5 Steps to Develop Your Business’ Elevator Pitch

5 Steps to Develop Your Business' Elevator Pitch

Chances are, you’ve been at a family gathering a time or two, where an extended family member explains their job–seemingly taking all day to do so. They give a long and tedious story about every detail of their organization, completely overlooking the daydreamers who’ve been so lovely to stay despite not being interested.

The result? The family members that managed to make it through the whole story still don’t know what the job is and likely don’t even care at this point. Instead, a short, simple elevator pitch makes a better impression of who you are and what you do by presenting memorable tidbits of information while engaging and involving your audience.

The idea is to spark interest quickly without overdoing it. Here’s how to develop your business’ elevator pitch and why you need one.

What is an Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is just like it sounds — a pitch you give in the amount of time it would take to take a ride on an elevator. At most, optimal pitches are about 30 seconds, with the best ones being informative, engaging, and concise. The key is to make your business stand out and be memorable. 

As an introductory example, consider these two sample pitches: 

  1.  Short and sweet: I’m a radio executive who specializes in developing radio ads for local businesses. Alongside my 10 years of professional experience with recording and sound mixing, I recently received an MBA in PR and customer retention. It sounds like you’re in a similar field. I’d love to keep in touch and learn more about your company.
  2. The one-liner: Our company saves business owners time by eliminating the hassle of developing your ads in-house to create wonderful, effective ads in just a few weeks.

Components of a Great Elevator Pitch

You can include many components in your pitch, but the most important are:

A description of who you are and what you do

Consider drawing from your company’s mission statement for inspiration. It already explains your company’s purpose for being in concise and straightforward terms. Chris Bart, a Professor at McMaster University, suggests your mission statement includes three essential elements: 

  • Keep your target audience in mind
  • Your product or service’s benefit
  • The big reasons ‘why’ you are better than the competition 

You can apply this concept when developing your elevator pitch.

An explanation of the problem your business solves

First, you’ll want to explain the general problem and how you solve it in the pitch. What problem is disrupting your target audience’s life? What does your product do to reduce that challenge, if not eliminate it altogether? 

You also will want to stress your Unique Selling Point or what you do differently than anyone else. Your competitors are likely positioning themselves as the solution to that same problem, so what makes your solution better?

End your pitch by turning it around on the other person

Don’t make everything all about you, or you may come off too pushy and ‘salesy.’ Consider including a question at the end of the pitch directed towards the person you’re telling it to.

Including a question does at least two things for you: 

  1. Gauges their interest — How quickly they react and respond to your question indicates how well your pitch held their attention. If someone answers quickly, they likely weren’t listening and were simply waiting to talk. Adjust your pitch as necessary to keep their interest.
  2. More engaging and memorable— People are more likely to remember a pitch they engaged with than one they simply heard. Spending too much time on yourself without giving equal attention to the person you’re speaking to makes you seem self-centered. 

Providing a business card also helps make the experience more memorable and, in many cases, even makes the person feel heard.

Tying The Pitch Together

While tying the pitch together, remember the importance of keeping it concise. Limiting your pitch to 30 seconds, or 90 words, is usually long enough. It is long enough to express your company’s value while short enough to spark interest without wasting their time.

Think of it in terms of radio advertising spots:

  • You must grab and hold the listener’s attention in a matter of seconds.
  • Get your marketing message across as quickly as possible. 
  • Be Concise and have a strong call-to-action

Practice Your Pitch

First and foremost, prepare a few different pitches to address different audiences. You don’t need a whole new speech for each person, but making some small tweaks and changes will resonate better in different situations. Think of it as your ‘buyer personas’ and the minor differences between them. Have multiple pitches for each persona, as well as for different situations. You’ll likely want a different pitch for a high-ranking CEO compared to someone you’re trying to recruit.

Memorizing your pitch by heart is crucial. It is imperative that you’re relaxed enough in delivery so it doesn’t feel rehearsed. Otherwise, it can be off-putting. 

Practicing your pitch is a vital part of your success. People don’t say “practice makes perfect” for no reason. The more familiar you are with your pitch, the better it will flow. Making your pitch seem conversational rather than automated makes you more personable. Not to mention you’ll feel more confident and less pressured when it comes time to boast about your business. 

Why You Need an Elevator Pitch and Bonus Tips

You need an elevator pitch to avoid the worst (and frankly, most boring) answer to who you are and what you do. Word of mouth is the key to reaching people. You still have to be diligent about the other person’s time and interest. As long as you understand the point of an elevator pitch, include the right components, elicit a response, tie it all together, and practice, you’ll be well equipped to differentiate your business and get your name out there. You never know who you’ll run into, so you should always be prepared to market the value of your company. 

As a bonus, we suggest you refrain from explaining everything about your business and letting the other person have the stage. It is crucial to keep your business advertising short and sweet. Nothing gives a fantastic first impression, like being able to sum up your business’s value in 30 seconds.

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