Yesterday during my talk at the Girlfriend’s Guide to the Business of Blogging Webinar, I was asked to give my elevator pitch. I surprised many when I told them I don’t have one. I used to have a generic, cookie cutter pitch, but I rarely used it and found it very ineffective.
Here’s why I prefer the more personal approach:
1. Every potential client is different: I don’t believe in scripts or form letters. I like the personal touch. When I send an application or query letter to a potential client, it’s always different. I research each client and learn about his business and about his writers. It’s important to know what works for him and what doesn’t. My preference is to tailor a pitch to each individual person rather than create a generic pitch geared towards many. Unless you have a different pitch for each person, it really doesn’t make sense to say the same thing to everyone. Let me ask you this, do you think a web master will respond the same way to a magazine article pitch? Do you feel someone who specializes in green living will respond in the same manner as a pitch given to a representative for a gas guzzling car manufacturer?It’s nice to have an idea of what to say to a potential client, but not all of them are the same.
2. No one likes to be cornered in an elevator: Unless you’re invited to do so, most folks don’t enjoy being stopped by someone who is giving a pitch. Everyone is a potential client but that doesn’t mean they want to be stopped in an elevator or conference floor by someone who is looking for work. Talk with them and gauge their needs. If the opportunity arises, share ideas. If you feel they can use your services say, “I have some ideas I’d like to share with you during a less hectic time. Will you take my business card?” Rather than pitch, listen and take it from there.
3. You can’t pitch unless you truly know your audience: Though we covered much of this in item number one, I’d like to stress that without knowing your potential client, you can’t offer a standout pitch. How can you convince someone you can generate sales or build his online presence without being able to give specific instances? If you know nothing about your potential client, you can’t convince him you’re the best person for a gig.
4. Where and why are you pitching? Are you at a job fair? Go ahead and pitch. Are you at the supermarket? Probably not the best idea. Consider where you are and the reason for being there. You might turn people off if you start following them around with a sales pitch.
5. The personal approach works best: Pitches are good. Freelance writing is all about sales. However, the best sales people are the ones who don’t sound like sales people. When you’re personal with your response, folks respond. They see through hype. The they want sincerity. Sure, have an idea in your mind should a pitch-worthy occasion arise, but think about the person to whom you’re pitching and the best approach.
Would you send the same exact letter to every person who advertises for a job?
I’m not saying you shouldn’t have an elevator pitch. Just consider your source and location before pitching to someone. You may stand out in their mind, but not in a good way.
Do you really use an elevator pitch? If so, do you use the same pitch every time …how has that worked for you?