How to write an elevator pitch

How many times have you met someone at a networking event and asked the question “What do you do?” only to be none the wiser after their answer? My ‘problem solving’ brain means I only feel comfortable talking to someone about their business when I understand what they do. If the ‘elevator pitch’ has failed me I often resort to firing off questions until I get it or wondering how quickly I can politely move on.

The ‘elevator pitch’ is your chance to demonstrate in 30 seconds or less what your business is and why it might be of interest to the person you are talking to. It sounds quite straight forward but when you live and breathe something every day it can be hard to describe it from an external perspective.

Your elevator pitch should be interesting, memorable, and succinct.

How to create a great elevator pitch

Answer the question – “What does my business/product/service do?”. Use these additional questions to strengthen your answer:

  • What does that mean? – keep refining your answer until you can describe your business in its simplest terms.
  • What makes your business unique? – highlight why your business is different.
  • Why is it important and to whom? – demonstrate who this is relevant to and why it matters.
  • What problem does it solve? – probably the most important aspect of your elevator pitch. Why should the person you are talking to care?

By the time you’ve worked your way through these questions you should have the bones of your elevator pitch. Read it out loud and time how long it takes you to repeat, you may need to edit it down to make it more succinct and change some of the wording to make it sound more conversationally natural.

Ideally you want to aim to be able to give your elevator pitch in around 30 seconds or less.

Example elevator pitch

Instead of: “I am a marketing consultant“, I might say:

“We help business owners to promote their businesses to raise awareness, attract new customers and increase sales. We help you work out what marketing is needed and once a plan is in place, make that happen, leaving you free to concentrate on running the other areas of your business. 

Unlike other similar companies our approach is straightforward, plain speaking and honest. We don’t do marketing fluff and we give honest advice.  Ultimately this will save you time and money and give a better return on investment.”

End with a question

End your elevator pitch with an open question to engage your audience. For example, “How does your organisation deal with its marketing?”

Practice

Practice your elevator pitch so that it rolls off the tongue without you sounding like a robot. When I first started networking I actually scripted my elevator pitch and learnt it off by heart. This allowed me to get the key points across even if I was nervous. Over time as I became more confident I could adapt and tailor my pitch to my specific audience.

Work on a polished version of your basic elevator pitch which you can then adapt as necessary.

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