An elevator pitch is a term that describes the brief presentation of an idea. Typically, these pitches last anywhere between thirty seconds to two minutes.
Why so quick?
The goal of an elevator pitch is to enable the listener to quickly understand the foundations of the idea and entice them to hear more about it.
Elevator pitches usually try to address the following three points:
- Who the idea is for
- Why it’s needed
- How it will get done
Several origin stories explain how the phrase “elevator pitch” came to be. Many are based on young and eager employees struggling to pin a senior member of staff down for long enough to discuss an idea of theirs. Subsequently, they found a way to pitch their ideas, express their concerns, or propose a change within a short period of time—in the span of an elevator ride.
Why an Elevator Pitch is Important
Elevator pitches are a vital part of broader pitching strategies. Most entrepreneurs looking for investors or collaborators use an elevator pitch to get their foot in the door. So, having one prepared and at the forefront of your mind is an absolute must. That way, when the opportunity arises to speak to a CEO or investor (whether briefly or not), you’re prepared to talk about your upcoming project.
An elevator pitch isn’t necessarily attempting to sell an idea, and the speaker and listener don’t always have a buyer-seller relationship. The aim is to merely create enough interest so that they want to know more about your idea or company.
Tips to Create a Strong Elevator Pitch
If you want to prepare a successful elevator pitch, there are a few critical aspects to bear in mind:
- Capture Their Attention: Introduce yourself and your chief credentials. This helps to establish you as a person worth listening to. The start of a conversation should be used to kickstart a relationship. If you’ve researched the individual you’re speaking to, you can gain a rapport from the get-go by referring to something you have in common. Or drawing attention to your awareness about their company history should do the trick.
- Highlighting the Key Points of Your Product or Service: You don’t need to go into detail. There are no non-disclosure agreements signed during an elevator pitch, so the meat and potatoes of your ideas should be retained for a more extended discussion. Simply explain enough to express the core values and benefits of your plan.
- Be Positive, Enthusiastic & Polite: An elevator pitch must come across as natural, confident, and comfortable. You don’t want to sound pushy or nervous, but rather as though you’re striking up a natural conversation. After all, you’re making use of an unexpected opportunity, so avoid sounding rehearsed.
How to Prepare Your Elevator Pitch
Below are a few tips on how to prepare for an elevator pitch:
- Practice! Time yourself in the mirror and present your pitch to friends, family, and anyone else who’s willing to listen.
- Keep it Under One Minute: Be prepared to cut it down if you have to, so if you have a moment of someone’s time, you’ll be able to cut right to the chase.
- Know the Subject Inside-Out: A good elevator pitch is a testament to the fact that an entrepreneur knows their idea well enough to condense it to its most essential points. You should be able to answer questions when they arise and be prepared to demonstrate your expertise if given a chance.
- Know Your Market: Research your buyer persona(s) and establish how your product(s) and/or service(s) benefit both the people you’re pitching too and your intended customers. Research common problems your consumers face and how your service provides a solution.
Keep testing and tweaking your pitch. If at first it doesn’t succeed, learn from that experience, and keep trying. Elevator pitches are supposed to be natural and conversational, so they’ll be a little different every time you present one. To make the most of this sales technique, you’ll need to become comfortable with pitching yourself and your idea in any situation that presents itself.