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Debbie Josendale
Debbie Josendale
Debbie Josendale is an advocate of Education Marketing and teaches entrepreneurs and small business owners Business Building Marketing based on sharing their expertise to stand out from the crowd.


Posted in Business / Marketing

Elevator Pitch: NOT!

Nov. 17, 2011 6:24 pm
Keywords: None

by Debbie Josendale

Let me just start with this:

I hate the term Elevator Pitch! The idea of the 30-second PITCH has been around since the beginning of time. And it just keeps getting passed down through the ages.

But it’s outdated and doesn’t work.’s designed to be a one-way conversation that is “pitching” your business.

Pitch means to throw, fling or hurl...and that’s the problem.

This is the marketing age of engagement!

Pitching doesn’t work! In fact, I would venture a guess that the traditional “Elevator Pitch” looses more business than it attracts.

I agree that every business owner needs a 30 second answer to “What do You do?”, but let’s update the traditional elevator pitch to work for today’s business environment!

Elevator Pitch...Change the Name

Perhaps the first place to start is to change the name of Elevator Pitch to Conversation Starter or Elevator Spark or Elevator Engagement.

Changing the name makes an immediate shift in our minds. It reminds us that our to spark interest, spark a conversation, spark a request for your business card “because I want to know more...but I have to get off of this elevator!”

Elevator Pitch: What’s in It For Them

One of the best ways to spark interest is to share information that informs and teaches something about your area of expertise. It might be a fact, an anecdote or even a phrase that is relevant to your business. And here’s the key to success...connect the fact to the results you deliver.

Here’s an example of an Elevator Spark statement I use for 3C Marketing Group.

Well, did you know that most marketing techniques were developed to sell products, not services? Today 8 out of 10 new and existing businesses are service-based businesses. Selling services is very different and my company 3C Marketing Group specializes in designing and implementing marketing systems for companies who provide services.

This statement always opens the door to further conversation. It leads to questions around the difference between marketing and selling services and provides an opportunity to learn more about the person and their business.

Engage Not Pitch

The traditional elevator pitch is based on getting as much information out in 30 seconds as you can about your company. You’re doing exactly what it’s called...Pitching...your product or service in the hope that something might stick.

On the other hand, when you rework your 30-second statement to focus on engagement, you create space for a two-way conversation. Which is ultimately what builds relationships and leads to business.

Elevator Pitch: The Power of Authenticity

I work with small-business owners and entrepreneurs to develop their 30-second statement. When we begin this process, I refer to it as the Elevator Pitch. I have yet to meet one who did not shudder at those words.

Digging deeper, it always turns out they feel un-natural and awkward with their pitch. It feels salesy and like they’re trying to push something on someone. They don't feel connected to their Marketing Mojo. This causes them to deliver the pitch with a low self-confidence making them feel weak...versus the accomplished and talented person, they are.

When we shift our work to creating elevator conversation starters or sparks, a correlating shift happens in confidence and comfortableness. Creating statements that start with engagement as the goal opens up many possibilities. It also provides the opportunity to connect from an authentic place turning on the marketing attractor factor. Which leads to great confidence when sharing their elevator spark.

And when that happens, there is lots of engagement spark that builds relationships and leads to business!

What do you the traditional elevator pitch outdated? How else would you create a 30-second Elevator Spark?

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Dennis Lendrem
November 19, 2011 at 2:58 am
Pitch, Spark...

Your statement for the 3C Marketing Group engages the listener by challenging their existing model and making them think. By planting a seed.

Many professionals, rightly or wrongly, regard the very word "sales" with contempt and disdain.

However, I've found "planting a seed" a useful framework within which to discuss the promotion of professional services.

I'd be interested how your clients respond to this alternative framework. to Shut Down Permanently on December 31, 2017

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