows. People walk around and basically do this for hours and hours . . .
“Hi, I’m John Doe, this is what I do . . .what do you do?”
“Hi, I’m Sally Sue, this is what I do . . ..”
I probably heard 500 hundred pitches at Dreamforce and most of them were… OKAY. I started to pay attention to people’s pitches as the days went on and even started recording some of them (see below). I realized there are three things you want to watch out for on the trade show floor. If you hear these three things you’re going to want to get the the HELL out of there as fast as you can. . .
The “Me Monster”
The comedian Brian Regan made this statement famous but it holds true at trade shows. At Dreamforce I asked someone what they did and they literally said, “I started my career 25 years ago . . .” Wow! As you can imagine that conversation lasted 10 min until I told the gentleman that I really had to go.
Mr Old School
If you visit a trade show and you ask someone what they do and they say, “Well, my grandfather started the company 100 years ago. . .” Buckle up for a long conversation.
There are moments at trade shows when the hair stands up on your neck. Those are moments you should not ignore because it usually means the next 15 min is going to be a HUGE waste of your time. When you ask someone about what they do and they say, “Well…it’s complex. . . ” You know time is going to be wasted.
Look, a pitch is your one-liner. It’s WHAT you do in under 60 seconds. Some people call it the elevator pitch, some people call it your WHAT statement, but I just call it an absolute necessity. Sadly, not many leaders take the time to have every single person in their organization know the one-liner that says exactly what they do. Great leaders do this. They make sure everybody from the CEO to the guy mowing the lawn knows how to explain what the company does in under 60 seconds.
There are multiple ways to form a pitch. A friend of mine, Elay Cohen explains it this way on his LinkedIn blog
Elevator Pitch Framework
Here’s a proven framework you can use to improve your elevator pitch.
- Problem: Start with a statement or question about the problem you solve and share eye-opening statistics. Answer the why.
- Value Statement: Share a very clear, concise statement of value. Be action-oriented and outcome focused. Avoid using jargon. Share benefits.
- How We Do It: Highlight unique differentiators and explain what you do.
- Proof Points: Provide clear reference examples and list out recognizable achievements. Share industry validation and awards.
- Customer Stories: Share customer examples and successes. Tell emotional and personalized customer stories. Make it real and tangible.
- Engaging Question: Close the pitch with an open-ended question creating a space to have a conversation.
Donald Miller, who I hope to have as a friend sooner rather than later explains how to do a one-liner like this.
He gives an example in his book that says,
“We provide busy moms with a short meaningful workout they can use to stay healthy and have renewed energy.”
There are certainly other other models out there but I don’t care about the model, I care about the length. Anybody can pitch their company in 30 min, not everybody can pitch their company in under 60 seconds. Like Mark Twain said,
““I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
Let’s not be embarrassed, what is your pitch? If I was following Story Brand, I’d say (for XANT).
Character: Sales people
Problem: Not reaching quota
Plan: Use data and science built into sales applications instead of using gut and intuition
Success: Achieving quota by selling more
“We help sales people use data and technology to achieve quota”
How is your pitch? How is my pitch? I think we could all use a little bit of work.