An elevator pitch, also called an elevator speech, is a short statement designed to get the attention and interest of investors, potential customers, and other people important to your business. The elevator speech should do all of that in 30 seconds or less – typically the time an elevator ride takes or the time people have at networking meetings to introduce themselves.
One common trend I notice people do when crafting or talking about their elevator pitches is to recite their company’s capabilities or achievements or make a sales pitch. It’s wrong! Wong on all counts! Instead, your elevator pitch should make a potential investor or customer get interested and say, “tell me more”.
How to Write an Elevator Pitch
The first step to write a badass and successful elevator pitch or speech is to know the questions your elevator pitch must answer. Check out the following questions:
Who Are You?
Whether you’re pitching to investors or potential customers, the first thing anyone wants to know or hear is about you. They want to know who you are and your relationship to the pitch you are about to make. So, in this section, write down your name, title, and other important details such as your accomplishments and years of experience.
What Problem Do You Solve?
What problem do you/your business aim to solve? Potential investors or customers cannot make the giant leap if you don’t tell them the pain points you’ve identified and the problem you solve. So, explain the problem you want to solve (pain points), who has the problem (target audience), and why it matters that your offerings are bought (solution).
P.S: Do not use jargon, cliché, or corporate jargon that your listeners/readers won’t easily understand and find confusing. Also, don’t just jump right into how your product or service would help its target audience. Take them through the story behind the idea. Share your story. Did you face the challenge or almost lost something due to the unavailability of that product? Talk about it and then relate it to the establishment of your business.
Why is Solving This Problem Important?
The truth is that potential investors have listened to tons of pitches and would probably have been approached by businesses in your industry. The same goes for potential customers. Hence, you need to find what makes your offerings different. What makes it unique? What makes it stand out from the rest? Here, talk about the difference your product or service makes for people who use it (target audience).
Mention how it would have a positive impact on their businesses, lives, or environment. What you do or how you do something won’t have much appeal unless you draw attention to the significance of the problem and the relief your product provides. One great way to capture your audience’s attention is via storytelling.
Let’s face it, everybody likes stories irrespective of their financial status, age, gender, race, and other parameters. A story paints a picture of the importance of using your product or services. Use your story to build engagement and elicit an emotional response. Try to show how incredibly passionate you are about your topic – it increases your chances of success.
Market Size for Your Product or Service
Investors will want to know how they will make money when (or if) they invest in your company. They’ll want to know how many businesses in your niche there are, how many customers will buy what you are selling, how often they’ll buy, and how they (the investor) will profit.
If your elevator speech is targeted at getting new customers, not investors, your market size won’t matter to your listeners. What will matter to customers is how your product or service will help them reach a bigger market, service more clients, cut costs, improve safety, or accomplish other import goals.
What Makes You Unique (USP)?
How is your solution an improvement on existing products or services? Tell your audience why your company or the solution you are offering rocks. For example, if your elevator pitch is aimed at customers, your listeners are going to want to know how you differ from your competitors, and why that difference is significant enough for them to go to the trouble of switching from their current provider or way of doing things to your solution.
What’s Your Call-To-Action (CTA)?
While your 30-second elevator speech isn’t a sales pitch per se, it is a pitch. It should be written in a way that not only gets attention but also lets listeners know what action you’d like them to take.
To make the most of each opportunity, list all the circumstances that might give you a chance to talk about your business, and then list what you would want to achieve by that interaction.
- Meeting a potential investor on that proverbial elevator ride or next to the coffee machine.
- Making a formal (and longer) presentation to potential investors.
- Convincing someone to join your company as a co-owner, partner, or top employee based on the potential future growth of the company.
- Introducing yourself at a networking meeting where all the attendees get a chance to stand up and briefly state what they do.
- Introducing yourself in a networking situation where attendees are encouraged to state who is their ideal client or customer.
- Answering the “what do you do” question when you’re chatting with someone you’ve just met in a social or other non-business situation.
Write Several Versions of Your Elevator Pitch
Create a pitch for your business to use in each of the situations you listed above. Start with the situations that you are most likely to be in and/or that are most important to you.
For each version, put yourself in the listener’s shoes. Summarize your answers to each of the questions you answered above in just a few words and in terms that will matter to the listener.
For example, if you are making an organic skincare range that erases cellulite, stretch marks and reduces belly fat, a customer would want to know that your products will work without side-effects and do the work of surgery – that is, if they went under the knife. A retailer would want to know how they would sell more of your products by giving your brand part of their limited display space. An investor would want to know how much demand there really is and what realistic expectations are for a return on their investment.
Once you’ve summarized the answers for each version of your pitch, refine your summaries, make sure each is clear, concise, and compelling enough to elicit a ‘tell me more’ response. Remember that you want to be thinking in terms of how the products will be used and how that use is of tremendous benefit to your listener.
Once you have each pitch refined, test it on people you know but who don’t know a lot about what you do. After you give them your pitch, ask them to tell you what you’re selling and why people will want to buy it. If they don’t seem to grasp the importance or understand what you do, rework the pitch.
Practice Until You Achieve Perfection
Finally, when you’ve fine-tuned your elevator pitches, practice the variations over and over until you can deliver each of them smoothly in appropriate situations. You’ll make a much better impression with your elevator speech if you deliver it confidently, enthusiastically, and without stumbling over words.