Why You Need a Better Elevator Pitch

For decades, salespeople have practiced something called an "elevator pitch." The idea was that they had to sell themselves and their product or service in the time it took to ride an elevator from the ground to the top floor. Every good salesperson had an "elevator pitch" and could perform it flawlessly at a moment’s notice.

Today, elevators are much faster and attention spans are much shorter, so you’ve got to amp up your pitch. You’ve got to have a 118.

The 118 Pitch is my modern term for the old elevator pitch. It’s based on the fact that 118 seconds is the length of the average elevator ride in New York City. The first 8 seconds are "the hook"—the time you have to get the "lean in" factor, to snag your prospect, to catch their interest.

Those first 8 seconds are the key. In researching the idea I discovered that the length of time the average human can concentrate on something and not lose some focus is as little as 8 seconds. Eight! (It’s true–I found it on the Internet!) Thirty seconds, then, was way too long for getting that lean-in factor for your pitch. You know how you hear something in a conversation and you lean in because you want to hear the rest of it? That’s what you want from your prospect in those first 8 seconds of the 118.

If you accomplish that in those 8 seconds, they’ll give you the next 110 seconds to drive your message home with no bull. It’s not about name dropping. It’s about what’s in it for the recipient of your pitch.

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