Elevator pitches or sound bites?

Jodi Pliszka

Elevator pitches or sound bites?

Having spent three months on location in California filming ABC’S AMERICAN INVENTOR TV SHOW, as a Top Finalist, I learned that finding the words to present your ideas in a concise, exact, dynamic fashion is crucial for all business owners. It is best if you have a story behind your product, since that is what will draw in your audience best.

For instance, I lost all of the hair over my entire body 26 years ago to Alopecia Universalis, and made it my mission to help others like myself. I went back to school to obtain my Master’s degree in Psychology and worked on my PhD for two years. I write the award winning children’s book series, Bella and Gizmo’s Adventures, using my bald cats as the stars of the books, designed to help children accept themselves. I always include in my pitch that God has a sense of humor, bald cat, bald mom, I just had to have my two bald cats.

I like to draw people in with a little bit of my personal history, which makes them want to know more about who I am, since people gravitate towards successful people. When I have their attention, they will be more likely to listen to my pitch and feel a sense of wanting to help me out in some way. I am the inventor of Headline It! No Sweat liner. A thin disposable liner made from high tech wick wear that affixes inside any headwear item, stopping sweat from rolling into the eyes, increasing safety, fighting heat and cold stress, and trapping all the sweat, oils and odors in the liners. Each liner can be used for ten days and then disposed of. I work with government employees, US military, construction workers, safety supervisors, product mangers, wig wearers, hospital personnel, and various other men and women, daily. 

You need to learn who your audience is and have a different “pitch” for each propsect that captures their attention in less than ten seconds. Your pitch needs to focus on not only what your product does, but the benefits for the customer at hand. People are narcissistic by nature and want to hear things about themselves in each sales pitch. How a product can help them, enhance their lives, their business and how it can save them money, should all be part of your pitch.

Less is better in any elevator pitch. If you don’t capture someone’s attention in that short period of time, they won’t be willing to listen to anything else that you have to say. In Psychology, it is called sales resistance. Some of us have more resistance than others and usually make snap decisions and create prejudices in that short ten second time frame. This is why you are able to get some people interested, but no matter what you do, you may not be successful with those who are resistant by nature. I am so thankful that I have a strong psychological background and understand how people behave. I have used my education to the fullest in my new position as President/CEO of our Headline It! company. I have seen the personality type that doesn’t want to hear about anything new, and no matter what I say, holds preconceived notions about myself and the product, before I even open up my mouth. These are the “know-it-all” kind of people that we all understand and have dealt with in grade school. This personality type is very difficult to work with, however, never give up. Ask questions. The more questions you ask, the deeper relationship you can form with this personality type. These people feel the need to be the center of attention and if you begin speaking about yourself or your product, they will shoot you down immediately. If you understand the kind of person you are working with, you will be most successful in pitching to them. 

Find a niche that you have and someone else doesn’t, then use your unique qualities to create your perfect pitch. My opener often is that our product has the newest technology with the most benefits and lowest cost per liner. I try to make my pitch have a personal touch. Knowing that I lost my hair, and am an athlete with the problem of sweat rolling into my eyes which is common among athletes, seems to draw a connection with the people that I work with. I let them know that my family had a construction company and sweat was always an issue for our workers. Even my dad would end up in the emergency room, having to wash debris out of his eyes, from sweat rolling into them. People like to relate to what you have to say, and it is imperative to keep on their level.

Nowadays, it is proven that advertising is most effective when you use an individual and their personal story to sell the product. For instance, I lost my hair and created my product out of pure necessity to stop annoying perspiration from running into my eyes. People are intrigued and want to learn more about my story and about our product. Try to be different. Don’t copy what you hear on TV, but make up your own magical pitch that people won’t forget. Be colorful, creative and to the point.

Focusing on your mission at hand and the need to help your customer should be foremost on your mind. Speak like you only have three seconds to get your point across. This will help you shorten your pitch and keep the listener interested and you can then unveil more and more. You need to have the most important information at the beginning of your pitch, in case they don’t have time to listen to more. Save the extraneous material for later on, as you get permission to give more information.

Losing my hair helped me find my purpose in life - to help others. I created three award winning books and an award winning product that is helping our US Military, cancer and alopecia patients, and people that wear any kind of headwear item, fight perspiration and cold/heat stress. People love having the new “toys’ on the block, and I often use that verbiage when presenting our Headline It! No Sweat liners. Find your passion and put it all into your pitch to your customer. If you have excitement in your voice, people are more apt to listen to what you have to say. However, find the happy medium, since you don’t want to talk a mile a minute like the loud presenters in commercials on TV. People are turned off by that in person or over the phone. Make a person to person connection with your prospective customer first. After all, you have something that they potentially need, but it is your job to develop that trust in a few short seconds. Don’t oversell or push your ideas onto anyone. You need to feel like you are having a conversation with the person or people that you are pitching to. If they feel engaged, they are more likely to actively listen to what you have to say. Be brave, be confident and have fun!

About the Author

Jodi Pliszka, M.S. Winner of 2012 Enterprising Woman of the Year Award. The world's leading SOLUTIONOLOGIST® Celebrated host on Ripley's Believe It or Not radio's; Weird Medical Maladies. Inventor of HEADLINE IT! ®, Award Winning Author, Clinical Therapist, President/CEO. Featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Top Finalist on ABC's American Inventor TV Show, Lifetime TV'S Health Corner, NBC, FOX, CBS, ABC news and more.