When you tell people that you are starting or have a business, they’re sure to ask you questions about it. But they also don’t have all day to wait for you to explain your business model. This is where you need an elevator pitch, an explanation of your business that can hook someone in roughly the time it would take to share an elevator with them.
An elevator pitch is handy when you need to find investors or when you visit industry conventions or trade shows and need to pitch your business to potential partners or customers. However, many business owners struggle with getting an elevator pitch right.
You may feel that there’s simply too much to say about your business. It’s important to separate your thoughts from what your customers and investors most need to know. Here are our tips for perfecting your elevator pitch:
Too many entrepreneurs will brag that their business model is totally unique and revolutionary without doing any actual research into the industry. If you do, you may find that there are a number of business models similar to your own and you’re actually embarrassing yourself every time you emphasize how unique you are.
Furthermore, researching your industry thoroughly may help you identify exactly what is unique about your brand. That way, when you give your elevator pitch, you can get to the heart of exactly what your customers would be missing by going with the competition.
Again, the point of an elevator pitch is to get the message across in the time it would take to share an elevator with someone. You want to keep it brief, typically between 30-60 seconds. You don’t have to divulge every detail about your business: just enough to catch their interest and make them want to learn more.
Likely when you first draft your elevator pitch, it will be over 60 seconds long. Read over your pitch several times and try saying it out loud. Cut the statements that seem redundant or extraneous as you practice. Eventually, you will be able to shave your elevator pitch down to the perfect time.
The goal here is to be persuasive more than anything. Make sure your elevator pitch addresses why the listener should invest in or engage with your brand and how it will make a difference in their lives. If you can persuade them that this is something they need, they will ask you for further information themselves. That way, you can give them a business card website link, or get them to sign up for your email list.
Don’t just read your pitch on a phone or computer screen. You’re going to need to recite it from memory when asked for your pitch, and you’re going to need to make it sound like you’re not just reading off a script. That requires practice.
Give your pitch in front of a mirror. Enlist your friends or colleagues to roleplay with you and give them your pitch. They may be willing to give you feedback to improve the pitch, as well. The more you practice, the more you’ll notice things that could be improved until your pitch is pitch-perfect.
Is there a surprising stat that ties into something about your business? What about a one or two-sentence anecdote that catches the attention? These can serve as your hook. They help to pull your audience in quickly, and then you can lead them through the rest of the pitch.
You don’t want to try so hard with this that you sound like you’re reciting a clickbait article title. This is why concrete data can serve as a great attention-getter. If you don’t have a neat statistic, find a hook that relates to your audience and doesn’t sound too forced.
Go to the lobby of a decently sized building and send the elevator down to you. Then select the highest floor. Try to recite your pitch within the duration of the elevator ride. If you can do it, you’re on the right track. If you’re still somewhere in the middle when you reach the top floor, you need to go back and revise your pitch a bit.
But don’t stop there. Try giving your pitch within the time it takes to reach the middle floor. Try to give your pitch within the time it takes to get to the third floor. Ensure you still enunciate clearly and that you’re not just rushing information out in as little time as possible. The goal is to be concise, not to fit as many words as you can into a few seconds. Stick to the essentials of your pitch and let them speak for themselves.