If you’re a business owner, you should be ready to deliver your company’s elevator pitch at a moment’s notice but can it ever be counter-productive? The problem is that too often, an elevator pitch feels more like a windup into a long monologue with detailed descriptions of every product and service your company provides and why each is amazing. We’ve all been at the other end of this kind of pitch and as a result, we’ve developed personal exit strategies. The most effective one I’ve found is looking off in the distance and identifying someone I need to say hello to and quickly moving on.
Elevator Pitch Tips
The following seven habits will help you avoid elevator pitch overload:
Remember your vision. Why did you start your company and what are you really excited about? If you don’t know your “why” it’s going to be very difficult to motivate anyone else to get excited about your company. And if money is your key driver, your pitch will come across as a sales pitch. Think about the last time you were on the receiving end of this type of pitch. How receptive were you?
Get familiar with your ideal client. Instead of thinking of your elevator pitch as a one size fits all, try and imagine the one person who would be a great fit for what you offer. Who are they? What do they care about? What is their pain point? When you understand your ideal client and what motivates them, you will gain insight and empathy for them which will make it easier to identify them. So when you find yourself speaking to that ideal client, your pitch will feel like the very thing they’ve been looking for.
Understand your value proposition. What makes your company unique? Are you the Uber of cookie dough? The Martha Stewart of auto parts? Once you understand your value proposition, embrace it and own it.
Get comfortable with rejection. The goal of a great elevator pitch to is identity your ideal client so when your pitch doesn’t connect with the listener, consider it a gift. You’ve just saved yourself weeks or maybe even months, chasing after the wrong client who is too polite to tell you that they don’t want what you have to offer.
Keep it short and keep it real. In our 24/7 social media culture, one minute is too long for an elevator pitch so keep it to 30 seconds and leave out any industry jargon or acronyms. Use real language that tells someone what you do in a way that piques their curiosity so they’ll want to know more. If you get a blank stare, go back to #4.
Think of your pitch as the start of a conversation. When you’ve connected with a potential customer, they will visibly nod and start asking questions. This is a really good thing!
Practice! It’s natural for a new pitch to feel awkward at first so the key is to practice it until it feels natural and meaningful to you. Then breathe and smile. Your elevator pitch will come across much better when you’re relaxed.
I’ve spent a decade crafting my elevator pitch which is why it now seems like second nature to answer the question, what do you do? with: “I align vision with relevant messaging that cuts through the noise.” If I don’t have you at hello, I smile and ask what you do. After all, someone I know could be looking for the very thing your company offers.
Elevator Buttons Photo via Shutterstock