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Elevator Pitch with Tony Elumelu and the $100,000 Consultancy Deal!

Updated: Mar 24



Monday Motivational - Real Stories from the Consulting World

Elevator Pitch - Meeting Tony Elumelu and landing a $100,000 Consulting Brief.


Last week, we shared the Diamond Bank Story and the takeaway from that is organisations would only buy from you if what you are selling solves a problem or adds value to them.

Today, we are looking at the Elevator Pitch.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

Your typical elevator ride lasts roughly a minute or so. If you find yourself in an elevator with someone you have been trying to meet - what would you say to convince the person to buy from you - within that time frame? Hence the name Elevator Pitch.

Some years back, l was flying from Lagos to London and who did l see across the aisle speaking with someone - Tony Elumelu, then CEO, UBA.

Now, please note that prior to this point l have been trying to sell to UBA with little success.

Seeing and meeting the key decision maker was an opportunity l was not going to let pass.

So, what do l say?

Do l complain about trying to offer my services to his company with no response?

That for many people is the default mode. It is psychological - seeking the audience of the other party, at least to get a sympathetic hearing.

This often does, not work, and at best only results in precisely that - a sympathetic hearing. The moment might be lost, gone, forever!

Another classic but ineffective usage of this one-minute opportunity is where you spend the entire time talking about yourself, often trying to introduce yourself.

Again, you may lose the momentum unless you have more time with your prospect.

So, what did you say? I can hear someone ask....

I walked up to Tony and said “Tony, Hi, my name is Shola. I have a solution for your company that will solve a major human capital need you have”.

Note the statement and emphasis on will, not might, maybe or may!

Also notice the usage of first name only. I use his first name because it is easier to remember and much more l addressed him initially by his first name.

(Take care on this one, we are a people who like to be respected and love their titles)

He was taken aback, and l guess so. The audacity of the moment!

He looks at me and asks What is the Product? That is the point where you sell.

He concluded by saying ''someone would call you next week''.

I got a call from UBA the following week and so began the discussion around the details of our offer.

Needless to say, we signed off on $100,000 brief with UBA afterwards.

Lessons learnt.

1. Have a product - even if it is a service you have productised (turning a service to a product - we would talk about this some other time). Have a tested product that solves problems.

2. Opportunities will always present itself. Are you ready? Be on the alert. It is always at unusual places, airports, parties, events, etc.

3. Be Bold and Confident - people like that! It cannot be worse than a NO!

4. Do not focus on yourself. Focus on the needs, issues, challenges of your prospect.

5. Keep it short and simple - What is the most important information you want to get across?

6. Further doors can be opened.

The interesting is Tony then invites me to meet someone else on the plane. He says, “there is someone you have to meet” and we got introduced. Tony says to him “you have to listen to this guy”.


He validated me to his network - He was a top executive at the Nigerian Stock Exchange. We did some work for the NSE a year later.

Develop and practice your one-minute pitch.

Wish you the best.

Hope this inspires you and enables you to achieve great success this week and beyond.

If your organisation needs intervention to reduce and optimise costs, improve performance, enter new markets or talent management issues, please make contact @ www.sholaajani.com or www.schoolofconsulting.com or simply chat me up on WhatsApp +234 701 726 3830.

You may also want to sign up for my free monthly webinar. The next is scheduled for next Sunday. Please register below.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcrceyoqT0uGN0ek9FCyyEXaguqbgD0QYps

Shola Ajani

School of Consulting

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