Every salesperson has a go-to spiel for when someone asks who you are and what you do. You might call it a talk track, elevator pitch, or script -- but you’ve got one.
Many salespeople launch into a 30-second diatribe on what their company does, why it’s important, and why they’d love to tell you more.
Don’t be that rep. Inevitably, they’ll start rambling.
These long, complex sentences might make sense to the rep but confuse the prospect, or worse, cause them to lose interest.
To avoid talking yourself out of a deal before you’ve made it off the elevator, check out the strategies below. They’re four battle-tested ways to immediately improve your talk track and secure a follow-up meeting with a prospect you’ve just met.
4 Ways to Improve Your Script Immediately
1) Lose the Vernacular
Don’t use jargon in your talk track. I often hear, “But my prospects know what it means” or “It lends me authority.” Even if your audience understands what you’re saying, they likely have associations with jargon that aren’t positive or relevant to your conversation. There are two types of vernacular to avoid:
- Industry speak: This is primarily used by technical salespeople and includes acronyms and words your college roommate probably wouldn’t understand out of context. For example, if you’re trying to sell someone on marketing consulting services, decide whether your old roommate, Sal, would understand terms like SERP, CRM, or traffic analysis. If Sal would probably think traffic analysis has something to do with actual cars -- rethink your language and swap “traffic analysis” with “... an analysis of visitors coming to your website."
- Business speak: We’re all guilty of using terms like “double down,” “synergy,” and “There’s no there, there.” But vernacular only serves to alienate and confuse your prospects. Ditch the jargon and replace it with nouns and verbs
When prospects ask, “What do you do?” it’s not because they’re interested. They’re looking for an excuse to end the dialogue, and jargon gives them an easy way out. When employing vernacular that’s widely used in your industry, you risk your prospect honing in on one word and ending the dialogue with, “Oh, we already have something like that.”
2) Pick One Thing to Speak About
Don’t try to cover too much in your pitch. Ditch your “Well, we do three things…” opening line, and pick one thing to talk about -- even if it’s not the thing they’ll buy.
The purpose of the elevator pitch is to inspire curiosity and extend or establish a call. Like a good movie trailer, your pitch should be attention-grabbing and tease the bigger picture. Great trailers provide little of the actual movie plot, but they leave you with auditory and visual images that pique your curiosity.
Pick one thing that gives your company their biggest competitive edge, and make sure it’s something you’re proud of. My sales training has many unique elements, but when I have someone new on the phone, my pitch is always, “I got you live on my first attempt, and when I get your business I’ll teach your reps to do the same thing.”
“Live” is one of the biggest advantages of our trainings. We don’t just do role play, we practice on live calls. By teasing “live” in my pitch, I plant seeds that will resonate with prospects long after the initial call.
3) Use Hyperbole
Did I actually get the person “live on my first attempt?” Maybe not, and my prospect might know they have two missed calls from me. This is an example of hyperbole, or an exaggeration that both parties are aware of.
Words and phrases like “the best” or “the greatest” are examples of hyperbole. When I say, “I got you live on my first attempt, and when I get your business I’ll teach your reps to do the same thing,” it doesn’t matter that this is my third call. What matters is the confidence and passion with which I deliver the line.
Too many salespeople take the Goldilocks approach to selling. They don’t want to take their pitch too far, so they serve prospects lukewarm porridge with phrases like, “We have a great team of software developers” or “Customer service is a big priority for us.”
Prospects like things hot or cold. Tell them you have “The best software developers in the world” or “Best-in-class customer service.” You’re not using hyperbole to convince or persuade, you’re using it to show your prospect how much you believe in what you’re selling.
The penalty for never using hyperbole is greater than using hyperbole where it’s not required. If you take something too far, your prospects will tell you. I deeply believe salespeople are their own worst enemy, so stop being a seatbelt to yourself and just go with it.
4) End Every Pitch with a Question
Your talk track should always be about your prospect. Don’t finish with “Does that make sense?” or “Is this something you’d be interested in?” These closing questions feel like a quiz and are more about you than them.
Instead, close with, “We have clients who love being able to build software anywhere in the world. How many software engineers do you have at your company?” This question doesn’t demand that they’ve followed your whole spiel. If you’ve lost them, a question like this can actually gain their attention back.
If you’ve incorporated the previous three practices into your script -- dropping vernacular, choosing one thing to talk about, and using hyperbole -- you’ll have just spoken with great confidence about what you do.
That inspires your prospect to mirror your confidence and reply, “We have 40 developers!” That’s how you start a dialogue and go deeper into the conversation, and that is the goal of a great elevator pitch.