You step into an empty elevator, and — just as the doors are about to close — in slips the CEO of a company you’ve been trying to snag a meeting with for the past quarter. What do you do?
Learning the art of the elevator pitch is an absolute must-do for entrepreneurs, public relations specialists, and other corporate or nonprofit spokespeople. When crafted properly, it can be one of your most powerful business development tools, and you’ll be able to use it in almost any environment. An elevator pitch isn’t just useful for cold calls or emails; it will also serve you well at networking events, speaking engagements, and even dinner parties.
What Is an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is a brief and engaging summary of your business that should last roughly 30 to 45 seconds when spoken aloud. Many entrepreneurs feel that they know their elevator pitch, but when pressed they often go too broad or too vague. Your elevator pitch is not a white paper of services. It should capture attention and leave a lasting impression. A succinct, snappy summary of your organization will be much more impactful than a bland listing of services.
When crafting your pitch, focus on these three questions:
- What are your core service offerings?
- What distinguishes your services from others’?
- What are your company’s goals?
But remember, simply rattling off your answers is not enough. You’ll need to weave them together into a compelling, albeit short, story. So what’s the best way whittle your brand story down into an effective elevator pitch? Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Write Down Your Elevator Pitch
This is a simple step that many of us gloss over. Writing down your elevator pitch will help you identify its weak points, allowing you to continue to tweak your messaging until it flows smoothly.
Practice Saying Your Elevator Pitch Out Loud
Once you’ve nailed your messaging on paper, it’s time to take it for a spin in the real world. Practice on everyone and anyone — family members, friends, colleagues. Make sure you’re practicing both on people who know what your business does, and those who do not. Listen to their feedback and incorporate it into your pitch. Explore what doesn’t make sense, what causes hiccups in your story, and what resonates most with your listeners. This input is incredibly valuable and will help you craft an elevator pitch that is enticing and easy to understand.
Tailor Your Elevator Pitch to Your Audience
Although you are writing down and practicing what is essentially a tiny speech, it’s important to remember that your elevator pitch should be flexible based on who is receiving it and where it is being delivered. Your pitch at a cocktail party is going to be very different from the one you present at a professional convention or event. Know your audience and make adjustments. If you find yourself fumbling, return to your practice. Try delivering your pitch to people of different backgrounds or professional levels. This will give you the experience needed to be more flexible on the fly.
We cannot stress this enough: Body language matters! If you seem bored, overworked, or confused, your audience is not likely to take you seriously. Be engaged, look ’em in the eye, crack a few jokes. Remember, an elevator pitch is part of a conversation. It’s not a direct sales pitch.
Still need a boost to help you craft your own elevator pitch? We’ll lead by example:
PRI’s Elevator Pitch
PRI is a digital agency specializing in web and mobile development, with an emphasis on user-driven design. Our team of experts prioritize responsiveness and adaptability, and we pride ourselves in our collaborative problem-solving skills. We don’t just want to create things that look amazing; we want to understand your goals and pain points, and work with you to create exactly what your users want and need. We’ve been around since 1991, and we’ve been told time and again that our attentiveness is what turns our clients (like March of Dimes, MUTTS Comics, the National Fragile X Foundation, and others) into repeat customers.
Elevator pitches are small but mighty, and they can make a world of difference in attracting potential leads and landing new clients. Don’t get caught unawares — write your pitch and start practicing it today!