How To Create an Elevator Pitch

How To Create an Elevator Pitch

Most businesspeople know what an elevator pitch is, but you'd be surprised how few of them take the time to actually develop one for their own company or to put it to good use. As the first 60 seconds are the make-or-break of making a good impression, we've composed this article to help you develop--and perfect--a winning elevator pitch.

  • So What Do You Do?

    An elevator pitch, is your answer to the question "so what do you do?" This is one of the most commonly asked questions in conversation, whether you are dating, riding an elevator, or pitching your business services. That short answer(30 seconds to 2 minutes) would be called an elevator pitch.

    Confidence in Yourself = Confidence from Others

    People tend to mirror each other in conversations. The more confident you are explaining what you do, the more confident people will be to work with you.

    But the right words won't just pop into your head when you're introduced to that perfect contact. In fact, if you're under stress, you're more likely to either draw a blank or start babbling nonsense.

Remember Ralphie in The Christmas Story? When he finally got to ask Santa for the BB gun he wanted, he froze up and blurted out, “Football!” Don't be like Ralphie: Prepare your elevator pitch in advance so you'll prepared for the big moment.

Remember, this is not just what you say, it is how you say it. Your confidence in your response is just as important as the words. This is why practicing your elevator pitch in real life, any time someone asks "what do you do?" will pay off with improving your elevator pitch every time.

  • Why Do I Need One?

    As an entrepreneur, you should always be on the lookout for the perfect contact: the purchasing agent for a company that can distribute your product, the CFO who controls the financing you need, the foundation president who can issue a grant to help your non-profit. If you suddenly found yourself in a conversation with this person, would you be able to tell them enough about your company to pique their interest and get an appointment for a follow-up?

  • Ready to Write Your Pitch?

    Before you begin crafting your elevator pitch, make sure you have gathered all the relevant facts about your company so you can not only promote it, but also be prepared to answer any questions that may come up. Talk with your CFO to get financial numbers and research the market to get an idea of your market share. To explain how you’re better or different from your competition, you’ll need to know who your chief competitors are and how your company compares to them.

    Consider your target audience: What problem do they have that you might be able to solve? What benefits can your product or service provide? To create a compelling message, you need to know what is likely to motivate them to take action.

    Once you've done your homework, start writing an outline with all the points you want to include in your pitch. Keeping it as short and to-the-point as possible, turn your outline into a paragraph

  • Ingredients to Create Your Perfect Elevator Pitch:

  • Who are you (your name):

  • What do you do / Your position at your company:

  • Where do you work?

  • Why do you do it? Or what problem do you or does your company solve?

  • How do you, or how does your company solve this problem?

  • (Extra Credit) What is an impressive highlight or fact about your business?
  • Example Elevator Pitch:

My name is Susan Smith. I am the owner of Smith Services, Inc. My business helps solve the problem of outdated invoicing practices, using paper and fax machines, by providing new online software and training so our clients can do their invoicing online. (Optional) We just celebrated our 5 year anniversary, and we were just voted one of the best places to work in Chicago.

After you've reviewed and polished it, read it out loud. Sometimes sentences that look good on paper sound unnatural when spoken, and you want your pitch to sound conversational. Rehearse it a few times and try it out during casual conversation to get feedback.

  • How to Open Up a Conversation (and Not Be Sales-y!)

    Anytime you meet someone new, or have a potential prospect, one of the best opening lines is to ask the person "So, what do you do?" You can also use phrases such as "Tell me more, I am curious about your business."

    People love to talk about themselves, and asking questions will get the conversation flowing. Be sure to listen and respond naturally. Do not force the conversation.

    Because people naturally will mirror you, a common response to your question, will be the same question given back to you "What do you do?" and now you have the perfect opportunity to share your elevator pitch in natural conversation.

Bottom Line: If your elevator pitch is getting good results, don't mess with success. If not, tweak it until it does. And remember, the purpose of the pitch is to make a good impression, but a good impression doesn't mean much if you fail to follow up on it. It should be just the first step on the path to an ongoing and successful business relationship.

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