Imagine you are at a corporate event or a networking event. How would you tell prospective clients or business partners about your product, service or organization? At these events, people typically look for short meaningful conversations rather than having a lengthy sales pitch forced on them. You will certainly want to capture their attention and do so as quickly as possible without boring them.
These situations call for a brief and easy-to-understand explanation of your organization, which is also known as an elevator pitch. A good elevator pitch, therefore, offers an excellent way to differentiate your business from the competition.
What Is an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is a short and easily understandable description of an organization, product, service or an idea. Also known as an elevator statement or elevator speech, an elevator pitch provides a quick explanation of the concept and the value it offers. It should define a problem and the solution you are offering in simple terms.
So how long is an elevator pitch?
The name comes from the idea that the pitch should be short enough to be delivered within the duration of an elevator ride. As such, the typical elevator pitch takes around 30 seconds to deliver, with the maximum length being 60 seconds. The longer your speech is, the less effective it will be.
It is important to remember that an elevator pitch is not about creating a sales opportunity or even closing a deal. The goal is to capture the attention of the listener and be memorable. An elevator pitch should help you get a second conversation, a foot in the door so to speak.
When to Use an Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch can be useful in myriad situations. As mentioned earlier, it is a useful tool at networking events. Professionals can use an elevator pitch to introduce themselves or their organization at corporate events or activities.
Job seekers may also find an elevator pitch useful at job fairs and other career-oriented events. These are a good way for project managers to propose new projects to stakeholders. Even entrepreneurs rely on elevator pitches to attract investors and venture capitalists.
How to Create an Impressive Elevator Pitch
Given the importance of an elevator pitch, you’ll need to spend some time crafting it properly. You definitely don’t want to bore your audience with a subpar pitch. Here are some tips to help you create an interesting and unforgettable pitch.
Identify Your Goals
You need to have a goal in mind to design your elevator pitch around. For example, a job seeker should create a pitch that effectively presents their best skills and experience. On the other hand, an entrepreneur looking to start a business should focus their pitch on the benefits of their business product or service. Your goal will serve as the core around which you will build your pitch.
Uncover Your Unique Selling Point
The simple fact is that you will not be the only person trying to pitch your idea. There will be others with their own elevator pitches trying to impress the same people you are pitching to. That’s why it is important that your pitch stands out from the crowd. To do so, you need to identify the unique selling point about you or your business.
Get the Introduction Right
A good pitch starts with a crisp introduction that’s not complicated. Sometimes, even stating your name and what you do will be enough. The idea here is to greet your audience correctly and give them a sense of what you are about to say. Therefore, try to make the introduction as simple, personal and natural as possible.
Focus on the Problem
Before you can offer your solution, you must help your audience understand the problem. By presenting your problem early on in the speech, you are setting the theme and tone for the rest of the pitch. This is also your opportunity to bring in real-life examples.
Remember: Your audience must be able to relate to your chosen example.
For example, if you are pitching a project management tool to a manager, you may want to highlight the problems with traditional project management processes such as higher rate of errors or lack of transparency due to data silos in the tech ecosystem which affects business decision making.
Bring in the Solution
Once you have outlined the problem, it is time to present your solution. This is the part where you showcase how you or your business solves the problem. The solution statement should clearly outline the major benefits of your concept as well.
This even works for creating an elevator pitch as a job-seeker. Speak about potential challenges that arise in your chosen field and how you and your skills will be an asset during those situations. In the above example of pitching a project management tool, you can highlight how your tool eliminates errors or saves time.
Keep in mind that the solution should speak to your audience. Continuing with the above example, when talking to a project manager, you can highlight how your tool makes executing projects easier. However, if you are talking to a resource manager, you may need to focus on how your tool simplifies allocating resources to projects.
Highlight Your Value Proposition
The value proposition is, ultimately, the key differentiator for elevator pitches. It outlines why your audience should choose you over your competitors. As such, it helps to spend a lot of time and effort into figuring out what value proposition you can offer.
In the example mentioned above, the value proposition could be that the tool automatically integrates with other tools like CRMs, ERPs, time tracking systems, billing software etc., for end-to-end profitable project management.
If you can’t figure out the value proposition immediately, a competitive analysis can help you uncover it. For more niche or original products, you must determine why your audience would want to use your product.
Deliver the Hook
By the time you get to the end of your pitch, you should have gained the interest of your audience. The final step is to really engage your audience and hook them into your business. You can offer them a short anecdote of your business history or the success story of one of your customers. Another excellent approach is to present a powerful statistic, preferably in terms of the benefits your audience will derive from your product or service.
Continuing with our previous example, you could say that the project management tool improves productivity by 15%. Alternatively, you can tell how one of your customers optimized project delivery timelines with your product. The goal is to grab your audience’s attention and get them to connect with you or your business. As with the rest of the pitch, ensure that the hook is personalized to the audience you are speaking to.
Always Have a CTA
Once you have delivered your elevator pitch, ensure that your audience follows up on it. To encourage them to call you back, swap contact information. This is also the ideal time to share business cards.
Top 5 Tips for Delivering Elevator Pitches
To help you maximize the effectiveness of your elevator pitch, here are some tips that you can employ.
Keep it Brief and Persuasive
As mentioned earlier, keep your elevator pitch as brief as it can be. Ideally, your pitch should be between 30 to 60 seconds. There is no need to provide a lot of information. Only keep the most important information and remove the rest. At the same time, it should capture the interest of your audience and make them want to engage with you further.
Greet Your Audience Correctly
First impressions matter. Therefore, make it a point to greet your audience in the right manner. For corporate events, you might want to be more formal, but you can be a little more casual if it is a fun event. Light jokes can be a good icebreaker but don’t go overboard with them.
It is important that you don’t stubbornly stick to only one version of your elevator pitch. Given that you might be pitching at different events to different people, flexibility will help you tremendously. Gauge your environment and modify your pitch accordingly.
For example, as a job seeker, you might want to highlight different skills depending on the organization and the role in question. When trying to get a job as a manager, you might want to highlight your leadership skills. However, if the organization is looking for a developer, you may want to focus your pitch on your coding skills. Likewise, when pitching a business, consider which feature of the product or service your audience will be most interested in.
Understand Your Audience
Showcasing your mastery of industry jargon and knowledge can impress your audience but not in all circumstances. In some cases, it might even set you back. As an example, consider that you are pitching yourself for a job. Your knowledge of industry jargon can impress senior managers at an organization you want to work for.
However, if you are speaking to recruiters, it can put them off as they might not have the same degree of industry knowledge as you. Similarly, if you are pitching a product or service, consider how knowledgeable your audience is on the subject before using industry jargon.
Given all the details to remember when delivering your elevator pitch, it is definitely a good idea to practice as much as you can. Regular practice makes you feel comfortable and familiar with the words, while helping you fine-tune it as needed. It helps you avoid sounding like a robot or like someone reading a script. Try to practice variations as well so that you are not caught off guard. With enough practice, you will find it easier to deliver the elevator pitch anytime and anywhere.
Elevator Pitch Examples That’ll Hook Your Audience
Now that you know how to create and deliver your elevator pitch, you will want to write one of your own. To help you, we have created a few examples for various situations. These examples should give you an idea of how to create a unique elevator pitch that highlights you or your business effectively in 60 seconds or less!
“Great to meet you!
I’m John with XYZ Solutions. One of our clients was really struggling during the shift to remote working. Communication was a mess and project timelines were all over the place. Thankfully, our project management solution helped bridge all remote workers, improving collaboration and productivity by up to 10%. I know different companies have different needs but I can say without any doubt that our solution can make managing projects easier, more efficient, and hassle-free.
Here’s my business card. Let’s connect again soon!”
I’m Smith, a recent graduate in marketing from ABC College. During my course, I interned with XYZ Solutions, helping them manage their social media marketing campaigns and increasing their social media presence by 15% in 6 months.
Now, I’m looking for a job that can help me build on my skills as a marketing specialist. Here are my profile and contact details.”
“How are you?
I’m Joe and I was recently looking at your organization’s social media and noticed an opportunity for improvement. With our social media tool, you can automate all your social media posts and improve your engagement by 20%. Not only does it help save time but improves your customer relationships, which can only be a good thing.
If you’d like a demo, I can set one up for you at your convenience!”
“Hi. I’m Kelly and I recently heard from our mutual acquaintance, John of ABC Enterprise, that your organization was struggling with optimizing sales funnels.
My organization, XYZ Solutions, builds custom online sales funnels to help our clients dramatically increase their sales while ensuring their customers enjoy a seamless and personalized user experience. In fact, our last client managed to increase their revenue by 150% in 3 months.
Would you like to see how we can do the same for you?”
Nail Your Elevator Pitch
A good pitch goes a long way in opening doors by transforming a single conversation into an opportunity for a sale or a job. At first glance, it may sound nerve-wracking to create a good elevator pitch. However, the steps, tips and examples outlined above should guide you into crafting an impressive elevator pitch that makes those seconds count.