Serendipity is defined as good fortune, luck, or an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. I prefer the Serendipity Pitch over the traditional Elevator Pitch.
If you’re in sales, you know the drill. A hard to reach customer just happens to get on an elevator with you. You both get on at the bottom floor and are headed to the top. It will give you a precious minute of uninterrupted one-on-one time with this impossible to reach customer. The clock’s ticking. What do you say that gets you the appointment, or better yet, a sale right on the spot?
In many ways, I’m old school when it comes to what you need in your sales tool box. Skills like active listening, strong questioning techniques and efficient time management are timeless. Perhaps the most important of these fundamental skills is preparation. Being prepared frees up the mind. It allows us to process information we are getting from a customer, without having to think about facts we should already know.
You’d think these key skills would be a must for today’s sales pros. Think again. In today’s selling environment, technology is making many salespeople lazy. Email and texts have served to erode the quality of writing skills. Smart phones and tablets flood us with data, but do very little to convert that information into knowledge. Attention to detail and well-honed skills are a mark of the 20 percent of salespeople who are doing 80 percent of the business.
Point of View
When creating your Serendipity Pitch, it’s very important to think like the other person in the conversation. While the traditional version of this scenario focuses on you speaking with a hard to reach customer, what if the person receiving the information isn’t a customer?
Imagine you’re attending a dinner party and one of the folks at the party (a lawyer) asks you, “So what do you do?” Obviously, the information you provide to the lawyer will be different than the information you deliver to the potential customer. Both are important. While the lawyer may not be a potential customer – though you never know; he may need courtroom graphics at some point – ultimately, he may know someone who would benefit from your product or service.
A well crafted Serendipity Pitch provides the lawyer all the information they may need to positively present you to their friend. It’s because of this fact that I always create two versions of my pitch. I create one for someone who fundamentaly understands the products I offer, and one for someone who doesn’t.
Get to the Verb
I love this phrase! This one comes from LexJet’s founder, Art Lambert, who’s a very successful sales executive and entreprenuer. I believe his phrase sums up the mind of the customer perfectly. Customers are busy, so get to the point.
What does he mean by the verb? It means you need to give the customer a reason to listen to you… now. Who are you? What do you want from me? Why should I invest my time listening to you? How does what you propose/offer benefit my business? How much will I save with your solution? When may I expect these savings to my bottom line? When speaking to our proverbial lawyer you want to convert his casual and polite inquiry into genuine interest.
Ditch the Pitch
When making their pitch, most people rattle off a list of their responsibilities or the products and services their company provides, kind of like Bubba Blue in Forrest Gump: “There’s shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pinapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That… That’s about it.”
Like Bubba, our tendency is to say everything we do because we do so much. There’s certainly value in everything you do, but here’s what happens… The more information you provide, the less memorable you become, unless you’re Bubba Blue.
So, the perfect pitch is not a pitch at all; it’s really conversational messaging. It’s relaxed, fairly informal and, most importantly, it boils everything you do down to its essense. Moreover, it communicates the value of what you do in practical terms to the person with whom you’re speaking.
Ask for the Order
Don’t waste your minute with meaningless chatter. Get to the point, be confident and be direct about what you want. It communicates to the customer you value his time, you know your stuff and you believe in what you’re selling. Regarding the lawyer, ask if he knows of anyone who might benefit from your solution.
I’ve included a graphic in this post that helps us focus on the key elements of our pitch. It’s called the Relationship Revolver and it includes the six “bullets” we want to communicate during our conversation.
Briefly, these are the descriptions of the bullet points:
- We sell products
- We help customers
- We build relationships
- We create value
- We share knowledge
- We invest to continuously expand our capability to serve you
I started this post with the defintion of serendipity and that I prefer it over the term elevator. Now I’ll tell you why… Invest time learning about your customer. Be well prepared. Be confident. Practice until it feels natural. When you’ve done these things, the customer lucky enough to have stepped onto that elevator will be the one experiencing serendipity.
Have fun, make money…