Without coaching or any process, most first-time recorded pitches are simply poor. Without proper training or a plan of attack, first time pitches tend to ramble, are too long, plagued with “uhms” and “ahhs” and are fragmented and not engaging.

You wouldn’t try to build a house without a systematic process to follow. Building a pitch is no different. Luckily, PitchCrafting has a defined a simple to remember and effective process we call the “Avatar” method. In the online world, an Avatar is a unique virtual character that represents you. Representing your pitch is no different, it needs to stand out, it needs to be unique, it needs to be simple.

Here it is in nutshell:

PitchCrafting: The Simple Method

1. Problem: State the problem or need that exists.

The problem must be stated clearly to build credibility and then transition into solving the problem in the next part of your pitch. This is akin in sales to “pointing out the pain”. Why does your product or service exist?

2. Solution: State how your offering solves that problem.

Here is where you get to shine. Solve that problem. Be clear and concise. What does your company, you, your product or solution do?

3. Uniqueness: State how your offering is unique.

You may have competitors, how do you stand out? This is the part that many people struggle with. The uniqueness does not have to be part of your product, it can be your years of experience, prices, or level of customer service. Be careful NOT to use generic terms here like “best”, “cheapest” or “biggest”. Use quantifiable language.

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There are additional elements we can explore in advanced pitch crafting, but for now you have the core elements to craft a first rate elevator pitch. If you are being recorded, here are some advice points to remember. The advice is broken into two sections. Simple and advanced. Simple advice is just that. Simple. Follow the simple advice and you will have dramatically results. The advanced advice is for those that are more comfortable with speaking in front of the camera and really are looking to hone their pitch. The goal here is not to give you too much to think about. If you are new to this concept, stick to the simple advice.

Simple Advice

  1. Think in bullet points. Say it to yourself a few times. “Problem – Solution – Uniqueness. Problem – Solution – Uniqueness.” Don’t try to remember everything at once. If you remember those three words, you will do fine.
  2. Good posture. Stand straight and maintain good posture. Video pitches are, for the most part, head shots, however, good posture projects confidence. Believe it or not good or bad posture can be detected by the viewer from a neck up shot.
  3. Get an “um” ball. If you have a tendency to use filler words like “um” and “ahh” leave them at home. One “um” can remove all confidence projected by your pitch. A simple technique to get rid of the filler words is to hold something soft in your hand that you can squeeze. When you have the urge to use a filler word, replace that with a squeeze of a ball. This is an amazingly simple technique that works. The reason it works is that you are replacing a behavior vs. removing it. Psychologists will tell you that replacing a behavior is much easier than eliminating it. This also works for public speaking!
  4. Don’t apologize. If you screw up, and most people will… keep going until you are done. The pitch is only 30 seconds and it will be good practice to complete it. If you want to immediately start over, do so. DO NOT APOLOGIZE OR MAKE LIGHT OF YOUR ERROR. If you do, this sets tells your brain you have failed. Every mistake is a learning experience and you need to internalize mistakes as a positive thing. Use mistakes to power your humor and passion. The best pitches I have ever seen are from people that messed up, got a big smile on their face…and did it again.

Advanced Advice

  1. Expect great things. You may be talking to one person holding a camera, but the audience is 1000′s. Project as if you are talking to 1000′s, not one.
  2. Project with passion. In advanced pitch training, nearly one quarter of a pitch’s peer-review score is based on projecting passion. If you don’t believe in what you are talking about, it simply won’t work unless you are an incredible actor.
  3. Find your cadence. Strategic short pauses and even silence can have a dramatic effect on the impact of a pitch. This is part of advanced pitch training, not for every person or every pitch. Find what works for you.
  4. Sound conversational. Remember you are talking to people, don’t sound like you are reading to them

The 30 second pitch is a skill that every leader and sales professional and business developer needs to master. It is surprisingly easy if you follow the process.

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Formula for great elevator pitch: Answer: 1) what is the need? 2) how you solve it? 3) why is your product unique? http://pitchcrafting.com

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Getting ready to coach attendees of the ASAE conference http://www.asaeannualmeeting.org/ in Toronto on the Art of the Elevator Pitch

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Interested in getting your message in front of 1000′s of people?   The PitchCrafters will be at the ASAE conference in Toronto on August 15-18th.  Stop by the Broadlook booth (#209) to get your 30 second pitch coaching session.   The PitchCrafters will videotape your pitch.  The top 10 pitches will be posted on PitchCrafting.com and idonato.com which has a combined readership of 20,000, plus a large RSS distribution.

To best craft your 30 second elevator pitch, think in terms of 3 bullet points

  • What is the problem in the market (why does your product/service exist)?
  • How do you solve that problem?
  • Why is your organization unique?

If you focus on these 3 things, you will have a concise pitch delivery.

See you at ASAE!

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The first class in PitchCrafting curriculum is the Art of the Elevator Pitch

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This class will cover:

* Recording the Pitch
* Components of a good pitch
* Developing a good pitch
* Testing your pitch
* Customizing your pitch
* When to give the pitch
* Common pitch mistakes
* Capturing the pitch
* Measuring the pitch for individuals
* Measuring the pitch for groups
* Coaching the pitch

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PitchCrafting note:  This blog was originally published on idonato.com.  The Art of the Elevator Pitch

Companies and the minds within them evolve over time. I have experienced it firsthand in founding Broadlook Technologies and steering its growth over the last 6 years. Core competencies change, competitive landscapes change, opportunities come and go and through all this there is your corporate identity and messaging. There is internal messaging, external messaging and…

THE ELEVATOR PITCH

While internal messaging may be something like “don’t complain about the 150 lbs slobbering behemoth of a dog the CEO brings in with him” (if they do, I bring in her soon to be 200 lb offspring), I am not focusing on that here. Today I am concerned (sometimes, up at night) about external messaging; that which is projected outwards to the marketplace. What brought this to my attention was my wandering around the booths at the recent Onrec conference in Chicago. Innately, I am very curious person; I want to understand. So I made the rounds to each vendor booth and simply asked them.

“So what do you do”?

For the most part, I was horrified with the experience.

Why? It was NOT because what I heard was awful. In fact, many pitches were excellent. I was horrified because it made me question and run to the Broadlook booth. Was my team excellent, or not so excellent?

Let me digress…Understand this is an area of pride for me, Dan Hughes (one of Broadlook’s co-founders) and I rock at the trade shows. People line up to get a peek at our latest solutions. We have well crafted pitches, regardless if we are talking to a recruiter, recruiting manager, sales rep or CEO.

How did my team at Broadlook Technologies do with their pitches?

Mixed results. Some were very good and some were poor. Next step, I called each of my reps that were not attending the show.

“This is Donato, I want you to call my cell phone back ASAP. I won’t pick up my cell phone. Leave me a message as if I was a prospect at a trade show and I asked you.”

“So what do you do?”

Armed with a larger sample size, it was hard for me to accept that Broadlook Technologies was, as it relates to elevator pitches…average. We filled out all sectors of the bell curve. That hurt. The blame was solely mine and I needed to do something about it. Average sucks.

Fast forward. Today Broadlook Technologies rocks the pitch.

How did Broadlook get there?

I did a deep dive into researching elevator pitch. Most of the research, materials and advice I found was related to making a pitch to get financing. In reality, this type of elevator pitch is 2-3 minutes long and is too lengthy for a trade show pitch. I needed techniques for a 20-30 second pitch, not 2-3 minutes.
Most of what I learned is that people have mastered copying each other. Like almost all writing in all industries, industry “experts” are copying 5 of the top 10 something’s from one place or another to build their top 10 list of something else.

I’ve never been good at that.

So it was time for fieldwork. Thus, for those that saw me in October conferences with my camera, I was learning. At the first conference, I was in not helping with the pitches; I recorded them as-is. The camera was cheap, and the audio quality was lack-luster. At the second conference, I had a new Sony HD camera. Video was great but the audio was poor with all the background noise. By the 3rd conference, I added directional microphone. By the 4th conference in October, I learned what made a great pitch and I was able to coach the people I was recording. After the 4th conference, I was confident enough to put together a 60-minute webinar: “The Art of the Elevator Pitch”. It went over very well for the vendors attending the Kennedy conference. In the webinar, I talked about elements of a good pitch as well as how to measure and coach a pitch. Info on measuring and coaching was absolutely void, so I feel I made a break-through contribution. What good is teaching something if you don’t have the tools to measure effectiveness and coach the topic?

This was a fun experience. In total I did about 60 recordings. 38 of the recordings made it into this blog entry. The ones I cut out were either very bad, or the video/audio quality was poor. I am not a videographer, some pitches were fantastic, but my camera skills were not and the end result was unusable. My end goal was to (1) share what I learned about pitches and (2) give the vendors that spent time with me a venue to get them some exposure.

If anyone that I excluded wants to be included, contact me and we can record your pitch via Skype and I will post it on a future blog. I’ll be adding an “elevator pitch” section to my blog, as I intend on continuing my research.

Much of the existing literature on the Internet about elevator pitches included 8-10 points to remember. Trying to remember 8-10 concepts at the same time can be paralyzing. I wanted to bring the whole process down a few, simple, memorable steps that anyone can implement. After my research and fieldwork I can up with a three-step process to build your elevator pitch. Enjoy the videos!

1. Talk about a problem. What is the problem in the market that caused you to create your product or service?

Sales reps spend 30% of their time prospecting. They use the Internet inefficiently. They manually picking through web sites… cutting & pasting contact information. They do this because the leads they are getting are stale and overused.

2. How do you solve that problem? Be concise and clear.

Broadlook provides solutions that harness names, titles, emails, phone numbers and bio’s from the Internet. You choose the sectors or companies to target. The data is fresh. The data is actionable. Think about it: The most powerful list is the one no-one else has. We can help you build that list.

3. What makes you unique? Don’t use generic terms like the “best”, craft a something that truly differentiates you in the market.

Below is a group of the first 30 or so pitches I recorded.  Each video consists of 5-10 pitches.

Elevator pitches – part 1

Elevator pitches – part 2

Elevator pitches – part 3

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