Your Pitch Will Stand Out When It’s About Them

elevatorpitchDoes your elevator pitch sound anything like this? Hi, I’m Bob and I recruit the smartest people who can hit the ground running for the best companies in the area. And I can do the same for you.”

Not too bad?

Wrong, says Ian Altman. “The best elevator pitch shouldn’t explain what you do,” he says, “if your elevator pitch talks about WHAT you do instead of WHY people might need what you do, then your message is likely falling on deaf ears.”

Instead, says Altman, co-author of Same Side Selling and a business consultant and speaker on sales and business development, “A great Elevator Pitch starts with an Elevator Rant.”

He’s not suggesting you do the ranting. Instead, tailor your elevator pitch to problems clients need solved. Doing that will immediately peak the interest of the listener, since all of us respond better to a message that offers us the promise of a solution to our problems.

Discussing this different approach to the standard elevator pitch, Dr. Jon Warner, executive chairman of the Worldwide Center for Organizational Development, bemoans the pitch-by-number numbness of most networking introductions.

Fix it by first doing some sleuthing; what is it that employers most “rant” about? What problems of theirs can you solve?

When your recruiters get an earful from a client or prospect, have them note what the rant was about. You could probably make a list right now.

Sort through the rants to find the common issues. Is it quality of candidates? Is it time to fill? Is it cost? Is it that no one listens?

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Now, craft your elevator pitch to present a solution to their problem.

Warner suggests, “The first part of an elevator pitch based on this ‘rant first’ concept would therefore have a stem such as, ‘Our clients come to us when…’ (insert the most resonating complaint).”

Then, says Altman, the pitch needs to Entice, Disarm, and Discover:

  1. “Entice:  Entice the customer by identifying something you have that might be of interest.
  2. Disarm: Make it clear that you are not there to sell them, but merely see if there is a fit.
  3. Discover:  Trigger a discovery phase where you learn about them (instead of a meeting talking about your stuff).”

Translating that into a recruiting pitch, yours might sound something like,

(Entice) Most of our clients come to us when they’ve given up waiting for the right candidate to walk in the door. We’re very good at finding great workers and matching them to the right job. (Disarm) Because our process is so highly personalized, we can only take on about half the clients who want our help. (Discover) I’d be happy to hear more about your specific needs to see if we’re right for you.

Naturally, your pitch depends on what your detective work uncovers about client needs. Whether it sounds like the sample or something quite different, so long as you first hear ‘the rant’ and tailor your elevator pitch to solve the problem, you’ll be sure to stand out from everyone else.

John Zappe was the editor of and contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.