The concept of an “elevator pitch” is well established in the marketplace and in the venture and entrepreneurial community as well. The object being to summarize your venture into 30-45 seconds or less, the approximate time it takes for an elevator to climb 10 floors.
There are many different aspects to an elevator pitch like: style content, length, tone and usage. In general, your pitch should cover:
- What do you do for a living?
- What is the benefit of the product or service you sell? What problem(s) do you solve?
- How is yours superior to others? Differentiate yourself from the crowd.
With multiple resources already available to you on how to deliver a successful pitch, I will focus here on 3 common attributes of a successful elevator pitch.
What is the purpose of a pitch in the first place? Why does it have to be so short? As you network and pitch your business, products or services, you need a quick way to convey what it is you do as well as the benefits of what you have to offer. The effort involved in creating your pitch also helps you focus on your messaging to promote and support your products as well as your brand.
Be Concise and Practice, Practice, Practice
It is important to be concise in your pitch. Remember that you need to capitalize on any and all opportunities to make a solid first impression. In order to achieve the required brevity, you must prepare your message beforehand; improvising on the fly in the elevator will not likely yield a high-quality result in the allotted time-frame.
A practiced pitch will come of more confident and will give the kind of first impression you need and want to make on any new prospects. Another aspect to consider when composing and condensing your pitch is word economy. What I mean by that is, get your point across in the least amount of words possible. Extra, superfluous information should be avoided at all costs. In an elevator pitch, the truism, “less is more” really is true.
Finally, in order to ensure that you can deliver your elevator pitch smoothly, fluently and successfully in the time that you have, you need to practice, practice and then practice some more. The more times you give your elevator pitch, yes even in front of a mirror, with colleagues and friends, the more fluid and comfortable you will become with it. Confidence and brevity are the key ingredients.
Sharpen Your Point by Being Crystal Clear
The next discipline for a successful pitch is clarity. The goal is to be crystal clear when you speak about your venture. The more complicated, difficult or new the approach of the venture, the more work you need to do up-front to ensure the clarity of your pitch. You won’t have the time to delve too deeply into esoteric concepts and theories; save those for your follow up meeting.
How do you simplify complicated concepts? Anything that requires a significant amount of clarification or explanation needs to be distilled down to its bare essence to be easily and readily understandable. This doesn’t mean that you should water down or dilute the core value proposition for your venture, just take a little extra time to determine how best to express your unique value propositions with more conventional models, examples or relatable concepts. The key to clarity is to ensure that your pitch is easily, readily and quickly understood by the recipient – that’s the bar to judge clarity.
The goal of your pitch should be to illicit an “Aha!”, “Eureka!”, or “Got it” moment from the listener. When you see the look their eye that they understand your concept and are on the same page with you, you know you are on the right track. Knowing what to say to get that response will make a world of difference in your venture’s perceived value and increase the rate of success of your sales efforts in the market.
Become a Fantastic Storyteller
One of the keys to a good elevator pitch is to tell a great story. Your elevator pitch’s success rate will substantially increase if you can leave your recipient with a compelling story. The reason for this is fairly simple, after your initial pitch, you won’t be present every time your concept is discussed or evaluated, but your story will. Your story remains behind long after you’ve left.
Your story not only helps others understand what you’re doing, but it also helps them recall your concept and company in future discussions. Who doesn’t like to hear or tell a good story? A compelling story is more likely to be shared by others and, in the venture world, that word- of-mouth advertising is priceless.
Ideally, your story will have a beginning: customer pain, the middle: your venture’s solution, and an ending: the revenue/market value of your solution. A clear, concise and compelling story has the power to make your concept and your company resonate with your audience. A strong story can make the difference between getting funded and still waiting for a call back. For more information of storytelling, read this fantastic article – Stone Age Marketing: Storytelling Strategies From SXSW, by Cheryl Conner.
Elevator pitches, like all great things, are part art and part science. If even one of the tips mentioned here enables you to more effectively deliver your pitch then it may help you close that next critical customer or funding round.
Need help constructing the irresistible pitch – drop me a note – I’m happy to provide advice and guidance. I welcome your comments, feedback and insights! Please read and share all the blogs on my website LeadingVentures.com here.
About this blog – The goal of this blog is to share my experiences, to capture and reveal valuable insights, and to draw from my serial entrepreneur-ship through 7 ventures over the past 20 years. I have encountered many impressive entrepreneurs along the way and I hope to share our collective experience with you to help teach and perhaps motivate you to launch your own B2B or B2C enterprise.
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