XChange 2012: Better Check Your Elevator Pitch, Partners

With the battle for customer mind share and wallet share as brutally competitive as ever, solution providers often need a reality check around that most basic of sales staples: the elevator pitch.

That was the message from Heather Margolis, president of Channel Maven Consulting, who put several solution providers through the elevator pitch paces in an interactive session at XChange 2012 in Dallas Monday.

[Related: CRN's Exclusive Coverage Of XChange 2012]

Here were five takeaways from Margolis that emerged from the session:

1. Does your elevator pitch cover the bases?

You have a very limited opportunity to make an impression, Margolis said, and that engagement really has to answer the following questions: Whom do you help? What problem are you solving? What solution are you putting behind it? Have you clearly stated what your company does? Do you have a repeatable sound bite that will help them remember you?

2. Don't come on too strong.

"Even if you have been stalking the person you want to talk to, and you know a lot about them, it's OK to start slowly and have a conversation," Margolis said.

3. Your pitch isn't restricted to the elevator.

Sales people often forget that the elevator pitch isn't just about momentary meetings in an elevator -- it's every party, networking event and potential point of contact, no matter how small or how quick. Also remember to look to social media, Margolis said.

"Look at Twitter," said Margolis. "You have a small number of characters to help people get to know you and get your message out."

4. Remember: You're a stranger.

"Assume the person you want to talk to wants nothing to do with you," Margolis said.

5. Skip the gobbledygook.

No more "trusted adviser." Talk in plainspoken terms and offer prospects a glimpse into your personality and what you can offer.

"It's more important to be true than to give them what you think they want to hear," Margolis said.