How to create the perfect elevator pitch for your business
Whatever your strengths in business or marketing, if you are unable to give an excellent elevator pitch you could be missing out on important opportunities.
As an entrepreneur or business leader, you not only need to be across the basics of running your business such as payment processes and customer service, but you also need to be able to sell your business to others.
There are many situations when you need to introduce your product or service in a short amount of time, sometimes even as little as thirty seconds, and still capture the interest of your audience, whether a potential customer, investor or business partner.
Essentially, this is the amount of time you’d have to pitch your business during an elevator (lift) ride, and hence this is known as an “elevator pitch”. And to make the challenge even harder, you may have to give your pitch unexpectedly, without having time to prepare.
In this article we cover some key advice to master this critical skill and deliver the perfect elevator pitch.
Have a goal and a plan
Though you may have to give an elevator pitch on unexpected occasions like a chance encounter with a prospect, it doesn’t have to be crude. You should be well prepared at all times to give your pitch. Prepare you picture in advance, imagining that you have a prospect or potential investor in front of you.
With that in mind, think about the concept, the product or the service and how best to convey it all. Whatever your business and whatever industry you operate in, you have to be clear about what you want to achieve with your pitch. What are your goals? How should you frame your pitch to best achieve those goals?
Present the problem
After introducing yourself in a few words, you should get directly to the point. The best way to start your pitch is to identify a problem your prospect likely has, and which your product addresses.
For instance, you could talk about how the cost of human resources is a significant part of any company’s running expenses, and many find it is getting out of control. A problem statement will grab your prospect’s undivided attention if it relates to their own challenges.
Offer the solution
Now that you have grabbed their attention, you should follow this up immediately by offering the solution. This is the point where you introduce your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) in clear terms. In the example above, you could be offering automation products that can bring down human efforts and ease operations for an organization.
Make sure that you briefly but clearly explain how these help to address the previously-mentioned problem and how they will reduce running costs while making their business more efficient.
Make it focused, brief, and clear
Remember, you have only a short amount of time to express your ideas, so keep your words brief and clear. Avoid rambling and don’t confuse your prospect by using unnecessary jargon. Explain the concept in simple words to hold their interest.
Make it natural
Your prospect has probably met you by chance, while you have already prepared for such chance encounters. However, they should not sense any stiffness in your pitch.
You should be as natural and spontaneous as possible. This will put your prospect at ease, hold their attention and help them see you as an expert in your field by demonstrating you can speak naturally and fluently about your field.
Take note of the response
Once you have conveyed your key message, let your prospect talk. If there is no immediate reply, prompt them with a relevant question. For instance, you may ask, “How do you manage this issue in your organisation?” They may very well open up, though this depends on the previous steps and how well you created an impression.
End with a call to action
End to your elevator pitch with a call to action. Ask permission to give your prospect a quick ring sometime the next week to provide more details, email them with more information, or even set up a meeting in person. And don’t forget to give them your business card!
Practice your elevator pitch until it is perfect. Use a stopwatch to make sure you can deliver it in a short period of time and practice in front of a mirror to catch any flaws.
Consider whether you can convey all the ideas comprehensively and effectively in two or three sentences if someone out of the blue asks you “what do you do?”. If you can’t, more work is needed.
While an elevator pitch should look as if it’s impromptu, it is actually very well prepared. To the listener you may be speaking spontaneously on a chance encounter, but make sure you deliver a pitch perfected through a substantial amount of reflection, planning, and practice ahead of time.