NLP for Business: What Is An Elevator Pitch?

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The elevator pitch is one of the essential business tools you need.  It’s rumoured that the elevator pitch came out of the process screenplay writers used to get the attention of producers and directors in Hollywood.  They were so hard to book time with that script writers would go to the movie office and wait for the producers and directors to arrive in their cars. Then they would get into the elevator with them, and spend the 30 seconds while they arrived at the floor to pitch the concept of their script.

An elevator pitch is not the only way to pitch your business, it’s not even the ideal way to pitch it, but it is an important way of getting your foot in the door.

Basically, an elevator pitch is your chance to describe your business and capture someone’s attention within 30 seconds.  Often, when people are asked what they do, they respond with a job title, or a profession like, “Oh, I do SEO.” “I’m a finance broker.”  That’s not really a conversation opener, because you already know (or think you know) what that means, so you lose interest.

An elevator pitch should be designed to capture a person’s attention and attract an emotional response because people buy on emotions and benefits, not on features. They’ll usually buy to solve problems too, so if you’ve got a solution to a significant problem that I’m experiencing, I will pay whatever I need to pay to get rid of that problem.  People are far more likely to spend money to move away from pain, than towards pleasure. So your elevator pitch is a very elegant way of being able to present the problem you solve very succinctly. 

If you were a mortgage broker your elevator pitch might go something like this: –

“You know how when you put an application in for a loan and you don’t actually get the loan but it goes as a mark on your credit rating whether you got it or not and that can influence how you get loans in the future? 

Well, what we do is we offer a specialised consultative service whereby it helps people to ensure that when they apply for the loan, that’s the loan they’re going to get, not adversely affecting their credit rating and making sure that the product is right for them. 

In fact, we just recently helped a solicitor to manage a situation with his client where he’d been to several brokers and had a problem with his credit rating. We were able to find the right product for him and save him around $2000 a month on repayments.”

What’s the problem, what’s the solution, what’s the evidence of each.

A florist’s elevator pitch might go like this: – “You know how a lot of wedding florists are out there arranging flowers that look fantastic when they leave the box, but halfway through the ceremony they’re wilting and  going brown already?

Well, what we do is we make sure that we understand what the needs of the bride and the bridal party are and where the wedding’s going to be and actually provide a consultative service to make sure that they have everything they need and that the right suggestions of floral arrangements are made for the particular day and the look and feel that’s designed by the bride for her special day. 

In fact we recently had a bride that came in and wanted red and white carnations.  Here, let me show you the pictures of how beautiful they looked.”

Your elevator pitch is a fantastic tool to use at networking events, because it’s a conversation opener, rather than a closer.

Not many people actually know what a Life Coach does, or what neuro-linguistic programming is.  So, if I go up to someone at a networking event and say I’m an NLP trainer or a Life Coach, they say, “Oh, that’s nice.”,  If I follow up with “Have you heard of NLP?” they’re kind of stuck.  Maybe they have, maybe they haven’t, but they don’t want to look stupid, and they’re not really interested.

But if I say,

”You know how sometimes people feel like they’re doing everything they can to increase their business and it just seems like they get rejection after rejection and that often makes them feel like they’re not very good at what they do? 

Well, what we do is we actually make people identify where those belief systems are coming from and use hypnotic processes to allow them to make changes at the unconscious level. 

In fact, I recently worked with a guy who had such a belief about money which actually stemmed from something his grandfather used to say, and he just used to hear him saying it in passing. We did a simple process that took around 10 minutes and that week he went and closed a $100,000 sale, one that he had been working on for about 3 months without any joy.”

I haven’t said I’m an NLP trainer, I’ve told you about a problem, I’ve told you about a solution and I’ve given you evidence on how I solved that problem.

People buy on problems and solutions, they don’t buy on features, and they don’t care what I call myself.  Maybe if they’re interested in doing some business with me they might want to find out a little bit more about that.  So the next question is, “Oh, how did you do that?” or “What hypnotic processes? Do you really believe in hypnosis?” It opens a conversation. Instead of engaging in a situation where they get stuck with a label, I’m drawing their attention to a potential problem that they might actually have.

Rather than saying, “I’m this and I can help anyone, tell your friends and family and anyone you know who has legs to come and see me.” I’ve told them the kinds of people I work with, and the problems I solve.  I don’t work with everybody. There are NLP trainers out there who work with children – I don’t work with children, it’s not a specialty area of mine. There are NLP trainers out there that focus on holistic, I tend to look at NLP in the context of business, in terms of how you communicate with people, how you are having joint communications, how are you projecting yourself within your business.

Sometimes when I mention hypnosis in a business context people are clearly thinking that hypnosis has nothing to do with business.  That’s actually why I like to put it in there, because it stops people in their tracks, and in the context of a $100,000 dollar sale it draws attention.  Here’s a secret: It takes people to run businesses, and the people that run those businesses have emotions and sometimes they don’t know what to do with them, so you need to be able to resourcefully deal with your emotions in order to represent your business.  Hypnosis helps people deal with the emotions that are stopping them from doing business really well.

If you sign up for our mailing list you will receive a special elevator pitch tool, but I want to lead you through the NLP way of phrasing your elevator pitch because it’s very purposeful and specific.  It’s deeply rooted in the science of communication, so you’ll find these patterns under different labels all over the place.  People use them because they are powerful and proven.

Opening with, “You know how a lot of people have XYZ problem …” draws the person’s attention to what you’re about to say next … it starts them searching their minds to find out whether that’s a problem for them and they try to think of times when they felt that way or when they had that problem.

Continuing with, “Well, what I do is …” frames the problem in terms of your specific solution and draws their thinking forwards from the problem to the solution.

And finally, “In fact, …” displays convincing evidence that your solution works, and cements the kind of people you help and results you get firmly in their mind.

So effectively you are answering several questions in your 30 second pitch:-

  • What are the problems that your service answers?
  • What are common solutions to the problem?
  • How do you solve that problem?
  • And then where is some evidence that you’ve been able to do that?

You may develop several elevator pitches that reflect different facets of your business, but each one should focus on a single aspect.  If you are not sure about how to develop your elevator pitch sign up to our mailing list and you’ll receive our fantastic Elevator Pitch Tool.

Meta Description:  A perfect elevator pitch is an essential business tool to gain the attention of your ideal clients, and help them refer others to you.

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