Elevator Pitch: Making a successful pitch

An elevator pitch is named such because it is the time in which you should be able to deliver a presentation about your business to a prospect in the time that an elevator ride would last, typically 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

Many networkers are used to having 30 seconds or so to introduce themselves to a group and so being able to define your business in as few words as possible is great skill to have.

Having a short time constraint can be turned into your advantage rather than looked on as something too difficult to achieve. Remember that the first time you meet someone you are  really trying to capture their attention and get them to remember you and want to know more. You are not going to sign a multi-million dollar deal in just 30 seconds!

The whole purpose of your elevator pitch is therefore to get someone to want to find out more and to like you and your product. Elevator pitches can be used to find customers, at a job interview, fund raising, public relations exercise, or pitching to investors. This article will concentrate on pitches for finding customers but many of the principles apply with some additional ones for other activities.

Here are some tips to help you form your elevator pitch when you are looking for customers.

  1. Be friendly in your approach.
  2. Keep details to a minimum
  3. Briefly describe what you sell.
  4. Show who your market is by briefly stating to whom you are selling. This is especially true at networking events where you may be selling ‘through the room and not to the room’.
  5. Tell something about yourself, your background and achievements when time allows.
  6. Show why people should use you and not your competition.
  7. Practice makes perfect.

It should be possible to get this into as little as 30 seconds but it will take effort in selecting exactly the right words to use. Practice your pitch and continue to change it until you achieve the result you want.

Having a good elevator pitch is something every entrepreneur should perfect and be ready to use whenever he can. You should have several options to allow for different situations. This can be for example one for the opening introductory round that many networking groups have and another for when you happen to meet a potential prospect in a non formal situation. However always stick to the principles of brevity and simplicity so that you can pitch effectively.

Image: Gregory Szarkiewicz / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


9 thoughts on “Elevator Pitch: Making a successful pitch

  1. Good post Roland,

    One mistake I often point out to people is that they mention the things they don’t do before explaining what they actually do. People will generally pick up on the first things said.

  2. One of the things that I have seen quite often is people trying to sell to the room, and this (in my opinion) can have a detrimental effect straightaway on the relationship that you have with that person.
    No one likes to be aggressively sold to, especially in a networking environment when the aim is to build relationships first, and earn trust – with possible leads and sales to follow.
    So an elevator pitch that embraces this philosophy using the points outlined by Roland above has to be the way to go. I suppose your elevator pitch should ideally elicit the response of “How do you do that?”, and then you can elaborate in a non-threatening way.

  3. Very interesting article Roland.

    Being a complete newbie in the networking circles this is something that I am constantly working on. I find it very tricky to say what I do as my services are very varied and tailored to individuals. Some great points here for me to think about before the next Wiltshire Business Meeting!!!

  4. Good article Roland. Having been on the networking circuit myself for some time I always feel for the first timers who are nervous about standing up and because of that they tend to tell the room everything about themselves and their business. This article will give them a good outline to work from.

  5. Thanks Lesley-Anne. Your observations are quite right. It is obviously very nerve wracking for many people when the network for the first time as they often have not had to speak in public before.

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