Today, people’s attention spans are shorter than ever. So when you’re introducing your business to a new potential client or partner, you may only have about 30 seconds to share your genius before they start to lose focus. Whether you’re at a local networking event, industry trade show, or just meeting new contacts around town, a quick, concise speech is key. So knowing how to write an elevator pitch can allow you to grab people’s interest in the limited time available.
If you’re ready to learn the art of the elevator pitch, here are some details you should know.
What is an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is essentially a very short synopsis of your business and what you can offer. It is so named because it’s designed to get a point across in just a short elevator ride. Usually, these pitches include a short description of a person, business, or product. For individuals, they’re often shared at job interviews, career fairs, or networking events. But small business owners can use a similar concept to pitch their company to new investors or clients at industry events or community meetings that are relevant to their target audience.
Even if you don’t find yourself in many chance elevator meetings, having a quality pitch can help you make more sales, attract investors, meet new contacts at networking events, or even nail job interviews. Generally, these pitches are made to those who are just learning about your business for the first time, so they’re not often used for closing deals, but instead for grabbing people’s interest.
What are Good Elevator Pitch Examples?
So what exactly separates good elevator pitches from bad ones? A quality elevator pitch example is usually framed in a way that presents what kind of value your company provides for others. Here’s a very short example of a pitch that is formatted in a way that’s likely to get results:
“I developed a project management solution that helps companies with remote employees keep their teams connected and on track with all their daily tasks.”
So why is this elevator speech effective? First of all, it clearly defines a problem, solution, and target users. This allows the person you’re conversing with to decide quickly if your company or product is something that’s relevant to them. It also provides a general yet clear introduction that still leaves the conversation open to questions if the person is interested, but doesn’t leave them confused or bored. .
On the other hand, an elevator speech that is too general, filled with too much complicated jargon, or doesn’t clearly define what problem they’re solving and for whom is unlikely to have the desired effect. Here’s an example of a short pitch that has some of these negative qualities:
“I run a tech company. We create innovative solutions for industry leaders who are looking to increase productivity throughout their organizations.”
These two elevator pitches could theoretically be describing the same company, but one gives more tangible information about who the solution is for and what it can help teams accomplish. The other is full of buzzwords and doesn’t answer many questions. Of course, your own speech may include some more specifics about your company, but the general idea is sound. Since the whole purpose of an elevator pitch is to grab people’s attention and start a conversation that may eventually move toward a sale or some other kind of partnership, the example that provides enough information to hook people is likely to have a greater impact.
How Do You Create a Pitch?
When creating a pitch, many people may find themselves with a mental block. In fact, getting started is often the most difficult part. So having a basic roadmap can be a major help as you gather your thoughts and prepare your speech.
While every pitch is unique, there are a few common themes and steps that you can draw from to create an effective elevator pitch. If you want some guidance to help you create a pitch that aligns with your business’s goals, follow these simple steps as you work on crafting your own.
1. Define Who You’re Talking To
You can’t hope to write an effective pitch if you’re not even sure who you’re speaking to. For maximum impact, your points should be tailored toward a specific target audience, whether it’s potential clients at a trade show or investors at a demo event. In fact, you might have a few different pitches or make tweaks to your basic speech depending on who you’re speaking with. Regardless, having a clear picture of who you’re trying to attract can help you write something that’s clear, concise, and memorable.
2. Include a Basic Introduction
Often, it’s easiest to start your pitch with the basics. Think about the most general questions people have about your business and try to answer them in the most concise way possible. For example: Who are you? What do you do? Who do you serve? Why is this important? How do you accomplish this? You don’t have to answer every question. But pick one that seems especially important to the people you’re speaking to. Then once you find one simple place to start, you should be well on your way to crafting an impactful pitch.
3. Explain What Makes You Stand Out
Once you have the basics down, it’s time to take your pitch to the next level. So think about what makes your company different from the others who might describe their offering in a very similar way. Refer to your unique value proposition for this portion. And use that information to craft a hook that makes your pitch and company memorable. Additionally, try to frame your points in a way that makes it clear how you solve a problem for others and why that’s so important.
4. Engage with People
Elevator pitches aren’t just about you. They’re also about the person who you’re speaking to. So it may be more impactful if you can include an easy way to keep the conversation going once the main part of your speech is over. For example, ask a simple question like “does your remote team ever struggle with productivity?” This keeps the topic of conversation on your offering but allows you to learn more about a prospect so you can continue tailoring your points to their specific situation.
5. Include a Call to Action
Your pitch should also be crafted with a clear goal in mind. Maybe that’s to eventually make a sale after connecting with a prospect. Or it could be to attract a potential new investor or partner. Whatever the goal, you should include some kind of call to action at the end that makes it easy for the person in question to determine their next steps if and when they want to work with you. Often, you can keep this part simple and share a business card with your contact information so they can reach out after the event.
6. Practice and Time Your Speech
Good elevator speeches should usually be about 30 seconds or less. Once you have a rough draft in mind, practice it in front of a family member or colleague to see how it sounds. Even if they’re not part of your target audience, they can tell you how your speech sounds in general and give you tips to help you deliver it in an impactful way. Additionally, you should time the speech as you deliver it to make sure it’s quick and concise.
What Makes a Good Elevator Pitch?
Every elevator speech should be unique, but most have several attributes in common. More specifically, a good elevator pitch usually has the following qualities:
- Is under a half minute long
- Gets people to remember you and your company
- Includes the most important basic details about your business
- Identifies your target audience
- Outlines a clear problem and solution
- Includes a clear call to action
- Leaves room for questions or conversation
Additionally, ensure that your elevator pitch doesn’t include these common attributes of bad elevator pitch examples:
- Is overly vague
- Includes tons of industry jargon and buzzwords
- Is bland and unmemorable
- Takes a ton of time or drones on for minutes
- Isn’t well rehearsed and includes tons of “um”s or repetitive phrases
- Is too well rehearsed and leaves no room for customization
- Includes no opportunity for engagement or call to action
With these steps and tips in mind, you can craft an elevator speech that may help you get the results you’re looking for at your next big networking event or trade show. Once you have the perfect pitch in mind, the best way to perfect it is to practice, practice practice! It’s not just about reciting it in front of a close colleague or in front of the mirror. You have to go out to events and network with local professionals and potential clients to see what kind of response you get. This will help you really learn whether or not your speech is effective and well suited to your business. And you can always make adjustments along the way if needed.