A pitch not so perfect

A pitch not so perfect

A pitch not so perfect

The review of my business plan finally got over. As my boss had to catch a flight, he asked me to walk with him to the door for final clarifications. Walking briskly, I continued to give the highlights of the sales plan. He asked, “How about an elevator pitch?”

Old age is catching up, I thought, and continued to share my highlights a bit loudly. “Not elevated pitch, Ram. I meant elevator pitch.”

What the heck is this elevator pitch? I went back to my desk and researched. (Oh! By the way, be a little wary of this phrase ‘I did research’. It means that the key words are ‘googled’, and the first two urls  opened provides the information to form conclusions.) An elevator pitch is a short and concise sales pitch for a product, service or project. It is so called because it can be delivered to the prospect during the time span of an elevator ride.

Really! Can you sell anything in an elevator? Whenever you enter an elevator, people inside give you a disgusted look for causing a midway halt of their journey, leaving you with a feeling that they have bought premium tickets for the elevator ride, while you have entered with a free pass.

Can you sell anything to them? As you enter, they tend to close their eyes and meditate to avoid any possible eye contact. Their pensive mood indicates long-distance travel to space. Some even gaze up to top right or left corner of the elevator as if the Super Bowl is telecast there. They would not buy even packaged peanuts.

I wonder who coined the phrase ‘elevator pitch’. Were they on something? It is high time a few serious analysts in Wharton, Harvard and Tuck School analysed the effectiveness of sales in an elevator.

Assume that some prospect wants to listen to your elevator pitch. By the time you take out your laptop, get to the power point slide, the elevator would have completed its tenth trip. Your prospect would have started the first meeting elsewhere.

Imagine the awkwardness of holding the laptop in your left hand with the laptop bag tucked between your legs and right hand pointing at critical bullets of your elevator pitch. Yeah, right! Your prospect is all ears to listen and buy your services.

What if the elevator is an express elevator like the one in the Empire State Building? By the time you open your mouth to start the pitch, you hear the elevator bell ring and see your prospect walk out of it, while your mouth is still open.

Imagine the plight of fellow travellers in the elevator. I am sure a couple of law suits will be on your way for mental torture of the elevator riders.

I can’t understand why our sales and marketing guys are fond of elevator pitch. C’mon guys, wake up. The least your prospect wants in an elevator is your sales pitch. Let us take a look at your prospect’s probable thoughts in an elevator:

n His goof up in the last meeting and strategy to cover it up.

n List of do’s and don’ts during his next visit to his shrink.
n A set of employees eligible for pink slip.

n Excuse he is planning to give his wife for his stupidity.

n How to deal with his demented boss and/or subordinates.

Do you think he gives a damn about your elevator pitch? No. Can elevator pitch ever be successful? There is only one small probability of a successful elevator pitch. Make sure that your prospect is alone in the elevator. Wait until its doors are closed. Hold a gun to his head and say, “Give me the business, or else...” Unfortunately, in all higher probability, you will be in the nearest high-security correctional facility, busily preparing an elevator pitch to the warden, begging pardon.