Friday, October 19, 2007

A Twist on the Elevator Speech

You probably have an elevator speech, a short explanation of what you do that can be delivered in the time it takes an elevator to ride a few floors. Sales trainer Tim Connor has an intriguing variation - elevator questions. Here's how it works:

If you were told by a prospect that you had sixty seconds to sell them, what would you do? Would you condense your sales message into a one minute presentation or talk about your organization and its strengths and history? Would you ask a few thought provoking questions or just sit there dumbfounded wondering what to do or what to say next?

I recently met a prospect on a hotel elevator in Las Vegas. He looked like he was a business person, so I asked him, "What do you do for a living?" He responded, "I am in the insurance industry." My follow-up question was, "What do you do in the insurance business?" He said he was the president. (Keep in mind, I don't have a lot of time here, we are on a elevator.)

My follow-up question was, "Do you know what your lost sales are costing you every year?" (Elevator Question)

He paused and then replied, "I am not sure, what do you do for a living?"

I said, "I am in the business of helping organizations reduce their lost sales revenue." (Elevator Statement)

An elevator question is any question that cuts to the heart of your prospect's challenges, concerns or fears, and makes him think. It also implies that you or your organization may have a possible solution for his problems. Remember that elevator questions are not used only on elevators. They can be used at social settings, while selling on the telephone or anywhere during the sales process.

SalesDog's advice: Work on some elevator questions this weekend, and put them to use next week!

-- Tim Connor is CEO of and a contributor to Top Dog Sales Secrets. He is a popular speaker, sales trainer and successful author. Visit his website at
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