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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Elevating Your Elevator Pitch To The Next Level

In our last post about preparing in the last 24 hours before a conference, we briefly touched on having your elevator speech ready for a conference. However, the importance of having a compelling elevator speech extends far beyond the conference realm. As a Commercial Real Estate professional, the handful of minutes that you have someone's attention, on the phone or in person, can make or break the potential for a future deal. Therefore, equip yourself for success by elevating your elevator speech to the next level.

Be Concise
In today's digital, fast-moving age, people don't have the time (or the attention span) for a lengthy elevator speech. Think of your speech like a quick advertisement of yourself. Write down the key points that you want to relay to your audience. This speech should be no more than 60 seconds long and should include:
  • Your name
  • Your title
  • Your company
  • What you have to offer
  • What you want from your audience
Bill Joos, vice president of business development for Garage.com, lends this advice for a concise pitch in this Fast Company article:

"Some elevator rides may last more than 60 seconds, but don't allow your pitch to last more than a minute. Brevity requires effort -- you must think hard about the essentials of your message and ruthlessly cut away the unnecessary details."

Tailor It To Your Audience
Your elevator speech must be somewhat flexible or have different versions depending on your audience. Are you looking for business? For partnership? For advice? Think about who you are directing your speech at and what you want to gain from them. This article from Bloomberg Businessweek speaks to this point:

"One of the most important things a businessperson can do—especially an owner or someone who is involved in sales—is learn how to speak about their business to others. Being able to sum up unique aspects of your service or product in a way that excites others should be a fundamental skill."

Include A Call To Action Delivering your pitch is no good if you don't give your audience some way to act on your proposal. Will you be meeting them for coffee or lunch? Will you both be on a conference call next week to discuss your proposal? Gauge the interest of your audience and then act, depending on how your audience is receiving your pitch. Sales Guru Barry Rhein offers what to do based on how your audience is responding to your pitch in this CBS News article
  • If the prospect still seems skeptical, say: "If we really could do [your offering's benefit], what would your thoughts be on having an initial conversation with us to hear more?" Listen to the response, and then react accordingly. You may not get the appointment, but you've at least opened up the possibility.
  • If the prospect now seems neutral, say: "What would your thoughts be on having an initial conversation with us about [your offering's benefit]? What is your availability over the next few weeks?" Note that while this asks the same question as above, it pushes more strongly for an appointment.
  • If the prospect seems moderately interested, say: "I would love to have an initial phone conversation with you about [your offering's benefit]. What is the best way to get on your calendar?" Because you're reasonably sure of the prospect's interest, you restate the benefit, and then go for the close.
  • If the prospect is clearly interested, say: "How do I get on your calendar, please?" Because you know the prospect is going to say yes, you don't restate the benefit, but just go directly to the close.
With any elevator pitch, practice makes perfect, so practice in front of a mirror and maybe even record your voice to see what it sounds like. Would you buy into your pitch? If the answer is no, keep working on it and make sure to keep it fresh and easily deliverable on your feet!

Contributing Author:

Aaron Mesmer
Investment Sales
Block Real Estate Services, LLC


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