It’s easy to picture the likely circumstances which gave rise to the term “the elevator pitch”. You finally manage to come face to face with an important business person but they can only spare the time until the end of an elevator ride. That period is all you get to make a case for yourself.
The term has remained popular in the business world, even though elevators are no longer a mandatory element. But the essence remains the same – it’s a very short summary of your business idea or product, meant to stir up interest in future cooperation.
Creating an effective marketing presentation is always difficult, but the length of the elevator pitch provides additional challenges. Absolutely every word needs to count. And you need to deliver it in a convincing manner. In other words, you have to cover both substance and style. In this text, we’ll help you do that by going over the key features you need to keep in mind.
The very first thing to know is that an elevator pitch is not something you leave to chance. You prepare it well in advance, memorize and practice it. You start by writing the framework.
The length of an elevator pitch isn’t set in stone, but you should aim for one minute. Even less, if you can manage it. Therefore, the exact word count depends on how quickly you talk.
However, you do not want to try and cram in as many words as you can. The key is to speak at a comfortable pace and focus on the quality and the delivery.
The Basic Info
Your pitch should begin with a quick explanation of who you are. Use one sentence to say whether you are a business owner or a representative and mention the size of the company.
Next, you need to describe what it is that you do. This should take two sentences at most but it’s best if you can say it in one. Explain your product, services, or the idea you have in the simplest of terms. Now, this isn’t easy if your concept is truly innovative or complex. In such cases, you can rely on existing products or services. Describe your idea as a combination of two known products or one such product but with a key difference.
Depending on how you handled the previous description, you may need to add a sentence to say what makes you different from the competition. Finally, quickly describe your target customers.
Now that you have the essentials in place, it’s time for the finishing touches.
The Desired Outcome
Your pitch needs to end with a call to action. But before you can write one, you need to identify your goal. And be realistic – you’re not going to close the deal after 60 seconds. The elevator pitch is an introduction and you need to choose where it should lead. Do you want to schedule a meeting or just have the listener visit your website? Decide that and write the appropriate end for your pitch.
You cannot use the same pitch for all. A potential investor and a prospective client don’t care about the same things. That’s why you need to be able to adapt. The core of your pitch will remain but you need to prepare tweaks to cater to your specific audience.
As a general rule, you want to avoid industry-specific terms in your elevator pitch. The simplest way to do this is to assume your listener has never heard of your particular area of expertise. However, there is one exception.
We already mentioned you need to have multiple versions of your pitch prepared, depending on your audience. Let’s say you are attending an event hosted by a search engine optimization company. In that case, it’s fine if one variation of your pitch includes some industry jargon. But do not assume everyone there will be an expert and be ready with the other versions.
While you do need to relentlessly practice your elevator pitch, you also don’t want to seem too rehearsed. If you sound like a robot, the listener will tune out. That’s why it’s best to include some emotion in your pitch. Show your passion, explain why you like what you do.
The elevator pitch is a powerful tool in your arsenal, provided you can make the most of it. You have very little time to work with and you can’t afford to waste any. That’s why it’s so important to practice. Rehearse your pitch in front of a mirror, in front of other people, wherever you can. Because you never know when opportunity is going to present itself.
Kym Wallis, the founding director of Higher Ranking has over 15 years of advertising sales, digital strategy, and business development. Most recently, he worked for IBM as the IBM Marketing Cloud Specialist for Australian and New Zealand. Prior to working with IBM, Kym was the Senior Integrated Solutions Manager for North America, Implementing the Integrated Solution Manager strategy to North America for ReachLocal. Prior to moving to the USA with ReachLocal, Kym was the most successful internet marketing consultant in Australian ReachLocal history.