Why is your favorite sports team better than my favorite team?
Why do you like your political party instead of mine?
Why are you so loyal to the make of car you drive instead of the make of car that I drive?
I bet you can make a passionate pitch for all three, and probably have them come out better than an elevator pitch or your unique value proposition.
At Objective Management Group (OMG), we ask salespeople to record their elevator pitches and value propositions as part of our sales force evaluation. Some are OK, most are not, and for most companies, there are tremendous inconsistencies between each salesperson's messages.
Elevator pitches and UVP's are usually so poorly constructed that it makes me wonder if anyone in sales leadership puts any time at all into formalizing these messages.
That said, I thought it might be helpful to discuss the elements of a good elevator pitch and/or value proposition.
I believe that a good pitch or proposition has seven elements:
- Personable - When a likable salesperson launches into a pitch or proposition and recites a scripted message, it sticks out like a sore thumb and they are no longer perceived as personable. It's imperative that they deliver the right message, without sacrificing their likability.
- Message - Whether it's an elevator pitch or value proposition, the essence of each is the message itself. Is the actual message consistent with what an elevator pitch (what we do) or value proposition (how we uniquely provide value) are expected to communicate? In my experience, most are not.
- Context - Context is important as it's the backdrop for the message. If the type and location of an event represent the context for how to dress, then the question that was asked or the type of call or meeting represents the context for the pitch or proposition. Context helps us frame the elevator pitch or value proposition.
- Who - Often times salespeople fail to include the company, product or brand in the elevator pitch or value proposition when it's the company that should be front and center. Explaining how what we do, or how we are different, impacts the prospect is equally important.
- Breadth - Salespeople should communicate the breadth of the offering or differentiation but too often, they ramble through their value proposition and elevator pitches, something that is never very effective.
- Succinct - As important as it is to show breadth, it is even more important to be succinct. Fewer words communicate a value proposition or elevator pitch much more effectively.
- Expertise - The company and salesperson have expertise and if not for their expertise, why buy from this company? Since so many salespeople suck, many buyers are making their decisions based on price instead of value. Good messaging is required to communicate and demonstrate a company's expertise, an element that can help neutralize a price-driven buyer and provide prospects with information they can use to justify buying from a company that doesn't have the best price.
Now that you've reviewed the elements of effective elevator pitches and value propositions, what must you do to improve yours?
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