An elevator pitch is a potentially useful tool to help you and your company network and generate new business and opportunities. But just what is an elevator pitch? Also known as an elevator speech or elevator statement, an elevator pitch is a short, persuasive speech that clearly states what you or your company does.
A good elevator pitch should be interesting, memorable, and concise. It should explain what makes your organization, product, or idea unique.
Your elevator pitch shouldn’t necessarily sell your business, but rather spark an interest that makes your audience want to learn more and to follow up. If done properly, a good elevator pitch will lead to questions.
Who needs an elevator pitch?
Why you do of course! As mentioned, an elevator pitch can be used to promote your organization, product, or idea, but it can also be used to promote just about anything else, including yourself to potential employers or investors.
Simply put, an elevator pitch is a way to share you, your ideas, or your business with others in a quick and effective way.
Here are a few easy tips to help create the best, most memorable elevator pitch.
Decide on your goal
What is your objective with creating this elevator pitch? Do you want to sell a new product to a potential investor? Do you want to formulate a nifty way to describe yourself to a potential employer? Deciding on a clear goal will help narrow your focus and set you on the right path.
What is it your company does?
Start by describing what your organization does. Do you solve problems? What are they and how? Ask yourself – what’s the most takeaway for your audience?
Your goal is to show the value your organization can add and to spark an interest in your audience so they’ll want to know more about you.
What makes your company unique?
A thousand businesses specialize in coffee, but what makes your company stand out from the rest? Are you family owned and run? Does part of your proceeds go to help out a special charity or cause? Do you offer a unique way of roasting your coffee beans?
Ask your audience a question
Engaging your audience with an open-ended question is a great way to make them feel like part of a conversation, and not just a talking board. Formulate a question that makes them think, and can’t be answered with a yes or no.
Be ready for questions to be asked of you as well. You know the business, so you also know standard, typical questions that someone may have. Be prepared with answers to these questions.
Make it all come together
Add up the parts you’ve created – your goal, what your company does, what makes them unique, an open-ended question – and put it all together in a way that comes across as conversational and sincere. The last thing you want is for your elevator pitch to sound rehearsed.
A good elevator pitch should be between 20 – 30 seconds – you know, roughly the time of an elevator ride. Anything longer than 30 seconds and you risk boring your audience or coming across as rude. Plus, as they say in show business, always leave them wanting more.
Practice makes perfect
Your elevator pitch should be your go-to introductory speech, and as such, it needs to come across natural in conversation. If you’ve ever given a speech or book report, you know that most people tend to talk faster.
Take the time to practice your pitch so that it becomes second nature to you. If done right, you’ll even be able to make minor tweaks to cater to a specific audience.
Although you don’t want your pitch to sound rehearsed, you must do just that so that it comes off natural. Practice on your own at first, then in front of a mirror. Watch your facial expressions and gestures. Are you smiling naturally? A natural smile exuded excitement about what you’re pitching.
Ask a friend or family member if you can practice in front of them, so you can get used to speaking in front of someone. If you have colleagues at work, you may even want to practice with them, as they also know the business and can tell you if the pitch sounds good.
The trick is to make your elevator pitch sound fresh every time.
A call to action
Have a plan for what your audience should do next. Do you want them to call you? Email you? Check out your website or an article you wrote? Make it easy for them to take the next step. Always have business cards on hand so they can easily have access to your contact information.
Investing the time and energy in a great elevator pitch now will set you and your company up for future success.