The Elevator Pitch

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Dear Austin,

Everybody should have something of value to contribute to others – the thing you love to create is called your “passion” and telling people about it is called “selling”. Without sales or marketing, no one would know what benefit or blessing you have to offer. And if no one knows what God-given gift or talent you have, no one will seek you out or reward you for it.

Selling is serving. When people say they don’t like sales, they either don’t understand what sales is or they are admitting they don’t like serving. They may claim they don’t like to promote themselves, but everybody has to promote themselves. The day you get married, you will have sold yourself to a girl (and she to you).  It is pride to think others should come find you without your ability to sell. Selling is nothing to be ashamed of, as long as you do it with honesty, integrity and courtesy.

An interview is a specific opportunity to sell yourself or your service to someone who is willing to hire you or your service. First of all, no one owes you an interview. It is given by grace or based upon trust. Once you have it, don’t waste the occasion. You should always be ready with an “elevator pitch”. I got this term from Christian author Michael Hyatt in his book Platform.

The idea is that people who have the ability to make decisions that can change your life (like hire you or invest in you) are busy people, and you don’t get many opportunities to meet them in life, so when you do have their attention, you should be able to tell them what you have to offer in the time that it takes to ride an elevator – 15-20 seconds. That’s an elevator pitch.

An elevator pitch always has 4 components:

1) Category – define what category your offer falls into. The interviewer does not know where you’re going when you first start talking. Give him a clear starting point. Define what you are going to talk about. A category helps him track with you.

2) Problem -  what problems are you able to solve?

3) Solution – how did you solve it?

4) Benefit – what is the benefit of solving this problem? Like it or not, most people care less about your story than their story. They want to know, “What’s in it for me?” You can define the benefits in your own personal terms, and let them make the mental link to their own problem. Or you can directly describe the benefit in their terms.

You may have noticed by now that the elevator pitch contains the exact same components as a good testimony. You will realize from growing up in church that the benefits of being active in God’s work has many real life applications. God knows this. If only more Christians knew it! It’s worth it to testify regularly about what He has done, not only because it glorifies God, but it also gives you a communication advantage over others who don’t attend church or don’t participate in the life of God’s Family!

Let’s say you were to share a testimony about healing, you would follow these 4 steps:

1) Healing – that’s the category of what you’re going to share. Everybody now can track with you, this is a healing testimony.

2) Cancer – that’s the problem. The doctor said you were diagnosed with some form of cancer. How did you feel about it? Most people would feel nervous or scared.

3) How did you solve the problem? You went to healing Scriptures and applied them. You found Matthew 8:17 and 1 Peter 2:24, for instance, which say “[Jesus] Himself took your infirmities and bore your sicknesses” and “By His stripes you were healed.” You believed God’s Word and spoke it out as if God were addressing you personally, because He is! You personalized God’s Word by saying, “Thank You, Lord Jesus, that You took my cancer and bore all my sicknesses. I rejoice I don’t have to be afraid of sickness. You were beaten with lashes so that I could be healed.  I believe by Your stripes, Your wounds, I was healed. By faith I believe I receive my healing for my entire body. Praise the Lord!” You kept thanking Him despite the doctors’ report and your initial feelings, this is called “faith”. Faith is the only thing that brings God pleasure; doubt is the only thing that brings God pain.

4) What benefit did you receive? You now cherish life as a precious gift, you pay more attention to how you spend your days, you enjoy your family, you focus on what God called you to do, instead of believing the doctors only or living to other people’s expectations. In Christ, you found real freedom! (It’s easy for others to apply these benefits to themselves because sickness is a common problem and the benefits of healing are universally understood.)

You can apply these 4 steps of an “elevator pitch” to sell yourself at an interview, on a date, or at a fundraiser. You can also apply the same formula to marketing any product like a book, TV program, or invention. Remember, not everyone will “buy” you or your product. They are not obligated to. But more people will respond to you when your presentation is clearer! God has blessed you to be a blessing, don’t be afraid to let people know what you have to offer them!

How will you apply the “Elevator Pitch” in your own life? I applied it when I shared my “cancer testimony” in a DVD, “Increasing Your Chances of Getting Healed“.

  • Guitarist

    “It is pride to think others should come find you without your ability to sell. Selling is nothing to be ashamed of, as long as you do it with honesty, integrity and courtesy ”

    I kind of used to think this way.   I thought ‘why do I have to put so much effort into sounding nice and talking about how good I am and how I will benefit someone else?  If I’m really that attractive to someone then they will just see it in the way I carry myself and what I do.’    Unfortunately I don’t think even I am insightful enough to tell how “good” someone is in only an hour long interview.    Looking for jobs after graduating and writing resumes has taught me that presentation is important. 

    Also, getting into sales, I also agree that honesty, integrity and courtesy are somethings that aren’t always related to salesmen, but being a Christian, something that I need to get my heart right about before I approach someone with a product.   I’ve noticed recently a few of my Christian friends in sales and it is definitely a very useful skill.  Learning to adapt to people, to think creatively to find solutions for people and being honest and open.    I’ve found that when I honestly just want to chat to the person I’m talking to even after they’ve rejected my product, they sometimes end up inviting me into their home and I get a sale anyways.    It should be the same when we’re “selling” Jesus.  :)