Make or Break Your Business with One Sentence


I remember my mom licking her thumb and pressing it to my face, cleaning peanut butter smudges off my chubby cheeks, saying in sing-song “You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression!”

But what about when the stakes are higher than your mom’s friends’ approval? What do you do when a first impression can make or break your business?

When it comes to networking, having a bangin’ elevator pitch will determine how potential customers and collaborators view your company. Consider this article the grown-up version of getting rid of the peanut butter… only more sanitary.

No pressure. Here we go.

Rather than the status quo introduction – “Hey, I’m Amy and I work at Hubba” – try to shake it up a bit by appealing to their emotional side.

“I reverse engineer every elevator pitch” Hubba’s founder and CEO Ben Zifkin chimes in. It takes a lot of elevator pitches to secure your companies’ spot as the world’s largest product discovery network, so we trust the guy. “I start with the feeling I want the person to walk away with, and then build up the pitch to elicit that emotion.”

To nail the hook, think about what problem your business is solving for your customers.

For example, a furniture maker is solving a problem by creating a comfortable and attractive home. In your opening comment, the goal is to illicit the feeling they’d have after experiencing the solution. In our example, a good opening line would be “Aren’t you excited to kick your feet up at home tonight?”, or “What’s waiting at home for you after a long day?”

By engaging them with a question rather than a statement, they become an active member of a conversation, not just caught listening to another pitch. “People generally don’t remember what you said, but they almost always remember the feeling you leave them with.” Zifkin concludes. Thanks, boss.

After you’ve engaged your customer and convinced them they need the product, the next step is to explain why they need to buy it from you. What makes you better than anybody else at making this product? Toot your horn a bit, but like… a small toot. Okay, small to medium toot.

Make them care about you. And at the very least – even if your product isn’t up their ally – they’ll care about the success of your business.

Be transparent about what you want moving forward! Ain’t no shame. Meet for coffee, invite them to your store – whatever your intention is, make it something you can both be held accountable for. If you’ve done a good job with your pitch and they’re in the market for what you’re offering, they’ll follow through and you’ll find yourself getting a lot of chances at second impressions. And thirds…