I’ve been conference coaching for the past 2 days. Conference Coaching is where I give free advice for a private, 20 minute session to a company’s CEO about what they can do to sell or market better. One of the common things I’ve been hearing from CEOs is that they need help in fixing their Elevator Pitch (the answer to the question: what do you do for a living?) because they don’t feel it’s good enough. Well, then I start to ask questions and it all goes to hell…Here’s how:
Are You Growing?
The first question I ask when a CEO says, help me with my messaging is: how do you know it needs fixing? What is the evidence that it isn’t working? The answer I often get is: “people glaze over when I list my services” or “people look confused when I tell them what I do” etc. Then I ask: how are your sales? Are you making your numbers? Are you growing at the rate you want? And the CEO reveals that indeed, they are growing and in some cases, overachieving their sales goals and doing very well indeed. The plot thickens because by that point, it doesn’t look like there’s a problem to fix…
Is There Competitive Pressure?
The next question I ask of the CEO is whether they’re being price squeezed by one or many competitors. Most of the time, the answers’s a Yes or in some cases where the niche is unique, it’s a No. So hmmm, if it’s a No, then again, I don’t see a problem that needs fixing. If it’s a Yes, then they need to start crafting a new message that’s differentiated and targeted. But not fully convinced of the scope or the source of the problem, I keep investigating…
Are You Targeting a New Industry or Geography?
Continuing my quest to figure out if a prospect needs my help in crafting a new pitch, I ask the CEO if they’re expanding and need a new pitch to communicate that. If the answer’s a NO then again, they don’t need a new pitch. Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke. If it’s a Yes though, they would definitely need a new Elevator Pitch.
So you see, just because you don’t like your pitch, it’s not enough of a reason to change it. If, however, you see evidence in the business that you need to be changing it because of strategic reasons, well, then we can start from there.