The Elevator Pitch
Most people confuse the elevator pitch with a sales pitch, but while they are similar they are not the same. A sales pitch is a formal presentation. An elevator pitch is a segue that takes place within a casual conversation. The idea comes from a thought experiment that asks ‘what would you do if you ended up in an elevator with your dream employer or idol?’ You have less than 60 seconds to pitch yourself and your ideas. So, how do you craft a winning elevator pitch?
What is an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is your talking piece. It’s the spiel you would give at trade shows and marketing events; when you’re hiring employees; and when you’re explaining what you do to your children or in-laws; and of course, in hypothetical elevators.
An elevator pitch should be short, concise and to the point. It is a short but powerful tool to quickly and persuasively spark interest in your small business or your credentials. Having a face-to-face opportunity is priceless and you need to be ready to capitalise on it. If you are running a small business or looking for opportunity, marketing is essential. There’s nothing more exhilarating than owning your own business, even if it means wearing 17 different hats daily! A small business owner needs to believe in their business and is always ready to prove its relevancy.
2. Relate to the Audience
Ask yourself how does your product or service give your audience a solution to their problem? When starting off your pitch, pose it as a question relating specifically to whoever you’re pitching to; to get them engaged. Asking questions is an ideal strategy as it forces your target to think about what you are saying and the product or service you are providing an answer to. Questions like ‘Do you ever find that ‘x’ isn’t always as ‘y’ and you wish it was? Well my ‘x’ solves that problem.’ Your goal is to relate the value of your product or service to the customer, as quickly and concisely as possible.
Javier Saade advised in the Huffington Post, never talk about the revenue model, how much capital you have raised or are raising, what the competition looks like, who makes up the team etc. Save the details for the next meeting. This pitch is meant to be a punchy, persuasive and tantalising less than-30-second snapshot that will leave your audience intrigued and curious to find out more.
3. Shorten Your Pitch to One Sentence, or Even One Word
Airbnb’s one-sentence pitch used to be “Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels” an idea which has really struck a chord with travellers who now do ‘belong anywhere’. Bestselling author Daniel H. Pink talks about ‘taking ownership of a word’, just a single word which people will associate with them. Citing Barack Obama’s use of the word ‘Forward’ during his 2012 re-election pitch. Obama’s team used this in all his campaign advertisements and so distilled his entire pitch into one word. If you’re having issues describing your product in one sentence, know that you’re not alone. Try asking a few of your friends and family how they’d describe your product and you’ll soon understand how to pitch your idea.
4. Be Prepared to Connect
If you are pitching yourself at a tradeshow, or in an elevator, you may not have the means – or the Wi-Fi signal – to capture your potential customer’s data and share yours with them. Try old school business cards, invest in a good quality website, and be active in social media. Think of every way you contact the businesses you use, and ensure you are easily contactable. The business world has changed and it is now paramount that businesses are not faceless corporations – consumers don’t trust them anymore. Be available online. Use LinkedIn and business directories to make contacts in your field – these online directories can be invaluable not just for contacts, but for potential new hires or partners and ideas.Networking at events, attending expos and trade shows is great way to spread the word on your brand, and be active online.
5. Get Confident
Notice I said ‘get’ confident and not ‘be’ confident. The first time you pitch you probably won’t be Captain Confidence. The best way to get more confident is to practice your elevator pitch in front of a mirror – or a really nice friend – a few hundred thousand times. You’ll get even more confident as you actually pitch to real people, they tend to be more responsive than reflections. Once you have your pitch nailed down, and are proud of both the pitch and your product, you have everything you need to pitch to your dream employer, business partner, or idol – in an elevator or out.
Kylie Glover writes for AuthorFlair about small business and start-ups from personal experience. If something happens in the start-up scene, she has probably read about it and already putting pen to paper. She loves to write about new trends and discoveries in the world. For more thoughts and ideas, you can connect with Kylie on G+