February 9, 2014

The Elevator Story

The Elevator Story

The Elevator Story is the elemental creation of the startup business.  It is foundational.  You must have an Elevator Story. It is intended to be a Habit, able to be told as a reflex, a Go To definition of the business.  It is the standard answer to the question "What do you do?" (and Why do you do it.) However, it is seldom delivered frequently enough to become a habit, and over time falls into disuse and is abandoned. The focused startup CEO will have a powerful Elevator Story for all occasions.

Pitch or Story?

Some call it an Elevator Pitch rather than an Elevator Story. I recommend Story. A pitch is what you hear from a used car salesman, or on late night TV commercials for a set of steak knives. Calling your story a pitch cheapens and demeans it in your thoughts. It lacks sincerity and integrity. A story is a sharing event.

The Magic of the Elevator Story

By design it is the finest distillation of everything you are all about, focused into the fewest and most powerful words, delivered with great impact and results.  By definition, delivering your Elevator Story is one of your greatest Opportunities in Life. Your shining moment.
A story that is crafted to be delivered verbally from one person to another, or a group of others, that describes the startup business.

The Spirituality of the Elevator Story

The Elevator Story is an Extraordinary Opportunity.
Sometimes the delivery of the Elevator Story will be a pre-planned event, such as at the beginning of a presentation before potential investors.  This setting allows for the maximum preparation and customizing the Elevator Story to the circumstances.  In the moments just prior to the start of the story, you should go to a Place of great personal Power.  Breathe.  Be grateful for the Opportunity. Start smiling.  Engage your Core Energy. Enthusiasm is contagious.

The Physicality of the Elevator Story

Breathe - to generate Energy, and Pause
Smile -  Human Interaction 101
Eye Contact -  Human Interaction 101
Tone - appropriate for the audience
Posture - project confidence
Gestures - hands, arms...
Pace - mirror the pace of the audience, moving to increase the Pace.

Pauses - the Pause that gives Power to the previous, and creates attention to what comes next.
Energy - Enthusiasm is contagious.
The Surprise Gift - your card. The gift that keeps on giving.  Karma.
Duration - the shorter the better, less than 30 seconds. Add Chunks as the opportunity presents.

The Introduction

The first instants of the delivery are critical in getting attention.  Consider the framework: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

The Call To Action

The Elevator Story is a meaningless waste of time unless there is some Call to Action.  Examples of a Call to Action would be to ask the listener to contact you, or to check out your website, or order your book on amazon.com.

A basic tenet of Sales is to Assume The Sale, so it will be better to Assume the Call to Action. The Call to Action is an Invitation to join you in your Adventure.

Other Forms of the Elevator Story

Website - the home page, or "about" page
Video -  add great Leverage to the Power of the story
Key Team Members - customize the Elevator Story for each key team member (CTO, Biz Dev, etc)

Additional resources

What Great Salespeople Do: the power of Story