Your elevator pitch is the single most important communication of you or your business and why you are relevant.
Last month I wrote about how you can use your elevator pitch — or 20-second summary of your business — as a litmus test to determine if you are creating your own market or if you are competing in someone else’s. I received a litany of emails and comments about the elevator pitch exercise so I thought this month I would point out the critical error most of you are making: subjective language is making your elevator pitch irrelevant.
Subjective language is usually used in elevator pitches when businesses try to point out a perceived advantage in the market. This usually manifests itself as an ignorable “we focus on the customer first” or “we deliver a quality product at a competitive price” statement. Because these typified statements contain only subjective language the brain does not know how to categorize them, so it ignores them.
Next time you listen to someone give their elevator pitch pay attention to how you actively listen. Without realizing it, your brain is filtering through all the words that are being said and attempting to create a simple categorization of what the person is trying to communicate. You might even translate someone’s elevator pitch that isn’t objective enough for them: “So, you sell insurance to people who own small airplanes?”
Your brain is trying to translate what you hear into a simple, objective category called a “schema.” Our minds use schemas, or groups of cognitive elements that are associated with a single concept, because we are bombarded with so much sensory data that acknowledging all of them consciously would be paralyzing.
Consider an objective pitch like one Zappos might use; “you can return anything, anytime, for any reason.” Zappos is using measurable concepts that mean the same thing to everyone. Because objective words are measurable and finite, our brain can easily categorize and remember them.
Here is another exercise to determine how effective your elevator pitch is:
- Write down your elevator pitch.
- Cross out the subjective words
- Circle the words that are objective and measurable.
A great elevator pitch is only one or two sentences and contains only objective, measurable language.