Forget Elevator Pitches — try a Safe Landing instead

Elevator pitches and Landing pages are often used to sell ideas to people. If you’re new to them as a technique, the “Safe Landing” approach may be a better way to help you work out what your target audience want and need.

Imagine that you’re the captain of a passenger plane and the landing gear at the front is stuck. You’ve tried to lower the wheels, but they’re at right angles to the direction they need to spin.

You’re running out of time.

Photo by CDMA

Now, imagine you need to land.

This is exactly the situation that captain Scott Burke found himself in as he was piloting JetBlue Flight 292 on the evening of the 21st of September, 2005.

He had the lives of 146 people in his hands and he had some tough decisions to make.

So… what must have been going through his mind at the time?

How was he going to land the plane safely?

What did he have to factor into this decision?

Where could he land his plane?

Thinking about how to answer these kinds of questions is crucial to understanding what people really want and need. This kind of information is crucial to finding the best way to describe something in a way that appeals to those people.

Start with your customer

Next time you find yourself in a situation where you have to sell an idea to someone, start by setting out your assumptions about what you think they’re experiencing and what’s going through their mind.

Let’s try and imagine what the captain of Flight 292 captain was thinking as he was working out what to do about his stuck landing gear.

Let’s see how we can turn this thinking into something we can sell to your pilot

Hearts, then minds

Let’s think about how we might tell our pilot about our airport — what might help him decide him decide that ours is the best one?

Think of the kind of visual signpost he will be looking for as he scans the horizon for possibilities. What’s most important to him? What’s the outcome he’s looking for? What are their emotions telling them that they have to have right now?

Let’s start with your landing page headline…

Safe landings every time

If you were building a landing page as a way to try and attract your audience, this is the kind of thing would want to know, and they would need to hear it loud and clear, front and centre.

What next?

Now it’s time to hit them with the subtitle for your landing page, to let your audience know that you’re speaking directly to them.

We’re the perfect place to land for Airbus A320 pilots with landing gear problems

Now that you’ve got their attention, it’s time to go into the specific ways you’re going to address their needs. This would be the body copy of your landing page. This is going to help you to seal the deal in their minds.

At Burbank Airport, California we have

  • the longest runway in a 500km radius to help with those tricky landings
  • 15 emergency vehicles on standby 24/7 in case the unexpected happens
  • specialist medical teams direct from the local Hospital just across the road
  • ready to clear the schedule and make you our number 1 priority

Call to action

Now that you’ve got their attention, it’s time to close the deal.

It’s now time to consider the action you want someone to take. In our captain’s case, it’s to land safely now.

Mockup of our Safe Landing page

so, if you’re designing a landing page, ask your customer to sign up to hear more or buy something from you.

If you’re looking for an investor to give you money, move to get some time to go through your financials and explain when they get their money back.

And if you’re speaking to a pilot in serious trouble, let them know where they can land safely.

btw, if you’re interested to see what Scott Burke did to save his 146 passengers, here’s a recording of his safe landing.

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