In most cases, marketing your business is not something that you want to rush. You need to take your time, work on your strategy, and craft your message so that prospects really understand what you’re all about. But sometimes you need to deliver that message in a ridiculously small amount of time to get your prospect’s attention, and that’s when all that hard work that goes into crafting your business’ message comes into play. If you can really break down exactly what you’re all about and deliver a perfect pitch in the time that it takes to ride on an elevator with someone, you could have them hooked. So let’s take a look at how you can write the perfect “elevator pitch” that will get a prospect’s attention in around 30 seconds!
What Is an Elevator Pitch?
So what exactly is an elevator pitch? Let’s start with what it’s not. It is not a sales pitch that’s meant to seal a deal on the spot. The goal of presenting your elevator pitch should be to earn a second conversation, not to convince the person you’re talking to that they should invest in or hire your business, or buy your solution. That means it’s not something you should be pasting into emails or bombarding people with as soon as they pick up the phone.
Instead, a polished elevator pitch is a brief, but compelling, breakdown of you and your business. It’s something you can pull out at networking events, conferences, or on warm sales calls. You should carefully craft it, making sure it’s no longer than a minute long (try to keep it to 30 seconds, in fact), and practice it until it becomes second nature (because it should feel natural, and not forced). It should:
- Say who you are
- Give a reason why your product or service can benefit the prospect, or some important features that would be interesting to investors
- Get your listener excited about what you do, so that they want to hear more details
- Encourage them to ask questions
Your elevator pitch doesn’t literally have to end with the doors closing on you! Remember to give your pitch, then listen to what your prospect has to say. If things go well, you will both ask questions and keep the conversation rolling. At the very least, offer your business card and ask to connect on LinkedIn.
It can feel a bit daunting to create the perfect elevator pitch: after all, sometimes distilling your message to its most interesting core is much tougher than running on and on about yourself. So how do you craft a brief, natural-sounding message that will get you noticed?
Crafting Your Elevator Pitch
Take a look at the following steps for getting all the info you need into your pitch, without adding too much extraneous bulk.
1. Briefly say who you are
Here’s the thing: research shows that talking about ourselves makes our brains light up in ways that feel really good, especially in stressful situations. That’s one of the reasons having an elevator pitch is so important: it’ll keep you from rambling on and on about yourself, which can spell disaster when trying to get a prospect’s attention. After all, they don’t know you or your business yet, and frankly don’t care about your life story! You need to earn their interest, so all you need to do at this point is introduce yourself with your name and your role/name of your business. If you want to get more creative, you can jazz up your job title with what your true function at your business is (i.e., what problems you solve).
2. Distill what your company does
This can feel tough, but if you know your business really well, you should be able to break down what you do into one compelling sentence. Here’s a tip for helping you to do this: don’t make the mistake of simply listing skills. Rather, you should describe who you serve and what you do for them. For example, “We help X type of business connect with the perfect X.” Essentially, your prospect should know what you do even if you’re cut off after the first two sentences.
3. What value do you offer?
Now we’re getting into the more interesting stuff. They know the who and the what, and now it’s time to get to the why. Why should they be interested in your business? What is it that sets you apart from other businesses? What kind of value can you offer them? Does each account get its own dedicated rep, for example, or have you created an efficiency-boosting tool unique to your industry? You can also use this space to establish your authority in your field.
4. Grab their attention
Hopefully your prospect is intrigued by now – and now it’s time to reel them in! One really effective way to finish your pitch is with an attention-grabbing statistic that relates to your business. For example, you can give an average percentage that you save customers, an amount of time you save, or even a percentage of customers who have a problem that you can solve.
5. Engage with a question
Once you drop your mind-blowing stat on them, you can ask them a question. It could be simply: “Does this sound like something you’d be interested in?” but it’s better to go a more engaging route, and ask an open-ended question, as opposed to a “yes” or “no” one. Try something more along the lines of, for example, “So, how does your organization handle X?” Once you’ve got the ball rolling, be sure to actively listen and engage with their answer.
6. Edit, and consider some unique formats
Once you’ve drafted your elevator pitch, including everything above, you can really fine-tune it. Edit it down to make sure it’s under a minute long, and that you haven’t rambled about yourself, or used overly technical language. Also really think about how you’ve formatted it. Is it easy to remember? Streamlined? Compelling? Unique? Remember, you can stick with the formula of who you are, what you do, what your business does/offers, and a hook, but don’t be afraid to play around with it a bit if that doesn’t work for you. For example, you can consider:
- Leading off with a question
- Having a surprise ending
- Starting with a crazy stat (like how many hours employees spend on X) and how you can help solve that problem
- Including your inspiration for starting your business/creating your product, or your origin story
- Including a customer story
- Mentioning a mutual connection
7. Practice, practice, practice!
Finally, once you’ve honed your elevator pitch you need to practice – and we mean practice it like you’re taking it to Carnegie Hall! You want to learn it well enough that you don’t stumble over it and sound like you don’t know what you do for a living, and practice it enough that it doesn’t sound overly rehearsed. It should eventually come out of your mouth smoothly, with energy, confidence, and enthusiasm, and it should always be ready at a moment’s notice, since you never know who you’ll run into!
Running your business is one thing, selling it is quite another. There’s definitely an art to making your pitch, and part of that art is knowing how to strike a balance between saying too much and simply answering the question “what do you do?” But if you’re ready with a well-crafted elevator pitch, you can really wow your prospects, and turn them into eager customers.