Imagine you have just finished the better part of a year completing an app for your brand new startup. You find yourself looking for additional funding to begin your promotional strategy but find that it is difficult to secure an investment. While at the bank you hop on the elevator and realize that you are standing next to one of the most prominent bloggers of your industry. Just one write-up from this blogger could do wonders in getting your app noticed. You eagerly go ahead and make an introduction. This is the critical moment in which the next 30 seconds can determine whether or not you can convert this chance encounter into a fruitful opportunity. Thankfully you spent the time and effort to craft an effective elevator pitch.
“This type of pitch can be effective in creating an opportunity for further discussion or a follow up at a later date.”
An elevator pitch is a brief summary that marketers and business owners can use to explain their products and or services to others in the time it takes to ride the elevator, or about 30 seconds. Typically elevator pitches are used when meeting someone of influence for the first time. Regardless of whether you truly limited on time, this type of pitch can be effective in creating an opportunity for further discussion or a follow up at a later date. It is important to plan ahead and rehearse your elevator pitch so you are ready should the opportunity arise.
30 seconds is not a lot of time to do a comprehensive briefing, and likewise not a lot of time for the listener to absorb more than 2-3 key takeaways. Focus on calling out one key item and reinforcing that message.
If you did a good job pitching your listener and they appeared receptive, then you may receive a follow up action performed by the listener at a later date. A follow up action may be going to a website or a specific page, following you on social media, sending an email, etc. Have the action you want the listener to take pre-planned well thought out ahead of time; make it easy and effortless.
It is important to understand who might be listening to your elevator pitch. Understanding your target audience can aid you in choosing what to say and how to make it highly relevant for the listener. Ask yourself some of these questions when preparing your elevator pitch.
You should probably know a lot about your own business at this point, however it is equally important to understand your competitors and why someone should choose you over them. Have several key competitive advantages ready to go especially if asked. Be sure to work in at least 1 or 2 competitive advantages into your pitch. Examples may include: lower price, higher quality, unique specific features, etc.
Be sure to setup at least one point of contact so that your listener can follow up. Nothing would be worse than an intrigued listener who later finds a broken link or undeliverable email address. Explain very clearly how someone might follow up should they choose to do so. Consider handing out a business card or directly mention your website or social media profile should they want to discuss further.
Optimize delivery of your personal introduction by keeping it short but on point. Explain who you are and consider explaining how you know of them or why you are initiating the conversation if appropriate.
Make your pitch as natural sounding as possible. Try your best to sound conversational and unscripted; you don’t want to come across as a robot. Your pitch does not have to be word for word. It can be loose and adaptive and yet cover all the main points. Better to create a bullet point outline of your pitch then type it out word for word if you are comfortable with method. Also, remember to talk slowly and calmly; you planned for a quick conversation so no need to rush to fit it all in.
Your pitch should spark interest. Don’t be too quick to reveal the best part right at the beginning. Your goal should be to leave the listener wanting more information. There are many ways to spark interest and this is the point where you might want to get creative.
Be sure to include a clear and well defined call to action in your elevator pitch. This will stick with your listener and let them know exactly what you want them to do should they find your pitch interesting. Here is where you should connect what you want them to do with your point of contact.
Your listener may be extremely busy or get pitched frequently. You need to build a lasting impression by stand out from the crowd. There is no set rule here so try to get creative. Here are 2 ways of building an effective hook.
It is very important to engage with your listener on a conversational level. You will end up doing most of the talking, but you want to draw them in and make them feel like they are part of the conversation. This not only keeps the conversation from feeling like a pitch, but can allow you to determine their level of interest. You may also uncover information that is helpful to you.
It is important to come across as confident even though you may be sweating it from start to finish. Practicing your pitch while being mindful of your body language and presentation style will go a long way towards conveying confidence and building trust.
When your pitch is done don’t be afraid to thank them, say your goodbyes and confidently make your exit. They are busy and you are too. Hanging around afterwards could end up damaging your effort buy making you appear desperate or overly aggressive. Let them make the next move to either keep you talking or to follow up with you at a later date.
Don’t make any fast movements with any part of your body including your walking speed. By slowing down your movements you will appear cool and collected with an air of confidence even if you are extremely nervous.
Only shake hands if the listener appears fully engaged and receptive. You may have caught them off guard or at an inopportune moment. Don’t make them go out of their way or to be uncomfortable themselves. A good way to tell whether to go in for the handshake is to observe whether they are smiling at you or not.
Be sure to rehearse your pitch several times over the course of a week to get started. This will help you make a natural delivery. Consider using a mirror and observe your own body language. Pay careful attention to your gestures which should include some hand motion, but not too much. Practice making eye contact with yourself throughout your pitch.
It’s easy to miss potential issues with your pitch delivery. Consider recording your pitch and playing it back so you can look for those additional things you might be able to improve. Be sure to take note of these things:
It is a good idea to test your elevator pitch on others to get constructive criticism. Be wary of testing on close friends or relatives because you are bound to get some biases. You might even consider hiring a consultant. Online forums are also great places to get feedback. Consider going to a trade show or industry event and test your pitch on as many people as possible; This will help you perfect your pitch in a short period of time.
Include a few good positive words that build and convey trust. A few examples of trust words include: accurate, integrity, lifetime, tested, official, secure
You maybe thinking that this is an awful lot of work to create a 30 second pitch that you may give once in a blue moon. All businesses,especially young ones need to capitalize on opportunities. Once chance encounter may take your business in a whole new direction. It’s worth planning ahead and getting it right especially if so little can effect so much. I assure you regardless of the outcome you will find value in this exercise. Your elevator pitch strategy will carry over into other marketing efforts especially when trying to describe your business or product to others directly or in marketing media.