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Breaking Down the Elevator Pitch

In my most recent blog post 3 Tips For Delivering the Perfect Elevator Pitch I provided an overview on creating a succinct and persuasive sales pitch. I don’t need to tell you why having sharp and perfected sales pitch is important. As a commercial real estate professional, I network a lot. In our industry having that elevator pitch in your back pocket is a necessity of the game and one that can make or break your success in it.

3 Basic Parts

There are three basic parts of your :30 or less sales pitch: (1) Say Who You Are, (2) Say What Your Product or Service Is, and (3) Provide a Compelling Reason to Hear More. Below I delve further into these three areas providing my exact elevator pitch and how you can properly refine yours.

Say Who You Are

This shouldn’t be the bulk of your elevator pitch. Use the K.I.S.S. method and describe yourself in 15 words or less. For example:

Hi, I’m Karen Hurd. I am SVP of National Franchise Sales at SVNIC.

Say What Your Product or Service Is

Here you will explain what you are selling. After you introduce yourself, it’s time to introduce your product and/or service offerings. Instead of focusing on your skills, your elevator pitch needs to describe your company and the people you serve. For example:

SVN is a full-service CRE firm and the 6th most recognized brand in the country with over 200 offices covering 500 markets, including Canada, Mexico and Russia. We provide property solutions to Institutional, Corporate and Individual Owners, Tenants and Investors.

Provide a Compelling Reason to Hear More

You have to give your listener a reason to hear more. What does that sound like? Ask yourself, “What attracts your customers and their loyalty?” Be prepared to differentiate yourself from the competition. Look at the news, adapt to what is relevant and important to your listener. Revamp and refine all the time! Example:

One of the more compelling reasons investors work with us is because we are able to assist them with their real estate investment needs in secondary and tertiary markets.

Refining the Elevator Pitch

End With a Question

Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions and tell people about yourself as your conversation evolves. Maybe you are the difference why people want to work with your company. For example:

Is there something we can help you out with today?

Be Yourself, Sincere and Most of All Genuine

At the end of the day, everyone is out working hard to build their network. It is all about relationships, and how you treat people is how they will remember you. Be yourself, sincere, and most of all be genuine; these are very important, key things to remember. For example:

One of the compelling reasons investors refer business to me is they know I am reliable and have immediate access to market information in secondary and tertiary markets.

or

One of the compelling reasons investors call me is trust. I am reliable and get back to people in a timely manner.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice, practice, practice! Practice until you can introduce yourself and your business in less than 30 seconds, which is about how long most prospects will give you to grab their attention. Here’s my full 30-second elevator pitch:

Hi, I’m Karen Hurd. I am SVP of National Franchise Sales at SVNIC. SVN is a full-service CRE firm and the 6th most recognized brand in the country with over 200 offices covering 500 markets, including Canada, Mexico, and Russia. We provide property solutions to Institutional, Corporate and Individual Owners, Tenants and Investors. One of the more compelling reasons investors work with us is because we are able to assist them with their real estate investment needs in secondary and tertiary markets. Is there something I can help you out with today?

However you spin it, practice it on someone until it sticks! Once you get your general pitch down, remember to then adapt it to your audience. In a situation when I address a principal of a brokerage or property management firm, I say something different than the previous version I shared.

My name is Karen Hurd. I am SVP of National Franchise Sales at SVNIC. SVN is a full service CRE firm with 200 offices covering 500 markets across the country including Canada, Mexico, and Russia. I focus on the strategic growth and development of the brand here in the US. I help owners of brokerage and property management firms achieve growth in their business. I do that by empowering our business owners with some of the most advanced tools, technologies, and training available in the industry today. Do you know anyone looking to change firms or who wants to own their own firm?

The Best Advice I Have Received

As you are out in the market every day meeting new prospects and relationship building, keep in mind these tried and true tips that I have received over the years.

  • First impressions make a difference…be prepared! Handshake, smile.
  • Make the focus on the person across from you, not yourself. Listen.
  • Call to action: Advancement vs. Continuation…Before you exit your mini-interview, ask people to take the action you want.
  • You won’t connect with everyone – know when to bow out.
  • Send a follow-up thank you in a timely manner.
  • Set up 30-minute coffee meetings and leave it at that…time is precious. If you know your prospect better, offer to buy them lunch.
  • Be prepared for your next meeting. Do your research.
  • Stay in touch. Keep up a good CRM system.
  • If you read something or have a newsworthy item, send it along.

It’s About Them Not You

Lastly, you always want to be able to learn as much as you can about the person you are speaking with so eventually you will be able to help further the goals of that individual. How you can help them? THEM not YOU. When you start thinking this way, your questioning and whole persona are genuine: Always be genuine and the person across from you will sense this. I believe and have found this is how you build credibility, rapport and trust. Happy pitching!

[bctt tweet=”In the #CRE industry having that elevator pitch in your back pocket is a necessity of the game” username=”svnic”]

3 Tips for Delivering the Perfect Elevator Pitch

Karen Hurd on Refining Your Elevator Pitch

Do you have your elevator pitch down? Do you have more than one elevator pitch down? As a commercial real estate professional, it’s important to always be ready to throw a pitch at a second’s notice. I know I always have mine armed, and furthermore I am constantly refreshing it to suit my audience.

Recently I was asked again to speak at a CREW Boston Speed Networking Event, an evening held downtown to kick off the CREW Mentor/Mentee program. I addressed the group about the very foundation of successful networking: the elevator pitch.

3 Tips For the Perfect Elevator Pitch

Since the elevator pitch gets your foot in the door to build relationships, I see it as step one. Your elevator pitch should be a succinct and persuasive sales pitch. It is an opportunity to capture the listener’s attention in 30 seconds to promote your personal, and company, brand.

This isn’t a lot of time, so you need to be succinct! The three parts of a successful elevator pitch always include:

1. Say Who You Are.

Do this is 10 words or less. Unless you are the Dali Lama or Donald Trump, it shouldn’t be that hard to condense your main intro to your name, your position and who you work for.

2. Say what your Company’s Product or Service Is. 

After you introduce yourself, introduce your service offerings. Instead of focusing on your skills, your elevator pitch needs to describe your company and the people you serve.

3. Provide a Compelling Reason to Hear More.

Get your listener excited about what you do, so they want to hear more. Be prepared to differentiate yourself from the competition. Look at the news, adapt to what is relevant and important to your customer. Revamp and refine and always end your pitch with a question.

3 Biggest Elevator Pitch Mistakes

  1. Describing skills rather than purpose
  2. Failing to tell an interesting story
  3. Not being prepared or rehearsed

Is your introduction ready to roll?

Make sure to practice!! Practice until you can introduce yourself and your business in less than 30 seconds, which is about how long most prospects will give you to grab their attention.

As you are out in the market every day meeting new prospects and relationship building, keep in mind:

  1. First impressions make a difference…be prepared! Handshake, smile.
  2. Make the focus on the person across from you, not yourself. Listen.
  3. You won’t connect with everyone, know when to bow out.
  4. Be prepared for your next meeting. Do your research.

I’d like to hear yours or help you refine your pitch. Contact me today if I can be of any help as you network your way to success!

5 Tips to Perfect the Fast Pitch by Diane Danielson

Tips for Pitching the #SVNDifference

Last month I had an opportunity to speak at #DisruptCRE, which featured a number of commercial real estate technology companies seeking to “disrupt” the industry. One of the sessions included a fast-pitch session so that companies like Sperry Van Ness International Corporation as well as venture capitalists seeking to invest could learn about a company in 45 seconds or less.

Now, 45 seconds sounds like a very short time, but it’s still enough to convey a wealth of information. Out of the 20 presentations we saw, a couple of them stood out, not necessarily because their apps and technology were relevant to SVN, in fact most of them were not, but they had perfected their fast-pitch presentations.*

As Commercial Real Estate Advisors, we aren’t pitching new business tools to clients, but we are pitching our services and systems and often within short timeframes. In any presentation, we have only the first few seconds to make a good impression and explain the #SVNDifference. In fact, we want to see how our own Advisors do their version of a fast pitch in our #SVNDifference video contest (Click here for details; entries due by November 24, 2015).

[bctt tweet=”45 seconds sounds like a very short time, but it’s still enough to convey a wealth of information through your pitch #CRE”]

Here are a few helpful hints for delivering your pitch to clients in 45 seconds or less:

  1. Analogies work. If you are trying to introduce something new and different, then you need to give people a baseline. This is why Hollywood pitches always start out as it’s “Jaws meets Twister” or “Harry meets Sally online.”

SVN Advisor Tip: Be able to describe how you can organize greater demand for a property in words and/or analogies that your clients will understand.

  1. Tell stories. If you want people to remember you, your service, or your product, tell a story about it. Here are six rules for great storytelling. And, yes, a good presenter can tell an entire story within 45 seconds.

SVN Advisor Tip: Is there a story that demonstrates how your firm has used our Open Sales Call to create greater demand and/or to sell a property faster?

  1. Differentiate from the competition. Use your stories to illustrate how your service differs from the competition.

SVN Advisor Tip: This is why you need to perfect your #SVNDifference pitch!

  1. Be able to pitch without PowerPoint or props. In 45 seconds, your verbal description needs to stand on its own, no matter the product or service.

SVN Advisor Tip: Listen to the pitches on the Open Sales Call. Make notes on which ones are the most effective.

  1. Align with their values. What does your client value? Are they tied to the local community? What is their company culture or priorities?

SVN Advisor Tip: At SVN we value collaboration, local expertise, and transparent fees to drive demand. Identify clients who do the same, and the easier it will be to make your pitch.

One final reason to really nail the fast pitch is that even if the person making the decision is excited for your service, implementation is another story. For your client to make a change, they often have to convince a lot of other people to go along with them, some of who may be reluctant. You need to help them duplicate your fast pitch internally and that’s where the tips above can help.

Looking forward to seeing some versions of our Advisors’ 45-second pitches in our #SVNDifference Video Contest!

*Just in case you were wondering, there was not a bad pitch in the whole set at DisruptCRE, but the top 45-second pitches of the day were by Raisal, Building Conversation, and CrowdComfort. Great job to those companies and all the others who presented last week.