The First-Ever Elevator Pitch!
What is a pitch?
The purpose of a pitch isn’t not necessarily to move others immediately to adopt your idea. The purpose is to offer something so compelling that it begins a conversation, brings the other person in as a participant, and eventually arrives at an outcome that appeals to both parties.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, or organization or event and its value proposition. The idea is that it should be possible to deliver the pitch in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty-seconds to two minutes.
Daniel H. Pink tells tells us the story behind the world’s first-ever elevator pitch in his best selling book, To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.
Elevators as we know today would not have been possible but for Elisha Otis. Elisha Graves Otis (August 3, 1811 – April 8, 1861) did not invent the elevator. He invented something more important – the elevator safety device that eventually made high-rise buildings practical. In 1852, Otis because of his inventive nature, observed the safety problem involved with the hoists that were used to lift heavy equipment to the upper floor. If one could devise a device that would prevent the elevator from falling if the rope broke, elevators would be safer. He found an answer and designed a tough, steel wagon spring meshing with a ratchet. If the rope gave away, the spring would catch and hold.
In 1854, Otis dramatically demonstrated his safety device on the floor of the Crystal Palace Exposition in New York in front of a large audience by ascending in an elevator cradled in an open-sided shaft. Halfway up, he had the hoisting rope cut with an axe. The platform held fast while the audience gasped. That’s the first and most persuasive elevator pitch ever made. Not only that, the elevator industry was soon on its way since then paving the way for many elevator pitches in the process.
For several decades during the twentieth century, the elevator pitch was a standard operating procedure. In case of pharmaceutical selling today, the elevator pitch is becoming a standard even in clinics without elevators, as access to physicians and their time are becoming more difficult by the day. It is therefore, important to prepare thoroughly with your pitch that clarifies your purpose and strategy. Make sure that your pitch answers three important questions regarding your target audience:
- What do you want them to know?
- What do you want them to feel?
- What do you want them to do?
If you come up with highly persuasive and convincing answers for these questions, you’ve got an effective elevator pitch.