What is an Elevator Pitch?
You’ve just been introduced to a potential client and he asks what it is your company does.
You open your mouth and pause… Where on earth do you start?
In a panic, you blurt out a nervous rant filled with jargon and quickly realise you’ve lost both his interest and attention. If you’d been better prepared, there could have been a great opportunity for new business!
This is where it really helps to have an elevator pitch (a short, pre-prepared speech) that explains what your organisation does, clearly and succinctly. Elevator pitches should be memorable, interesting and of course, last no longer than a short elevator ride (approximately 20 to 40 seconds).
When should I use an Elevator Pitch?
There are many situations in which an elevator pitch can be useful, not just for salespeople selling their products or services:
- Introducing your company to a potential customer or client
- Pitching a new idea to your manager or CEO
- Telling people what you do for a career
To deliver a memorable pitch you need to use persuasive language that sparks an interest in your company, a project, an idea or even yourself. This may take some time to perfect, but when you find a version you like, make sure it is compelling and sounds natural within a conversation.
How do I create an Elevator Pitch?
With just seconds to make an impression in your opening line, an elevator pitch can present an interesting and difficult dilemma for many people. Always keep in mind that your pitch and approach should be tailored depending on the situation you are in.
1. Identify your Uniqueness
A compelling elevator pitch will leave you listener interested — or at least familiar — with your company. One of the best ways to achieve this is to demonstrate how you differ from the competition.
It is very important to distinguish yourself from the competition, especially in the eyes of an investor or potential client. Most industries are very competitive and in the current market and economic climate, a niche is vital for success.
2. Show Passion
People invest in people first, then the idea. Make your pitch more compelling by avoiding jargon – say what you do, why you do it and who you are with conviction.Your business, product or service might not be overly exciting or interesting to others, but show emotion, use direct eye contact and bullet point statements to gain interest. Passion is not only necessary to make an elevator pitch successful, but it is also necessary for business success.
If you are a business owner, you’re likely to be very passionate about your company and prone to tell others about it. However, you may not know how to articulate that succinctly. If you want to effectively reach as broad a base as possible, try to hone in and condense that part of the business you are most passionate about.
3. Add Value / Solve Problems
In the eyes of an investor or potential client, it is all about adding value. It is not enough to just tell people about yourself or your company; go beyond the explanations by including information about the value you can bring to them.
Can you increase brand awareness? Can your company increase sales? Or can your product revolutionise the market? Make sure to address your listener’s potential problems by providing a solution that will add value to their bottom line.
4. Build a Relationship
Your elevator pitch acts as a ‘verbal’ business card which should intrigue your audience to seek more information. Be ready and prepared to share a few more facts about yourself or your company following your elevator pitch.
Share facts but keep your statements brief, as the greatest strength to possess when networking is to be a good listener. In order to build a mutually beneficial relationship, express an interest in your listener and ask questions. The information you receive will give you a deeper insight into how you can proceed building a genuine relationship.
5. Be Natural
The worst thing you could do is memorise a pitch and regurgitate it like a robot. The best elevator pitches are the ones where people don’t even realise they are being pitched to. Be conversational, relaxed and engage your listener with eye contact. A good technique is to rehearse your pitch for speed, smoothness and the amount of facts you want to deliver.
The more you practice, the more natural you will feel when delivering that all important pitch. Keep in mind that your body language conveys as much information about you as your pitch does, so practice in front of a mirror or friends to perfect your actions.
An elevator pitch is a short, succinct speech that explains what you or your company does. It is used to convey information and engage interest about you, a product, an idea or an organisation.
To create a great elevator pitch, you should always:
- Identify your uniqueness
- Show passion
- Add value / solve problems
- Build a relationship
- Be natural
Remember to tailor your pitch and approach to suit different situations. To keep your listener’s attention, always ensure your pitch is between 20 – 40 seconds.