The term “elevator pitch” is based around the idea that if you were stuck in a lift with someone you had never met before, you could quickly and clearly explain the qualities of your business in the time it takes to traverse a few floors. To put it another way, an elevator pitch is a short, compelling overview or summary designed to get people interested in your brand or products in less than a minute.
While that might sound like a relatively easy task, you would be surprised how often professionals struggle to distil their headline messaging down into a single, bite-sized speech. More often than not, business owners like to get down into the detail of their enterprise, rather than keeping things high level and snappy.
However, the process of developing a water tight elevator pitch is a valuable one on a number of levels. Getting an elevator pitch right requires a strong proposition to be in place and an understanding of how to appeal to a given audience – be that a client, investor or even prospective employee.
Below are some effective tips to creating your own, successful elevator pitch.
Identify a goal
Identifying the objective of your pitch is the most important first step as it allows you to organise your ideas. Decide whether to pitch your company mission, lead with a specific product or talk about the service you deliver and how it benefits customers.
Outline what it is that you do
It’s an obvious point to make but plenty of proposals and pitches fail to simply explain what it is that a company does in terms of how it solves problems and adds value to others. Often, a single statistic or data point can be used to demonstrate the challenge that an organisation is helping to tackle.
However, it is important to remember that drowning an audience in detail and data is not what an elevator pitch is all about.
Communicate your USP
A unique selling proposition (USP) is perhaps the most important part of any pitch as it separates you from the competition. Identify and communicate what makes your company unique and different with a compare and contrast approach.
Put it together
Once you’ve integrated the above points into your pitch, put it all together for an effective finished product. To keep yourself on target, read your speech aloud and try it out on someone who has very little advance knowledge of your organisation – not a team member or family member who has seen you build your business over time. Anything that feels clunky or takes your pitch over a 30–60 second time limit needs to be cut to avoid boring your audience.
Not only do you need to memorise your pitch, but you also need to practise how you say it. Without practice your speech may sound rushed or unnatural. Rather than feeling like an aggressive sales pitch, it needs to flow like a conversation. Body language is just as important as the words within your elevator pitch, so make sure to know it so well that you can stay relaxed, no matter the audience.
Although it’s not strictly part of the elevator pitch format, remember that the aim of an elevator pitch is ultimately to engage in a conversation. Talking at someone for a length of time and not listening in return is always a recipe for disaster.
With that in mind, make sure you are prepared to field queries and have responses prepared to FAQs. This second step can really help you to come across as professional and knowledgeable, leaving your audience confident in you and the business you represent.