You’re on the most important elevator ride of your life.
You have 10 seconds to sell someone on your idea—the classic “elevator pitch.”
I’ve been on both sides of this equation. I’ve had people pitching to me. But mostly, I’ve been scared and desperate and afraid to ask someone to give me, want me, love me, all in the space of time it takes to ride an elevator.
This was perhaps the hardest thing for me was when I was doing my 3 a.m. web series for HBO.
I had to walk up to random strangers at 3 a.m. on the streets of New York and convince them within five seconds to spill their most intimate secrets to me rather than kill me.
Not quite an elevator pitch but the same basic idea. I had a lot of practice. I probably approached over 3,000 people cold.
In some cases people tried to kill me. In one case I was chased. In other cases, people opened up their hearts and I am infinitely grateful to them.
The ideas below have worked for me the hundreds of times I’ve had to be persuasive.
Either in writing or in person. In business and in friendships and in love. I hope variations of it can work for you. You decide.
A) Who are you?
People want to know they are talking to a good, honest, reliable person that they can trust and perhaps even like, or love.
They won’t love you by looking at your resume.
You have to do method acting. Imagine what your body would feel like if they already said “yes” even before you open your mouth.
You would be standing up straight, smiling, palms open, ready to close the deal. You have to method act at the beginning of your pitch.
When you’re slouched over, not only are you not using the full potential of your brain, but you look untrustworthy.
Think about how you breathe when you are anxious and nervous.
I will tell you how I breathe: short, shallow breaths in my upper chest.
So do the reverse before a 10-second pitch.
Breathe deep and in your stomach. Even three deep breaths in the stomach has been shown to totally relax the mind and body.
People sense this. Again, this builds trust and relaxes you.
Now, even though you haven’t said a single word, you’ve probably done the two most important things for persuading someone.
C) Uhhh. Yeah. Uhhh. Mmmm-Hmmm. Uh-huh.
I have a hard time with this. It seems natural to say, “yup” or “right” or “uh-huh” or “whatever” when someone is talking to you to show that you’re listening.
But here are the facts (and there’ve been studies on this): people perceive you as stupid when you do this.
Just keep quiet when someone is talking.
Then, when someone is done speaking, wait for two seconds before responding. They might not be done yet. And it gives you time to think of a response. If you are thinking of a response while they are talking, then you aren’t listening to them.
People unconsciously know when you are not listening to them. Then they say “no” to you.
D) The Four U’s
Finally, now we’re getting to the heart of the matter. The actual nuts and bolts of persuasion.
By the way, I’ve searched online for “the four U’s” and each time I get a different set of four.
So I’m going to use the four that have worked for me the best.
This is not BS. This is not a way to convince someone to do something they don’t want to do. This is a way for you to consolidate your vision into a sentence or two and then express it in a clear manner.
This is the way to bond and connect with another person’s needs instead of just your own pathetic wants.
You can use this in an elevator pitch, on a date, with your children, on your mother, whatever. But it works.
Think about these things when talking:
1. Urgency: Why the problem you solve is URGENT to your demographic. For example: “I can never get a cab when it rains!”
2. Unique: Why is your solution unique? “We aggregate hundreds of car services into one simple app. Nobody else does this.”
3. Useful: Why is your solution useful to the lives of the people to whom you plan on selling? “We get you there on time.”
4. Ultra-specific: This shows there is no fluff. “Our app knows where you are. Your credit card is pre-loaded. You hit a button and a car shows up in 4-5 minutes.” Of course the example I give is for Uber, but you can throw in any other example you want.
I’ll throw in a fifth U.
5. User-friendly: In other words, make it as easy as possible for someone to say “yes.” Like, a money-back guarantee, for instance. Or a giveaway. Or higher equity. Or testimonials from people you both know. Etc.
OH! And before I forget, a sixth U.
6. Unquestionable proof: This can be in the form of profits. Or some measurable statistic. Or testimonials. Or a good wingman. Whatever it takes.
A lot of people say you have to satisfy the desires of the other person in order for them to say “yes.”
As much as we would like to think otherwise, people primarily act out of self-interest.
The less they know you, the more they will act out of self-interest, because to do otherwise could potentially put them in danger. We all know that kids shouldn’t take candy from strangers.
In an elevator pitch, the investor is the kid, what you are saying is the candy, and you are the stranger.
So their gut reflex, unless you make the candy super-sweet, is to say “no.”
So make sure you make your candy sweeter by sprinkling in their desires…
And what are their desires?
- Revenge (maybe steer clear of this one… at least don’t do anything violent.)
If you can help them solve these urgent problems or desires, then they are more likely to say “yes” to you.
Everyone is going to have gut objections.
They’ve been approached thousands of times before.
Here are the most common objections and their solutions:
1. No time: That’s OK. It’s on an elevator. So they have an elevator-ride length of time. The key here is to stand straight and act like someone who deserves to be listened to.
2. No interest: You solve this by accurately expressing the urgency of the problem.
3. No perceived difference: Have your unique difference ready to go.
4. No belief: Offer unquestionable proof that this works.
5. No decision: Make their decision as user-friendly as possible.
Pitching an idea is the easy part…
The hard part is selling someone on it.
Most people don’t have the power of persuasion. It takes practice and hard work.
Why do you think most companies have teams of dedicated professional marketers, copywriters, salespeople to do it for them?
It’s the same principle, just on a bigger scale.
But this is not just about persuasion, not exactly. It’s about connection.
It’s about two people, who are probably strangers, reaching through physical and mental space and trying to understand each other and reach common ground.
Want to learn the skills of connection and persuasion? Click here.
Copywriting is one of the most in-demand skills online today.
Because nearly every sale happens online because someone wrote something.
Copywriters write everything from the headlines on articles to product description copy on Amazon to scripts for sales videos to sales emails.
If you know how to do it then you can make a lot of money.
In some niches it’s not uncommon to make $10,000 or $15,000 for a single project. Plus, you can often get paid a commission on sales you generate.
Launching your own business? You’ll either need to write great copy yourself – or pay someone else to do it for you.
The best person I’ve ever found to teach you how to be a copywriter is my friend, Mark Ford.
As far as I can tell, he’s trained more six and seven figure copywriters than anyone else alive today.
He’s a multi-millionaire who has built over 100 businesses, most of which relied on strong sales copy.
But good copywriters are hard to find so he started training copywriters one on one. And when his businesses got too big his need for copywriters grew to where he had to turn his mentoring into a business process.
He turned that process into a course on how to become a six figure copywriter.
If you’ve ever wanted to make money writing then click here to go check it out.