Here is hand-out #2 from the NJCWG 7/24/06 meeting.
Fine Tuning Your Pitch
1. Keep It Simple
An elevator pitch is short – very short. In the time it takes to get from the first floor to the third floor, you should be able to introduce yourself, offer a sincere compliment and give your pitch. All of this should be done without breaking a sweat or running out of breath.
2. Know who you are talking to and use their name.
3. Ask permission to pitch your idea.
If they say “no” ask if you can send them an email with your idea. If they say “no” again (maybe they aren’t taking new clients or just don’t like elevators) thank them for their time and move on.
4. Make sure to give your name
I knew one lady who gave her elevator pitch to an editor – literally in an elevator. She was so nervous that when she was done and the doors to elevator opened, she leapt out and disappeared into the crowd. There was one problem, the editor really liked her idea but she never said her name so he didn’t know how to get in touch with her. ALWAYS introduce yourself (briefly) before giving your pitch.
5. Offer a compliment or tell them where and/or why you recognize them.
Obviously if you are interested in certain editors, publishers or agents you will have done your homework and know something about them. Know what they look like (use the internet), read things that they’ve written. Listen to tapes/CD’s from conferences where they’ve spoken. Get to know their style and their MO (mode of operation).
6. Be prepared to give your whole spiel in about 30 seconds.
You want to leave time for a question or two and for contact information.
7. Don’t forget to offer the title of your piece.
Many people forget to say the title of their work. If the editor forgets everything else, hopefully the title will stick in their head (make a good one). If you have a website or blog they will be able to find you again even if they don’t know your name and they lost your business card.
8. If they show any interest at all, close the deal.
Make sure you set a specific day (and time) to call them and repeat the information. If they ask you send them a proposal or manuscript, repeat that this is what you will do. Then DO it – right away – not months later.
9. Always thank them for their time and consideration – but don’t gush. This is a business deal, you are not the big lottery winner and this is not a marriage proposal.