“Don’t just wing it and stumble your way through a rambling, improvised elevator speech the next time you get a chance to speak with an industry influencer. Create and practice your elevator pitches right away – you never know when you’ll run into that next big opportunity.”
It sounds like a commercial – that’s because it partly is. I wrote that as a draft for a Pitcherific addword-campaign, but realised I only had one third of the space to cram words into that type of add. The same basic principle goes when constructing elevator pitches.
The elevator pitch is a metaphor for at short and precise presentation. If you’re pitching an idea it’s all about clarifying the most interesting and important parts: what your target audience is, which need your idea can accommodate, and what the unique product solution to the need is. It’s technically a 30 second value proposition where you, metaphorically, just met your boss in the elevator going up for 30 seconds. The elevator pitch is also commonly known as a sales pitch – a short one, mind you.
A great elevator pitch is more important than your pitch deck, and especially critical to any cold call in business. Depending on your occupation, the elevator pitch is, so to speak, your introduction to capture an investor, a buyer or a potential business partner – or even a highly respected individuals attention. The great elevator pitch gets a meeting, and the major components of the pitch are the hook, the need, the solution and the closure.
Here’s a blueprint:
The Hook: A strong hook consists of you placing a need in your target audience head. If you’re selling and you’re able to position yourself as a consultant and not a sales person, you’ll come off as if youre doing the buyer a favour. If you’re applying for a service-related position (say you’re a service provider), you’ll want to position yourself as a service the employer needs and wants. And if you’re pitching to an investor, you’ll need to come off as interesting to the investor in his or her own unique way: I personally recommend starting with your conclusion, that way you instantly create urgency and a ton of questions leading you to the “how so?”-part:
The Need: Your target audience have a need – which they might not even be aware of – and you have the means to meet this need. Create a simple value proposition, present it in ten seconds. Focus on supply and demand, nothing else. When you’re presenting yourself – in the case of a service provider -, it’s not about communicating facts such as your products backstory or what ideals started you off on it’s path, but instead it’s about what need your service can solve, how- and what kind of value it can create with it’s implementation in your target audience’s field of expertise. If you have examples or specific cases you’ve worked on, include the results from those as a reference to make your pitch as vibrant and relatable as possible.
The Solution: Skimp on the details. This is the one and only time it’s alright to not be precise with details, because it leaves your target open to their imagination and thus more succeptiable to embrace you and your idea or product. You only need to awake an interest in your recipient to the point where the foundation for a further dialogue and potential partnership / cooperation has been created. You can hash out the details afterwards. Instead, present your team, and your direct solution in one sentence. Explain shortly how you would implement your solution, and if possible, in what timespan.
Close it! Be precise and a little aggressive here. Take exactly what you’re offered – do not negotiate. “Lunch-meeting tomorrow at 12?” – Cancel your other appointments and say yes! Or maybe accept that your recipient wasn’t interested, doesn’t have the time or would rather hear you out later. In the latter case, follow up shortly after. According to The Balance it’s recommended to do so within 24 hours-time, or at the latests the next workday (don’t go bothering CEO’s during their weekends).
So, to summarize:
- Do the target audience a favour. Think of yourself as a service that’s willing to go the extra mile to help your potential prospect reach his or her unknown goals.
- Focus on supply and demand, nothing else is important: How does your product solve the buyers need.
- Skimp on the details. Instead, set up a meeting where you can go over the details instead, effectively buying you more time to present your product.
- Don’t be pushy, but take what you’re owed.
The best thing you can do right now, is to figure out what you need to put into your elevator pitch, and then practice it. Instead of looking at your elevator pitch as a win-or-bust situation, look at it like an opportunity for you to learn and improve upon yourself, and to strengthen your message and presentation hereof. Doing just that makes it less dangerous for you to pitch in a Shark Tank-situation where the stakes are higher than at a casual BBQ- or networking event.
Now, if you haven’t already, I suggest you go and try building and practicing your own elevator pitch in the Pitcherific-tool. The pitching tool is specifically designed to help you do this with its video-feature and teleprompter, and the demo comes with an elevator pitch-template for you to practice in.
I hope you found this article usefull, stay tuned next week when I’ll be dissecting the “How to of Networking like a Boss”.
Until next time, Have a pitcherific day!