Small business owners have been endlessly instructed that a good elevator pitch can be the difference between a life-changing success and a life-time of what-if regrets. Having the ability to quickly and succinctly explain to a prospect or potential investor why your company, product, or idea is a game-changer is undeniably a critical tool for your box. But according to entrepreneur Richard Branson (founder of the Virgin Group) it is a mistake to “limit yourself or your imagination to elevators.”
Branson writes a regular column for Entrepeneur.com in which he answers questions submitted by readers. A recent post, Richard Branson on Preparing the Perfect Pitch, suggests that you ditch the elevator pitch in favor of an “anywhere pitch” that explains, in an entertaining way, why your business will make a difference.
His post cites several examples of pitches made to him in decidedly non-elevator environments. These include pitches made during a charity bike ride in Africa (Having to pedal while talking and not getting short of breath helped keep the pitches concise, he notes.); and of pitches made while he was playing stewardess on an AirAsia flight (because he lost a bet). Most interesting of all, he recounts how he got a discount on Virgin Atlantic’s first plane purchase from Airbus by winning a bet with Airbus management through a sleight-of-hand magic trick.
While you probably don’t want to try pickpocketing your best prospects, the take-away is that ingenuity and imagination, delivered quickly and concisely, are more effective selling tools than a polished 50 word set-piece rattled off between the first and third floor.
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