In business or your career, building relationships is essential to success. But, before you can forge a relationship, you need to make a connection. An elevator pitch is an opportunity you have to spark a connection with someone you want to work for or with. It’s worth understanding what an elevator pitch is, why to use it and how you can make it compelling.
What is an elevator pitch?
The word ‘pitch’ is often used in sales, which focuses on getting a potential customer to accept the merits of a product and buy it. But you can pitch just about anything in service of a pre-determined goal. This includes wooing a potential customer, business partner, or colleague.
An elevator pitch is short enough to share during an elevator ride. It is a brief and memorable response to the questions, ‘What do you do?’ or ‘What does your company do?’. A great elevator pitch answers these questions and incites the recipient to ask for more information or take some desired action.
When is an elevator pitch important?
An elevator pitch is ideal in a situation that meets these three conditions:
- You’re meeting someone for the first time
- The person can help you in some way
- You have only so much time to get their attention
Why is an elevator pitch important?
A well-crafted elevator pitch helps you sell an idea, solution, or yourself in a limited amount of time. Here’s why you should consider preparing this short speech:
- Allows you to act quickly when an opportunity arises
- Enables you to give a practical introduction of yourself/your business/your product
- Removes the anxiety from having to pitch or make introductions each time
How to Create a Great Elevator Pitch
As your time to sell your idea or product is limited, you must do a fair amount of research before creating your elevator pitch. This is so you fully understand what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, and what you can offer.
Know what you’re selling
Your knowledge of what you do or who you are will help set you apart. Here’s why. When someone asks you, ‘What do you do?’ and you reply by saying, ‘I’m a dentist, you’re unlikely to make a deep connection with that response. Instead, the recipient will regard you as just one among many dentists in your area.
But if you use an elevator pitch to tell the recipient what’s different about your practice, it’s likely to be interesting enough for them to follow up with questions that help build a connection. Identifying the standout details about your trial and expressing them cogently is easier when you know the ins and outs of your business.
Know your audience
Another topic of research is the audience to which you are selling. People are more receptive to those who can understand their needs and address them. Understanding your audience’s pain points and desires will help you frame your elevator pitch correctly.
For example, if you provide a solution that enables businesses to develop products, you could say, “Our solution cuts the software development lifecycle in half.” That would capture attention as it would mean cost savings, greater efficiency, and a shorter time to market for businesses that make software products.
Your market research data is an excellent source of information on customers’ purchase behaviors and motives. You can also use buyer personas to craft messages that appeal to your audience’s beliefs, interests, and common objections. The key points about your business or yourself that you add to your elevator pitch should target the listener. This way, you can create different angles based on different audiences.
Determine the action required from the recipient
At the end of your elevator pitch, the recipient should feel motivated to take some action. Decide what it should be and include it in your closing lines. For example, a dentist might want the listener to book a consultation or learn more about their practice. If the listener is a potential employer, then you may want to get an interview with them. An entrepreneur may be looking to convince a potential investor to agree to a meeting with them.
Check speech length
There is no ideal length for an elevator speech. A Harvard Business Review article states the average elevator speech length is 118 seconds. Some of the best elevator speeches are no longer than 20-30 seconds long. If you can say something in fewer words, say it.
Pay attention to your body language.
How you deliver your elevator pitch also matters a great deal. You want to be confident and spontaneous so the recipient has no doubts that you’re confident about what you’re saying. Therefore, you must practice your elevator pitch a few times before presenting it to your audience. Note your body language during practice sessions in front of a mirror or for a friend/colleague. Here are some positive body language cues to keep in mind:
- Stand tall and keep your head straight to convey confidence and authority
- Smile and speak in a friendly tone of voice
- Speak clearly and naturally
- Shake the recipient’s hand firmly but not excessively so
Examples of great elevator pitches
1. Presenting to a potential employer
Hi, I’m Louise. I’m a digital marketer specializing in creating successful social media campaigns. Along with my eight years of professional experience, I recently received a diploma in Ethical Marketing and Advertising. I find the work your marketing team does to be creative and innovative. I’d love the opportunity to put my expertise to work for your company. Would it be possible to set up a call for us to discuss any open opportunities on your team?
2. Presenting to a potential customer
Hi. I’m Jason with Turbo Developers. How’s business going? I heard you’ve been struggling to bring out products quickly to market. Our solution is helping companies like you develop software products in half the time it usually takes them. Would you be interested in trying us out with a free demo? If you don’t mind, can I set up the demo meeting to run you through your business’s time and cost savings?
3. At a networking event
Nice to meet you! I’m Greta with Allen Distributors. We give you access to the city’s most exclusive restaurants, hotels, and condos. Our area coverage and distribution are unmatched. I think we can make a significant impact on your company. Would you like to schedule an appointment with us or visit our business?