Lesson 2 | Elevator Pitches Should Be Pitched (3:17 minutes)

Okay, so the first decision of the four decision system is agree to meet. And to do that, you're going to need your potential client's interest or to get their attention somehow. So how are you going to do that? Well, the historical approach to this is called the elevator pitch. And what's the elevator pitch? The elevator pitch is something that really upsets us, it frustrates us, and the more we've looked at it, the tougher it gets for a bunch of reasons.

This first is, it's not uncommon for people to go through our training program who've been in the business for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years, sometimes 40 years, and they do not have a clear answer for, "So, what do you do?" We hear all kinds of things that advisors say that make the conversation awkward or end it. You know, they say things like, "I'm a financial advisor," or, "I sell insurance," or, "I sell investments." Those are conversation enders, generally.

They'll sometimes say, "Why don't you tell me what you do?" And then they'll start to tune their answer accordingly and come up with something. What we want to do is make sure that you've got a really, really clean way to respond to, "What do you do?"

Now, think about the elevator pitch. When someone says, "What do you do?", the first thing we have to keep in mind is, odds are they didn't mean it. They weren't actually asking, "Oh, my goodness. What is it you do?" No, typically they're saying, when they're saying, "What do you do?", in North America it's simply a typical social greeting in the conversation. They're just looking for ways to connect.

People are trying to put people into boxes and they're not actually asking questions lots of times because they want to know. They're just asking because it's something you ask. So, let's first understand that.

The second is, let's understand that this rarely happens in an elevator. Now, why is it called an elevator pitch? Apparently it goes back to the 1950s and the concept that you've boarded an elevator and the CEO of the largest corporation in the building is in there with you. You'll be traveling together for six floors and you have six floors of travel to get their attention. What will you say?

The reality is it doesn't really play out that way. You're not in an elevator and, frankly, the first time you meet someone, really should you be pitching them? Is that the time to do that? Is that the time to talk about us and our credentials and our history and why we're brilliant? Probably not. Let's save that for later. Let's talk about it, but let's save it for the right time.

So what we did is we pulled all this stuff apart. We took a look and said, "What really happens when you ask people, 'What do you do?'" And here's what we found. When there's some kind of social interaction, whether it's truly in a social environment or casual environment or even in a business social environment, there's more of a social exchange that's going on. You're chatting, you're having a nice time, but you want to see if you can get the other person into a business conversation. Is there an opportunity there? We want to go from one place to another place. There's a gap in between.

What we want to do is see if they'll cross a bridge from a social conversation all the way over to a business conversation, and we call this a Bridge Talk™. One thing that's kind of interesting is, if you look at one of the old French words for bridge, it's rapport. What we're looking to do is see what kind of bridge, where there'll be some kind of rapport, can we create that will allow them to transition from one conversation to another. We don't want to pitch them and you're probably not going to be in an elevator, so we're going to leave the past behind and simply see if they'll cross the bridge into a different conversation.