One of the first things that people in professional sales are taught is that they must perfect their elevator speech, or the short narrative that exactly conveys their value proposition. This applies to both individuals and companies.
The term gets its name from the challenge of describing what you do to someone in a short amount of time (e.g., an elevator ride). The perfect elevator speech is one that you can recite consistently, on demand, with just a sentence or two.
These conditions met, your elevator speech may still not be perfect. The only way to have a perfect elevator speech is to also have a perfect reverse elevator speech.
To wit: a short narrative that people in the elevator would say to describe the value proposition they heard from you — after you leave the elevator. The speech thus describes what people say about you when you are not around.
Ideally, the elevator speech and the reverse elevator speech should match, not necessarily in words but in the meaning and attitude behind them. For example, let’s say an agent in the life insurance business has this elevator speech:
“I help families and businesses achieve and protect their financial dreams, using a powerful, proven process.”
The reverse elevator speech might sound like this: “Sounds like an insurance agent.”
While that might seem like a “match” (because technically it is), you cannot ignore the attitude of sarcasm. This isn’t good because the listener was left with an impression that the agent was not genuine.
Perhaps he was hiding something? He spoke in language that wasn’t the way real people speak with one another. His elevator speech was inauthentic.