Here’s the thing about writing: it’s always easier to say something with 1,000 words than it is to say the same thing with 10. So it’s no wonder that writing and delivering an elevator pitch is something that even the savviest small business owners struggle with. How do you elegantly balance all the different information that needs to be included? How do you do it without blabbing for too long? How do you hook someone into being on your side and interested in hearing more when you only have 60 seconds or so? Undoubtedly, it’s a big task, and more than anything, trial and error will illuminate what works and what doesn’t for your particular business’ elevator pitch. That said, there are a few points you can things you can do, no matter what your business, audience, or industry, to make your elevator pitch work well.
- Hit all the basics
Just to recap, here are the things your elevator pitch must touch on: who you are, what you do, who your customers are, what you want from the person you’re talking to.
- Forego the jargon
There are plenty of opportunities to get into the details of what you/your business does, but the elevator pitch should really be plain English. It’s such a succinct little speech; if you throw industry jargon in there, you’re going to lose the focus of your audience, whether that’s one person at a networking event, or a room full of potential investors. There’s a time and context for jargon, but the elevator pitch is not it.
- Practice it…a lot
Being truly effective at summing up your business, your customers/clients, and infusing some action into an encounter with someone – and doing all of that in a minute or so – is a skill that merits practicing. So practice. Give your elevator pitch to your husband, your dog, your mirror, your 6-month-old baby. The more you say it, the more natural and effortless and confident it will seem when it really matters – and you should aim for as many chances as possible to convey those qualities.
- Include a call to action
It’s all well and good to be able to briefly summarize your business and clientele for someone, but it’s like that the reason you want them to hear your elevator pitch is because you either want to work with them, or get money from them. That’s the bottom line. So your pitch absolutely needs to include a call to action: tell them – in clear, professional words with positive energy – how you see their role in the business you just described to them. Whether it’s as a client, an investor, a consultant, or an employee, let your audience know what your aim is in the conversation.
- Customize for your audience
Speaking of the people on the receiving end of your elevator pitch, it’s a good idea to tailor your pitch for different kinds of conversations. If you’re talking to a potential client, talk up your services, how this person and their business specifically would benefit from working with you, and try to get them excited about a follow-up meeting. On the other hand, if you’re talking to a room full of potential investors, you want to highlight the value of your company, your potential, and how their support would be fundamental to mutually beneficial growth. All of your “spin-off” pitches will likely look very similar, but it’s the subtle changes that greatly increase their effectiveness in any given situation.