Never Miss Another Business Opportunity with the Perfect Elevator Pitch

Chicago, IL | May 20, 2019


A good elevator pitch can be what stands between you and your company’s next big client. However, so few of us actually put in the effort to develop a quick and effective narrative that we can use on the fly about why an investor, prospective client, or potential business partner should give us the time of day. Having an elevator pitch in your arsenal for those moments you don’t expect can prevent a nightmare scenario where you flub a new business endeavor because you weren’t prepared.

No matter your industry or job title, you should always be ready with a story for why someone should be interested in your company. In commercial real estate, we typically think of brokers as the professionals who need to be savvy and fast on their feet in order to land leasing contracts and big-name tenants. But property management professionals are the face of the properties they represent and know their asset inside and out. Who better to communicate why a prospective tenant should office at one of many buildings than the person who runs it?

We put MBRE’s asset management team to the test and asked them to create an elevator pitch for their properties to present to our President, Kevin Purcell. But keep in mind, elevator pitches are NOT presentations – they are not a bullet pointed list of facts and figures about your product or services. Rather, a good elevator pitch is a loose set of talking points you can finesse organically into a conversation, impromptu, when you find yourself in front of the right person. It’s a story you tell, with confidence, that both shows your expertise and aligns your goals with those of your audience.

An effective elevator pitch is also short. So, in honor of its name, our asset management team presented their elevator pitches in an actual elevator at our headquarters, 181 West Madison. It’s sad to say, but the adult attention span has shrunk to around eight seconds according to a survey of Canadian media consumption conducted by Microsoft. No doubt, this is largely (if not entirely) due to how our devices have rewired our brains and practically become extensions of ourselves. With so little time to make a lasting impression, we encouraged our team to get creative in pitching their property.

We were more than impressed with our team’s efforts, but one elevator pitch stood out for its perfect illustration of how to take a chance encounter with a decision maker and turn it into a potential business win. Check out MBRE VP & General Manager of Daley Center Andre Wiggins’ awesome performance.

Andre makes it look easy, but that’s because he was well prepared. You may know your property better than anyone else, but there are other factors that go into a good elevator pitch. Here’s where you need to start:

Know your audience and what motivates them.

For most asset managers, property owners and prospective tenants are the primary target. When developing your elevator pitch, think about what these groups want and how you can make it happen. For example, a property owner is all about getting a return on their investment. How can you enhance the value of an owner’s asset, and what do you offer that other property management firms don’t? Prospective tenants on the other hand want office perks that will help them recruit and retain employees. What amenities and services does your building offer that sets it apart from the rest?

Give real life examples and name names.

It doesn’t have to be much, but giving a quick example of how you helped increase occupancy at your building with a new amenity program or worked with a tenant to cut costs of an expansion project can give a lot of credibility to your pitch. Especially if you aren’t bound to a confidentiality clause and work with a big owner or tenant, naming names of the people whose business you helped improved can make a powerful impression on your audience.

Communicate the why, not the what.

The culture around business is shifting, and more people want to know the why behind your company. Information about your company and your building is important, but there are countless other firms and CRE professionals that have the same – and even better – products and services. Plus, 94% of millennials today say they would switch brands to support a cause they believed in, indicating a general trend towards impact in business.

This may not seem applicable to commercial real estate, but it absolutely is. Commercial properties are one of the largest energy consumers. How well does your company and building prioritize sustainability? Chicago is a big place with a large and diverse underserved population. Does your company regularly partner with local non-profits that serve our community?

In an increasingly digital world, real human connection has become a commodity – especially in business. How does your team build meaningful relationships with tenants? What’s your company’s client service philosophy?

And most importantly, what drives your passion as a property manager? Why is it important to you? Regardless of industry, people want to work with professionals who love what they do.

These quick tips are just a starting point for creating an effective elevator pitch for your property. And remember, it isn’t just a broker’s game. Property managers have the expertise and skills necessary to influence decision makers and win big for their company.

Learn more about MBRE’s Asset and Property Management division.