Knowing how to effectively pitch what you do in 60 seconds or less is an essential skill that you should try to perfect – whether you’re a small business owner, freelancer or on the career ladder.
If someone asks you what you do, how do you respond? Confidently and succinctly explain exactly why you’re so great? Or feel panicked and mumble something unimpressive and unmemorable (and kick yourself later for missing an opportunity)?
Paula Hutchings from Marketing Vision explains why being always-ready with a short explanation of what you do is so important – and how to create the perfect pitch.
Why an elevator pitch is so important
You never know when you may be introduced to someone, or bump into someone helpful at the unlikeliest places, and having a prepared and confident explanation of what you can offer (also known as an ‘elevator pitch’) can make the difference between leaving them with a great impression or memory of you – or no impression at all.
And it’s not just surprise meetings – being able to tell your business or career story in a succinct and engaging way will prove invaluable at networking events, formal presentations, casual coffee meet-ups and when preparing your marketing communications.
You will be asked time over about your business, expertise and the products or services that you offer. As your front PR-person, it’s vital that you can confidently give a concise response, being careful to include your key selling points in a persuasive way (that doesn’t sound rehearsed!).
Perfecting your elevator pitch
Have you ever been unprepared with a snappy response when someone has asked you what you do? Perhaps you blurted out a long, rambling answer and missed your chance to start a meaningful conversation? What a wasted opportunity to promote yourself or your business!
So how do you create your perfect elevator pitch? It’s actually pretty simple. Dedicate some quiet time to jotting down one or two sentences in response to each of the following questions:
- What do you do?
- What problem do you solve?
- How is your product or service unique?
- How can you help me?
If you keep each of your answers brief, your story will total to around 60 seconds. Using this technique, you can be confident that you have included your key selling points plus comfortably be able to deliver an engaging and memorable introduction to your business at any time.
A working example
Let’s look at an example of how this pitch development process might look for an organic farm delivering tasty fruit and vegetable boxes:
- “We are an award-winning organic fruit and vegetable farm delivering only the freshest of produce to homes around the UK. [What do you do?]
- We deliver seasonal, organic goods directly to your door – putting fresh fruit and vegetables on the family table at an affordable price. [What problem do you solve?]
- Our great-tasting, organic produce is grown at regional farms throughout the UK helping us to keep the food miles low, support local farmers and create local employment. We are 20-30% cheaper than the supermarkets and offer our customers convenient one hour delivery slots. [How is your product/service different?]
- Our customers love the convenience of having fresh, seasonal products delivered directly to their door. We are passionate about supporting healthy food choices whilst saving our customers both time and money [How can you help me?]”
Practice makes perfect
Once you are happy with your responses to these key questions, practice saying them out loud. Keep refining them. Practice in front of a mirror, a friend or family member until you are comfortable with your elevator pitch.
It’s important that the response doesn’t sound rehearsed so be careful not to be too rigid when you are talking (or look like you are trying to recall all the points that you want to include!).
But don’t worry, the more you practice, the more natural you will sound – and the more you’ll be ready to confidently grasp any career or business opportunity when it comes along!Paula Hutchings