We’ve all been there before. You’re on an elevator, coffee in hand, minding your own business when the door opens, and the new CEO of your company walks in. This is your moment! It’s time to share an idea you have that would save company resources, that your co-workers tell you is so great, that you’ve spent weeks, months, or even years perfecting.
The missing piece has been getting leadership buy-in to get the idea out of your brain and into action. You turn your head, say “Good morning!” and then freeze. Thirty awkward seconds later, the doors open. Your CEO leaves the elevator telling you to have a nice day. The elevator doors close again. What just happened?
You, my friend, may need an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that creates interest in a specific topic. You can use this type of pitch to bolster interest in yourself, an idea, or a project. Given the name, though, elevator pitches should be succinct. In fact, you should be able to deliver an elevator pitch in a short elevator ride — somewhere between 20 to 30 seconds.
How do you start the conversation? How do you best present your ideas? An elevator pitch can help you prepare for both expected and unexpected moments of opportunity. Continue reading to learn how to develop a useful elevator pitch.
Crafting an Elevator Pitch
It’s good business to master the elevator pitch. In fact, it’s one of the first things that many people learn when they get into sales.
By creating an elevator pitch in advance, you give yourself time to practice and perfect your speech. Ultimately, when you can succinctly deliver what makes your product special or why you’re a standout candidate, others will perceive it as confidence. Whether you run into your company’s CEO in an actual elevator or a potential investor at a networking event, you’ll be able to confidently deliver an effective elevator pitch.
Since everyone’s purpose for developing an elevator pitch might be different, it’s important to note that the steps you take may vary. Below are general steps to consider when developing your own elevator pitch.
Do Your Research
Before you start crafting an elevator or sales pitch, do the research on whatever you plan to share. If there are any questions, you should be able to answer them. Additionally, knowing your subject matter will be evident when you’re delivering the elevator pitch, adding a level of legitimacy to your speech.
Understand Your Audience
The perfect pitch is possible when you’ve researched the market and your audience. Understanding your audience’s unique needs will help you target them in your pitch. For your company’s CEO in the elevator, you’ll know that they care about the bottom line. However, if you are approaching a business owner at a career fair or perhaps a potential boss in a job interview, your approach should be adjusted so that you can make the perfect first impression.
Define Key Points
Defining the goal of your elevator speech beforehand should help you craft your speech around that goal. If you’re promoting a product, you can define and call out key points of the product in the elevator pitch. Why should a company switch to your product? Or what makes you so valuable to the company?
You might also want to address potential pain points in your elevator pitch. How would your company or idea tackle those potential roadblocks? What ideas do you have to mitigate risk?
Answer the Question: “Who Are You?”
At their most basic, good elevator pitches should keep the following question in mind: “Who are you?” When writing your pitch, you’ll want to include your name, job title, contact information, the name of your company or idea, your market, what makes you/your idea/your organization valuable, and a clear call to action.
In this part of the elevator pitch, you should try to include what makes you, your idea, or your company unique in as few words as possible. Even though what you say should be clear and succinct, it should still be presented in a memorable way. For instance, consider adding insightful statistics about your organization, product, or yourself, or offer a unique selling proposition (USP). Essentially, what makes your idea stand out from its current competitors?
Pose a Question
You can pose an open-ended question that will help your audience engage in the conversation. Not only can posing an open-ended question help keep the individual engaged and create a more lasting impression, but it can also lead to a longer conversation down the line.
Are you unsure of what to ask? Keep it simple and demonstrate that you have not only good communication skills but also solid listening skills.
Read Successful Elevator Pitch Examples
If you’re still unsure if your elevator pitch is up to par, consider reading some examples of successful elevator pitches. Consider asking any successful startup owners, salespeople, or small business owners for their advice.
You can also try reaching out to LinkedIn or social media connections. Reading elevator pitch examples from high-authority career resources, like HubSpot or The Balance, can also help you write your own elevator pitch.
Practice Makes Perfect
Once you have an overview of what you want to say, you can craft it into a speech. During this step, you should be mindful of the amount of time you’re using. Additionally, don’t be surprised if you go through several versions before settling on the perfect words.
Continue to practice your elevator pitch so that when the time comes, you’ll be ready. Whether you meet your CEO again in the elevator or have a scheduled pitch to a potential employer, you’ll be ready to deliver. However, even though you’ve practiced, your pitch shouldn’t sound rehearsed. Aim to have your elevator pitch sound as natural and conversational as possible.
Delivering an Elevator Pitch
Now that you know how to create an elevator pitch, you should know when to deliver it. The perfect moment doesn’t always come along, but you want to make an impactful impression when it does.
1. Seize the Moment Be prepared to seize the moment. It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to deliver your speech. When the perfect moment comes, be prepared to talk to the right people. You’ve put in the work and the practice, so don’t be shy.
2. Start With the Essentials Once you’ve identified the right person (or people) to talk to, start with the essentials. This should be when you include basic information about you or your company. To make an even bigger impact, hand the person your business card. They can reference this information in the future and contact you if needed.
3. Keep It Simple Remember to keep the elevator speech succinct. It should be short, sweet, and to the point. That means every word you speak should be of importance to your audience.
4. Keep Them Engaged Even though it’s called an elevator pitch, you don’t want it to sound like a presentation. Instead, it should sound a bit more casual. One way to prevent the elevator pitch from sounding like a well-rehearsed speech is to include open-ended questions.
5. Pitch the Issue Clearly express to the person what you’re talking about and why. The person you’re talking to should walk away from the conversation with a better understanding of how you (or your product) can be an asset to the business.
For example, your CEO might have expressed in a companywide meeting last year that while revenue is high, profit is not as high as they’d like due to higher overhead costs. If your idea seeks to reduce those costs, make that clear.
6. Offer Tangible Benefits Your elevator speech should convey that your idea is exceptional. For example, if your idea is to start an internal meal service program instead of using an external contractor, be prepared to show how the idea could save the company money and create new job opportunities that could benefit company morale and the local economy.
7. Follow Up Before you finish the elevator pitch, reiterate what makes you or your idea valuable and unique. For example, continuing with the example above, you might explain that while competitors have launched similar initiatives like an internal meal service, your idea would employ not only job seekers but also local farms and businesses, which could be free and positive PR for the company.
8. Throw Them “the Ask” Lastly, you should try to have the conversation continued. Obviously, 20 to 30 seconds only provides individuals with a mere overview of what you do. Try to schedule a meeting at a later date to continue the conversation.
In some cases, you might ask to schedule a meeting the following week, while in other cases, you might suggest they meet you at your booth at a trade show. For example, your CEO might ask for a sit-down meeting, where they’ll ask you a series of interview questions to determine if they want to pursue your concept.
Executing the Elevator Pitch
Even though you should only give an elevator pitch when prompted, you should be ready for the opportunity. Creating the perfect elevator pitch won’t guarantee venture capital investments or bank loans, but it could improve the chances of meeting or impressing the person who can connect you to the right people.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is,” and neither the author nor Office Depot warrants the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
/account/v2/editBillingDisplay,/orderhistory/subsManager,/orderhistory/submitReturn,/account/accountSummaryDisplay,/account/loginAccountDisplay,/account/myfiles,/csl/listAllhttps://request.eprotect.vantivcnp.com/eProtect/js/payframe-client3.min.js?d=20210801 Join Now