You only have one shot to make a good first impression, and the stakes are often sky high when you’re meeting potential clients and customers. Nailing your “elevator pitch” can be a key way to make a good impression, put your best foot forward, and ensure you are able to articulate your business and qualifications in a way that leaves potential clients wanting more. After 28 years in business and at the helm of one of the largest WBENC-Certified promotional product agencies, Janie Goldberg, President and CEO of OmniSource Marketing, has mastered the art of the pitch. Here she shares her expert advice on how to perfect your elevator pitch, what to include, what to avoid, and why practice makes perfect.
This #WBEWisdom post is part of a series from members of the Host Committee for the 2018 WBENC National Conference & Business Fair, coming up June 19-21 in Detroit. Read more about the Host Committee, as well as more details from Goldberg and how she prepares for the event
Going Up! Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch
By Janie Goldberg, President & CEO of OmniSource Marketing
We are excited about the 2018 National WBENC Conference & Business Fair and look forward to connecting with other women-owned businesses, our client partners and to connect and build relationships with new potential corporate contacts. With that being said, we know is also a good time to refresh, practice and perfect our quick pitch about our company so we are prepared when meeting new potential customers or clients. Sometimes this magic happens where you least expect it… in the hotel ELEVATOR.
If you are like our team staying at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, you have 70 floors of opportunities. You step into the elevator most likely catching up on your emails from being on the show floor and look up and find yourself face-to-face with the CEO or an executive from a client you have had on your vision board for years. You make eye contact and she smiles and says, “Hello! Tell me about what your company does.” Frightening, I know. But it could happen to you at any time during the conference and you will want to be game ready. Beyond the elevator, this pitch will come in handy during interviews, a sales pitch or during networking events.
How to nail your elevator pitch:
An elevator pitch is a short (100 words or less), concise, and compelling introduction about your company. Remember, you could only be on the elevator for three floors together! People are busy, so being able to convey your message quickly and effectively will help land a next action.
Below are a few key points to include in your pitch:
- What do you do?
- Who does your company serve and why?
- What makes your company, product, or idea unique?
- What are some recent achievements?
- What are your goals?
Make sure to have some interesting facts that make you stand out and memorable from everyone else at the conference. Prioritize your points in logical order making sure your most important information is first since you could get cut off at any time. What would you want that executive to walk away remembering?
Things to avoid… like pushing the fire alarm button! The fastest way for an executive to make a quick escape on the wrong floor is to fill your conversation with technical talk and industry jargon. This doesn’t allow you to be unique and memorable, instead it is ordinary and forgettable. Also, avoid at all costs using vague, overused filler like, “We form partnerships with our clients,” “We’re the go-to guys,” or “We deliver solutions to our client’s problems.” You know what I am talking about! Instead try something like, “Our clients rely on us because we….”
Mother didn’t lie, practice makes perfect! The way to deliver a perfect elevator pitch is to practice with someone who can be objective and offer constructive feedback. We might think we have the perfect pitch but it could be overly complicated, long-winded and not memorable. Soliciting this feedback during a practice session is much less painful than missing an opportunity in front of a potential new client.
Practice on an elevator! The next time you are on an elevator, try practicing your pitch going from the lobby to the top floor of the building. Then try it again trying to deliver an impactful message only traveling three floors… can you make it in time?! This practice ride will help you hone the most meaningful part of your pitch and scrap the rest.
Hopefully you are now prepared for any impromptu elevator rides or meetings with potential customers and can deliver your pitch with confidence and leave with a next action. At the conference, be eager and excited about the potential opportunities that exist when the elevator doors open and someone says, “Going up?”
About Janie Golberg
Janie Goldberg is President and CEO of OmniSource Marketing, a Brand Performance Agency headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2019 OmniSource Marketing, a certified WBE and WOSB, will celebrate 30 years of business! Janie studied accounting at the University of Miami and was a business visionary from the start. Her inquisitive mind and entrepreneurial spirit saw potential in an unused screen-printing press which was the start of OmniSource Marketing that has now grown into a 20-million-dollar business representing brands like PepsiCo., Simon Malls and Cummins across the globe. OmniSource excels at blending branded merchandise, serving a creative agency, and an award-winning best-in-class service experience.
Janie is honored to serve on the 2018 WBENC Conference Host Committee. She also serves on the Central Indiana WBE Certification Committee. Janie’s previous accolades include being honored as a WBENC Star in 2015, Forum Chair of WBENC In Indiana, Great Lakes Women’s Business Council’s WBE of the Year, and WBENC Indiana Volunteer of the Year.