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Elevator Pitch Workshop

"More than 350 of our sales and application engineers have attended WAMware Demonstration, Presentation, and Elevator Pitch workshops. Wayne's sessions have been high-energy, motivational and, most importantly, have delivered a step-function increase in the impact by which our people now present and demo our software solutions to prospects."... Joe Fairbanks, VP Sales, ANSYS Inc.
In addition to a successful presentation and demonstration tomorrow for key users and mid-level managers, what could really make your day? A brief encounter -- in the hallway, lunch line, or elevator -- with an executive who, intrigued and ultimately convinced, could dramatic shorten your selling process. Are you ready... with the right pitch, and likely even more important, with the right delivery?!

Objective

To significantly improve the ability of all pre-sales staff (sales, application engineers) to deliver a brief convincing and motivating description of how our solutions will uniquely impact our customer’s success.

Scope

The Elevator Pitch Workshop runs approximately 3 hours in length and can be conducted two times during one event day. The number of attendees per workshop can range from 16 to 50, depending on the number of "executive actors" available (see below).

Agenda for Elevator Pitch Workshop

  • Delivery Techniques (25 minutes)
  • Describe Role Play Methodology & Scenarios (10 minutes)
  • Dry-run Practice (10 minutes) — each attendee will pair up with his/her table neighbor, deliver the elevator pitch, receive Plus/Minus critique from the neighbor, and then switch roles.
  • Role Play sessions first pass (45 minutes) – each attendee will cycle through the 3 scenarios. Plus/Minus critique (by student, by the exec, by observers). We’ll capture video clips of the performances.
  • Group review of videos (15 minutes).
  • Role Play sessions second pass (45 minutes) – each attendee cycles through the 3 scenarios again. This second pass will involve much more stressful situations. Critique and video capture.
  • Group review of videos (15 minutes).
  • Summary and Discussion (15 minutes).

The Pitch Itself

The content of the “elevator pitch” to be used for the workshop will be provided to the attendees in advance of the workshop. This content is the responsibility of the sponsoring company, with feedback and suggestions provided by Wayne. We expect each attendee to thoroughly understand the message of the pitch, but we do not expect nor want the pitch to be memorized. The following book is an excellent reference for this purpose:

  • "How to Get Your Point Across in 30 Seconds or Less", Milo Frank, ISBN 0671727524

Some key content elements of a good elevator pitch:

  • The Hook — most unusual, exciting, dramatic, or humorous aspect of what we offer. Usually one sentence long and often a question that has a high probability of being answered in the affirmative.
  • The Subject — explains, reinforces, and proves our point.
  • The Close — demand for action –or- demand for reaction. Usually this is a request for a subsequent meeting with a couple options for times/dates offered.

The pitch is likely to have optional sub-phrases that pertain to the specific interests (including solutions to one or two "pains") of our listener and what we’re trying to accomplish. Therefore, diagrammatically the pitch might be structured along the lines of:


Note: Workshop attendees may deliver the elevator pitch in either English or, if more comfortable, in their native language.

Additional reference material is also available from USA Today Money.

Training Session for "Executive Actors"

The day before the workshop, we will have a training session for the executive actors (regional or country sales managers are excellent for these roles) who will be playing the roles of “executives”. We will need approximately one executive actor for every 8 workshop attendees. Each actor will learn all three roles that we’ll use in the workshops. In addition to training the actors in the scenarios, we will also go over:

  • How to direct the Plus/Minus critique
  • How to create “stress” via objections, distractions, skepticism, etc.

The Scenarios

Specific scenarios will be defined and iterated in advance with the sponsoring company. The following scenarios are provided as samples:

  VP Engineering
in Lunch Line 
Chief Information Officer
in Elevator
VP R&D
Enters Demo Room
Location  Portland Pumps, an early prospect  Joyful Jets, a few installed seats Bentley Brakes, a prospect
The Listener  Design background
Pains: prototype bugs found late 
Ex-programmer
Pains: ERP a disaster, starting PLM project
Physics PhD
Pains: wants simple studies done by Engineering
Situation  Just finished good intro demo to engineering team  In 5 minutes we have meeting to present successful pilot results to engineering team We're halfway through an early demo to engineers and mid-level managers
The Scene  In lunch line, our champion introduces us  Your champion points to elevator and says that's the CIO who's slowing down the sale The executive enters room to extract a colleague for a meeting

Plus/Minus Critique

While each scenario is being played out (by attendee and executive), all other observers (about 7 people in each workshop area) MUST carefully observe and WRITE down at least one (1) positive thing about the performance and at least one (1) constructive negative critique. Immediately after the scenario completes, the observers will voice their Plus/Minus critique (if a given point has already been mentioned, that point is skipped in the interest of time).

The Sequence for each Role Playing Session

  1. Out-of-Character — our “executive” will review Scenario 1 quickly
  2. In-Character — the attendee and executive remain in character as the scenario plays out
  3. Out-of-Character — very quick discussion of Plus/Minus Critique (exec, observers)
  • — repeat Steps 2 and 3 for all attendees in the workshop group (~8)
  • — repeat Steps 1, 2 and 3 for Scenario 2
  • — repeat Steps 1, 2 and 3 for Scenario 3

Video Capture & Review

While the workshops are being conducted we’ll circulate to the various workgroups and capture brief video clips of the performances. We’ll attempt to capture at least one performance from each attendee.

Twice during the workshop we will reassemble altogether to view select portions of the video clips, with brief commentary and discussion.


Logistics

The room is arranged in banquet style (round tables with chairs) or possibly in classroom or theatre style.


Audio/Visual Requirements

  • Projection Screen (front or rear projection)
  • PC Projector
  • A small table large enough to hold a laptop (Wayne will provide laptop and remote mouse)
  • Sound System (room or standalone), including:
    • one wireless lapel microphone
    • plus one wireless hand-held microphone
    • connection from PC audio into Sound System