If you want your business to benefit from a constant stream of new clients, investors or fans, you need to know how to flaunt what you’ve got. Today, it’s not enough to simply create a stunning website. The secret weapon? Your elevator pitch. It’s fundamental to the success of every business, from a hi-tech startup to a babysitter looking for clients. You have to know how to sell your brand in a short, clever and enticing speech. Think of it as a quick answer to the question, “What do you do?” phrased in a way that will make any listener excited to learn more about you.
Not sure where to start? We’re here to help! Here’s how to create an elevator pitch that’ll take you to the next professional level – it’s the best minute you can invest in.
To get started, grab your favorite journal, an iPad or a piece of plain old white paper. Then, write down all the words and thoughts that come to mind when you think about your business, the essence of what you do and how you do it. To help get your juices flowing, consider these questions:
While brainstorming ideas, try to recall some memorable success stories. During your pitch, a quick anecdote can have a much stronger impact than facts and numbers. A personal touch tends to stick with people and will help the listener connect to the mission of your business.
Now that you’ve jotted down a million ideas, it’s time to weed through them and find the ones that matter most. You know, those gems that are worth mentioning when you’ve only got 30-60 seconds.
To help you narrow down, think about the real goal of your pitch. Part of your goal is to clearly explain to your listener who you are and what you do, but the listener should also walk away with an understanding of what you want from them. To help you focus on your goal, ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve when I’m telling someone about what I do?” Are you looking for referrals, investors, or donors?
With your goal in mind, go back to your brainstorm and circle ideas that will help support it. These are the most important points, the ones you want to be sure to cover in your elevator speech.
You’ve honed in on the goal of your speech and identified your main points. Now it’s time to create an outline to help you organize your thoughts. Most elevator pitches should include the following:
Start your pitch with an attention grabber. (We’ll explain more in the next step.) Next, you should provide your listener a quick review of your own history and experience, integrated with an explanation of what led you to your current endeavor. Then, in the heart of your speech, cover each of the main points that you zeroed in on in Step Two. Finally, close with a question to engage your listener. This will help them feel more connected to you and your business.
You’re almost ready to start writing, but first you need to find an impressive hook. An awesome opener is what will help your pitch really stand out! Try to think of a juicy detail, a funny story or a memorable client that you can tell about in the opening moment. It can make all the difference in transforming an awkward or mundane exchange into the beginning of a lifelong connection. A good hook will pique your listener’s interest right away and make it clear that you’re worth listening to. What’s more, it should highlight what sets you, your business and your leadership apart.
Now it’s time to write! You know your goal, what you want to say and you have your outline set. The next step is to weave it into a coherent story. This is far different from a resume which plainly lists your achievements. Rather, you want to start with a kicker and then, using natural language, walk the listener through the story of you and your biz. Remember to write the way you speak and steer clear of jargon or techy terms.
Now it’s time to start practicing. The first few times you read the pitch, you want to time yourself. Ideally, it should be well under a minute. If it’s not, then cut it down. Practice in front of your mirror, your cat or your two-year-old. Once you’ve received good feedback from that crowd, try it out on your mother, a good friend or a colleague. Make sure to practice the pitch with people who will give you honest feedback.
The goal is that with enough practice, your speech will sound entirely natural, convincing and (ironically) not scripted. Don’t be afraid to let your emotions and your true self shine through. People are touched when they meet others who love what they do and show genuine passion for their work.
You’re ready to go! Whether it’s at a cocktail party, a networking event, in a loud bar or literally in an elevator, the day will quickly come when it’s time to debut your speech. Sure, the first few times you’ll be nervous, but with enough practice you’ll be nailing it. Mastered that speech? Then you’re ready to go pro!
Once you’ve got the scripted version down, you’ll want to learn how to vary your pitch for different audiences and tailor it towards their interests. Size up this elevator partner of yours: Are they a potential customer, partner or colleague? What about your work would they find compelling? Think how you can add a special flare to spice up your traditional pitch, one that will appeal to this listener in particular.
Once you’re a pro, we recommend creating two versions of the speech. The first version should be under a minute long for a truly brief encounter while in the line at Starbucks. The second version can be three or five minutes, saved for a person who is more likely to stick around. This pitch can be for an interesting guest sitting beside you at a wedding or a new acquaintance at a work-related conference.
Congrats! You’re a pro-pitcher now. If you’ve done a great job with your elevator pitch, your listener will want to know more. So send them on over to your awesome website where you can pitch your business in a very similar way. If you’re looking for even more great ways to market yourself, look no further than right here.
Ready to create the perfect pitch online? Start by create your stunning website today!
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