Five Questions an Elevator Pitch Must Answer

Five Questions an Elevator Pitch Must Answer

Elevator Pitch

You’ve been there many times – in front of a potential customer or partner trying to put your best foot forward. The solution is laid out before them, yet they don’t see the value, leaving you perplexed. With every new encounter, the result is the same: you may have piqued their interest but the conversation doesn’t move forward. The pain is there, the product can relieve it, but the message doesn’t come across. Perhaps it’s time to revisit what you’re saying. Ask yourself, “Does my elevator pitch answer these 5 questions?”

Who is the target audience?

Different audiences result in a breadth of views on how a product can solve their need. The conversation for a CEO, the CFO or the consumer of a product or service will all have different messages. Your potential customer or partner can be broken down into three categories:

The decision maker is the one that decides what gets approved

The economic buyer is the person who manages the budget or pays for the product or service

The end user is the person that is directly using the product or service

In some cases, all three may be the same person. However, more complex offerings involve multiple people in the interaction. Be mindful that a CFO (economic buyer) may not be particularly interested in reducing the weight of a vehicle, but are more interested in increased gross margins. An engineer (end user), however, may be much more interested in vehicle weight reduction.

What is the customer pain that I’m eliminating?

Your potential customers are frustrated and your product or service is meant to alleviate their aggravation. The pitch needs to identify the exact pain points felt by your target audience in a manner that’s well understood. Take the following statement as an example of identifying the pain point of an end user:

“Sales personnel lack efficient tools to understand and track their customers’ needs, resulting in lost sales and customer dissatisfaction.”

The pain of the end user is identified – current customer relationship management tools on the market inhibit sales staff to effectively sell their product. The statement is clear and provides a cause and effect.

What product or services do I offer?

In a few short words, describe what you are offering to potential customers. The target audience needs to understand how your product or service works from a conceptual standpoint. Delving too deep into the specifics of your offering may lead to confusion, especially for more technically advanced offerings. If you have multiple ways to service your customer, be sure to convey a statement that encompasses these services.  The audience will appreciate you providing a clear message of all that the company does. Also, their interest may be peaked enough to ask specific questions pertaining to their needs, creating a more focused dialogue.

What are the key benefits of my offering?

A customer needs to see value in the work that your company provides. In your message, identify the key benefits your audience finds of greatest importance. Specifically, how does the product address their pain points? Keeping the list short and to the point will have a greater positive impact on the conversation. Expanding on the numerous benefits not related to the audience’s needs can be distracting and less engaging.

How is what I offer different than the competition?

At some point, you’ve learned your competitor’s weaknesses and made them your strengths. The audience needs to know what makes your product or service different. Is it better quality? Lower price? New and disruptive technology? Succinctly identifying significant differentiators will go a long way in showing what unique value your company can provide the audience. Include the type of competition or specific well-known competitors, as your listener may have identified those same weaknesses through prior engagements. Hopefully they finally found the company (yours) that can meet their needs.

As you tweak the message, you’ll see your conversations have greater quality and clearer outcomes. And if you don’t know the answers, that’s fine! PCS Insight can help guide your organization towards a better understanding of what makes your company unique.

5 Netflix Documentaries Every Business Leader Should Watch

5 Netflix Documentaries Every Business Leader Should Watch


The other day I received an email about twelve books all business leaders should read. It was an impressive list of works written by some of today’s masters in business thought leadership, such as Peter Drucker and Jim Collins. I have no doubt that reading any one of the books listed would be highly valuable to any leader.

But then I put myself in the shoes of most of our clients at PCS Insight. “Would they really have the time to devote to this?” Most of the leaders we deal with are so engaged with their businesses that it consumes every last ounce of time and energy. More often than not they need down time, not business advice. I was convinced that there must be a better way.

5 Netflix Documentaries with Hidden Wisdom

It just so happened that around the same time as I came across the book list, I had just finished watching the second season of “Chef’s Table” on Netflix. I found myself thinking of the impressive personalities and their struggles and was convinced that this would be good for any business leader to learn from.

With that, the idea of compiling a list of other documentaries that would entertain and inspire leaders was born.

Here it is:

  1. Chef’s Table: A Netflix original documentary series. Each episode delves into the life of a single world-famous chef examining the forces that shaped their stories and identities.

What’s it got to with business? The series is a fascinating collage of inspiration, challenges, overcoming adversity, and the creative drive that all of us possess. It would be hard for business leaders not to relate with how some of these chefs approach creativity, planning, and execution of some of the finest dishes known to humanity.

  1. Happy: Directed by Roko Belic and executive produced by Tom Shadyac, this movie is an uplifting experience that explores human motivation and the psychology of happiness.

What’s it got to do with business? The movie shows that beyond a certain base level of compensation, money rarely continues to provide the motivation we need to excel at what we do. Instead, we need to feel connected to something bigger and more important than us individually.

  1. Jiro Dreams of Sushi: This documentary is the story of Jiro Ono, the ninety year old (as of this writing in mid-June 2016), sushi chef and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a three-Michelin star restaurant in Tokyo. It describes how Jiro painstakingly built this restaurant over decades of singular focus. There is also a particularly poignant scene in which it is clear that father’s (Jiro) dream may not necessarily be that of son’s (Yoshikazu) and yet he is obligated to take over the restaurant because of cultural tradition.

What’s it got to do with business? Wow, so much to mention here! A work ethic that is out of this world, and with that the apparent complete lack of balance in Jiro’s life. The focus on excellence and little details that go into building a brand and reputation. The wisdom of staying small. These are just a few that come to mind.

  1. Cooked: A four part documentary series host and food writer – (yes, I love the world of food and it’s a common theme here) – Michael Pollan describes the use of the four elements, earth, wind, fire, and water in the transformation of the bounties of nature into delicious dishes.

What’s it got to do with business? This series shows us how what we eat is central to everything that shapes society and culture. Food is often at the intersection of art, science, technology, economics, religion, and culture. The conventional wisdom is that we cook because we are civilized. This series shows us how we may be civilized because we cook.

  1. Human Planet: Narrated by John Hurt, shows us how humans have learned how to adapt to harsh weather and topographies. The stunning cinematography captures the glory, ferocity, and fragility of our planet.

What’s it got to with business? I guess one could say the expression “to adapt is to be human” captures the sentiment. The series also shows us we humans have been able to conquer the most inhospitable places on earth with just our innovation and collaboration.

Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy the Show

I hope you enjoy your summer and much needed rejuvenation with one or all of these wonderful works of art to give you the inspiration and energy to take your business to greater heights. PCS Insight can help guide your organization in this journey. With icube™ you can enjoy the balance, happiness, and flow that you need to make this happen.

Happy viewing!

Confused About Business Culture? Learn The 4 Pillars of an Effective Culture

Confused About Business Culture? Learn The 4 Pillars of an Effective Culture

There’s a lot of talk these days about culture. Lou Gerstner, the legendary CEO of IBM during the 1990s and early 2000s is believed to have said, “…culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value”. That all sounds great, but what exactly is culture?

As the leader in your company you know in your gut what your company should be doing. You’ve built your business on being able to deliver real and tangible value to your customers by addressing their needs. Often, leaders are so clear on what needs to be done, they don’t see the relevance of creating a great culture.

Learn about the 4 Pillars of an Effective Culture so that your organization can continue to create value for the long term.

Create the Ideal Culture

If you’re leading a growing company you have probably experienced the communication complexity that follows a growing team. You’re also probably seeing first hand evidence of the team not being on the same page relative to the direction and priorities of the company. It is time to look into this elusive concept of culture.

Learn about the 4 Pillars of an Effective Culture so that your organization can continue to create value for the long term.

Pillar #1: Purpose
Does your company have a clear purpose?

If your answer is making money or generating a profit, that’s not it. While those are very important, they’re not the end goal. They only help keep it going and be sustainable. The purpose is a bigger reason why your business exists. Since the late 1970s, Steve Jobs defined Apple Computer’s purpose as having a computer serve a single person and that person not having to learn how to use it. This clear purpose has driven the development of the very first Apple II personal computer to the Apple technology we use today.

Pillar #2: Vision
Do you have a clear vision that embodies the realization of your company’s purpose?

The vision of the Oxfam, an international confederation of 17 organizations with presence in 90 countries has a simple vision statement: “A just world without poverty”. In the 1970s Microsoft set its vision to be “A computer on every desk”. Such simple vision statements set crystal clear direction for a team. Using these vision statements can help define a company’s mid-term (3 years out), near term (one year out), and short term (90 days) goals.

Pillar #3: Values

Purpose and vision provide the guidelines for the values upon which the team operates. These are the guiding principles that define the behavior and decision making processes for the company. It’s impossible to anticipate every single situation faced by individuals or teams within a business. Having clear values can help ensure that at every step of the way, the purpose and vision is closer to being realized.

Pillar #4: Trust

Trust is the glue that binds organizations together. Without trust everything falls apart. The goal of purpose, vision, and value is to enhance trust. Trust is the embodiment of a culture. When you have high-levels of trust, human friction is reduced or eliminated which results in the collective alignment and focus of all members.

Enhance your Company with Culture

By utilizing purpose, vision, values, and trust, you’ll begin to build the ideal business culture. As an organization’s leader, once a culture is in place, you’ll soon be able to focus your efforts on other important aspects of the business. Reducing human friction is just one of the pressures culture helps to relieve. PCS Insight can help guide your organization in the right direction to begin creating a sustainable business culture.

What Can Birds Teach Us About Running a Business? Make Your Company a Profit Generation Machine by Thinking Like an Eagle and Acting Like a Hummingbird

What Can Birds Teach Us About Running a Business? Make Your Company a Profit Generation Machine by Thinking Like an Eagle and Acting Like a Hummingbird


How are an Eagle or Hummingbird Different?

An eagle, the majestic animal that serves as our national bird and a symbol we revere, can certainly invoke a lot of positive emotions. In fact, many use it as a metaphor for freedom, independence, adventure, courage, valor, and confidence. The hummingbird on the other hand is often seen as a cute little bird that pecks at flowers.

They appear to differ dramatically as it relates to their characteristics. A hummingbird is actually a marvel of creation; it can fly in tight spaces, hover in one spot, and turn on a dime. It flaps its wings 50 to 70 times a second, has a heart that can beat thousands of times per second and has the ability to generate more energy per unit of body weight than most other animals.

The eagle on the other hand, imposing as it is, needs a lot of space to fly, doesn’t have as much endurance as the hummingbird and actually has to depend on natural wind patterns called thermals to keep it flying for long periods of time.

These two serve as a good reminder that exterior appearances don’t tell the whole story.

So which one should a company emulate?

We believe that the answer is both!

While it’s vital to have the characteristics of an eagle to inspire and motivate, it’s equally important to be able to move quickly and use resources efficiently like a hummingbird. So how do you do it?

icube™ to the Rescue

The answer lies in PCS Insight’s framework of Inspiration, Intelligence, and Intensity:

At its core, a company should operate like an eagle with lofty goals, an outsized vision, and greater purpose, which will drive its Inspiration,

Looking at the surrounding layer, or the company’s Intelligence, it ought to behave as a hybrid–implementing the strategic qualities of an eagle, and the quick learning and nimbleness of a hummingbird.

Finally in its outer most layer, which we call Intensity, companies need to behave like a hummingbird with highly effective and efficient execution.

Forgive the pun (or not), but honestly looking at your organization through the 3 I’s: Inspiration, Intelligence, and Intensity will be certain to help your company soar!

Click below to learn more about icube™.