You’re on the most important elevator ride of your life. You have 10 seconds to pitch — the classic “elevator pitch.” And you may never get this chance again. There are books about this. But don’t waste your time. They are all garbage. I’ve been on both sides of this equation. The ideas below have worked for me in the times I have had to be persuasive. I hope variations on it can work for you. You decide.
Who are you?
People want to know they are talking to a good, honest, reliable person whom they can trust and perhaps even like. You have to do method acting. Imagine what your body would feel like if they already said “Yes” even before you open your mouth. You would be standing up straight, smiling, palms open. You have to method act at the beginning of your pitch. If you are slouched over, not only are you not using the full potential of your brain, but you look untrustworthy.
Think about how you breathe when you are anxious and nervous. So do the reverse before a 10-second pitch. Breathe deep and in your stomach. Even three deep breaths in the stomach (and when you exhale try to imagine your stomach almost hitting your back) has been shown to totally relax the mind and body. People sense this. Again, this builds trust and relaxes you. Now, even though you haven’t said a single word, you’ve probably done the two most important things for convincing someone.
Uhhh. Yeah. Uhhh. Mmmm-hmmm. Uh-huh
I have a hard time with this. It seems natural to say, “yup” or “right” or “uh-huh” or whatever. But here are the facts (and, again, there have been studies on this): People perceive you as stupid when you do this. Just keep quiet when someone is talking. Then, when someone is done speaking, wait for two seconds before responding. They might not be done yet. And it gives you time to think of a response. If you are thinking of a response while they are talking, then you aren’t listening to them. People unconsciously know when you are not listening to them. Then they say No to you.
The 6 u’s
FINALLY, now we’re getting to the heart of the matter. THE ACTUAL NUTS AND BOLTS OF PERSUASION This is not BS. This is not a way to persuade someone to do something they don’t want to do. This is a way for you to consolidate your vision into a sentence or two and then express it in a clear manner. Think about these things when talking:
- Why the problem you solve is URGENT.
- Why is your solution unique.
- Why is your solution useful to the lives of the people you plan on selling to.
- Ultra-specific – This shows there is no fluff
- User-friendly -Make it as easy as possible for someone to say “yes.” Like a money-back guarantee. Or a giveaway. Or testimonials from people you both know.
- Unquestionable proof- This can be in the form of profits. Or some measurable statistic.
As much as we would like to think otherwise, people primarily act out of self-interest. The less they know you, the more they will act of self-interest. And what are their desires?
- recognition n rejuvenation
- relaxation n relief
- religion n remuneration
- results n revenge
If you can help them solve these URGENT problems or desires, then they are more likely to say “yes” to you.
- No time
(That’s OK. They have elevator-length time. The key here is to stand straight and act like someone who deserves to be listened to.)
- No interest
(You solve this by accurately expressing the urgency of the problem.)
- No perceived difference
(But you have your unique difference ready to go.)
- No belief
(Offer unquestionable proof that this works.)
- No decision
(Make their decision as user-friendly as possible.) With great power comes great responsibility.
Most people don’t have the power of persuasion. They mess up on each of the points outlined above. It takes practice and hard work. But this is not just about persuasion. It is about connection. It is about two people, who are probably strangers, trying to understand each other and reach common ground.