Exploring the Anatomy of a Successful Elevator Pitch
This article should provide every entrepreneur with insights about 1) what is an elevator pitch, 2) 7 major components of a successful elevator pitch, 3) how to create a successful elevator pitch.
WHAT IS AN ELEVATOR PITCH?
Elevator Pitch: A definition
An Elevator Pitch (or Elevator statement) is a compelling statement or summary that is used to explain to describe a service, a business, an objective or its value proposition. Such a statement is used in situations where one person is trying to convince or persuade the other about something of importance. It is a statement that is meant to grab interest in a short period of span, mostly within 60 seconds. It can also be understood as a concise and well planned/practiced description which a person gives to a business owner/leader/senior executive either to get a job, get a plan okayed or to make investors or customers get curious.
The idea of an ‘elevator pitch’ focuses on a kind of a description or persuasion tactic that can be delivered within the time span of an elevator ride. The term reflects upon an accidental scenario in which a person could be required to pitch in an idea and get registered in the listener’s mind. It is common for many people like sales persons, policy makers, project managers and evangelists to rehearse and use such statements whenever they can get an opportunity.
What an elevator pitch is not
A lot of people confuse elevator pitches with sales pitches. An elevator pitch is definitely not a ‘sales pitch’. A sales pitch is a statement through which a sales person or business owner tries to sell a product or win more customers. However, an elevator pitch is a statement that only aims to put forth an idea and hope that the listener would be impressed by it and would want to know further.
While using an elevator pitch, one must not get caught up in trying to tell how good a product or service is. The pitch must rather be used to explain how you would do your job and run the business.
When to use an elevator pitch
An elevator pitch doesn’t necessarily have to be used by salespersons when they are trying to introduce their products or services but can also be used in other situations and cases. It can be used when:
- One is trying to introduce his/her organization, its goals and how it can help the listener.
- One is trying to sell new ideas to a business owner/CEO or other high-level executives of the company.
- One is trying to get a thought across or trying to get a job by explaining how he/she could be an asset to a company.
7 MAJOR COMPONENTS OF THE PERFECT ELEVATOR PITCH
In order to come up with the perfect and most intriguing elevator pitch, one has to adhere to certain principles and rules. An elevator pitch must move only higher on altitude and should hit its highest mark right at the end. One just cannot afford to sound desperate; however a decent degree of passion must be present in order to make it sound brilliant. If you are someone looking to create a perfect elevator pitch, then don’t forget to include the following given 7 components:
- The Problem – The first step is to try to address the problem of the customer or listener in the simplest way. You must be able to distil it to its shortest form and then try to solve it in not more than a sentence or two. This will make the listener feel that you are concerned and connected and have an insight into what is real. It will showcase your intention and will give you an edge.
- Your solution – Now that you have pointed out to the problem, the next step is to come up with a solution, in the briefest way possible. Describe one of the solutions in a very clear and concise way that is easy to understand and gets registered in the mind of the listener. The solution must be practical, unique and should be stated in not more than 1-2 sentences. The solution that you present could be the highlight of the elevator pitch if stated correctly.
- Target market – Another very important component that must form a part of an elevator pitch in order to make it perfect is that information about your target audience or market. You must be able to talk about which segment of the market you are targeting and how many people are there in the target market. Speak a sentence or two about the same and make sure that each word counts. This will help investors to get an idea of your plan.
- Competition – The listener wants to compare and evaluate you with respect to the other players in the same market. Thus, it is better to address this issue on your own. You will need to describe the key differentiators from your competition out there so that the listener can be convinced that you are trying to come up with a solution that is unique to you. If they like your idea better than that presented by others, they will be inclined to choose you.
- Your team – The listener wants to know who you are working with and who your team is. This is why, it is important that you talk about your team. Tell him/them how you and your team are a business partner and how you share the same vision. Give a reason your combination works brilliantly and how it can help his/their cause. No matter how fantastic your idea is and how unique your solution is, if you don’t have the right people working with you, it’s all probably in vain.
- Financial summary – Give a sales forecast right away to let your audience know that you are serious and want to get right down to business. This will help them know that you know your facts and have done your homework. Knowing the expense budget, and profit expectations will incline them towards your idea a little more and will give you a boost. A detailed forecast is not necessary; just give an assumption or a number that you aim to reach and can through your ideas.
- Milestones – The next step is to talk about your goals and how you plan to reach each. By doing so, the audience will begin to understand that you already have everything planned out for you and are already on the path of reaching your objectives. If you have already accomplished a few of the milestones, then do make sure that you talk about them in brief.
HOW TO CREATE A SUCCESSFUL ELEVATOR PITCH
An elevator pitch can surely be spontaneous, but it is always better to have it created and prepared in advance so that you can pitch it to your audience whenever you bump into them or get the opportunity. Creating an elevator pitch is not a matter to be taken lightly. You must pay enough attention to each of its sentence, parts, and details. Besides creating it, you must have it well practiced and rehearsed so that you don’t fumble in that 60 seconds you get to deliver it neatly. So here’s how you can create a compelling elevator pitch considering to include 7 components described above:
- Define your objective – One of the first things that you will need to keep in mind to create a compelling elevator pitch is to identify and know your goals and objectives. Start by thinking about why you are creating the pitch and what do you aim to achieve it. The goal depends upon your position and who your audience is. For example, if you are a business company who wants to communicate with clients, then you must aim to achieve that but if you are an employee who wants to sell a business idea to the CEO, then you must work accordingly and so on.
- Describe what you do – The audience probably doesn’t know you or about you and hence you must always start your pitch by explaining who you are, what organization you work for and what is it that you and your organization do. Lay stress on the problem that you solve and the kind of audience you cater to. Add stats and facts to make your pitch more real and strong. The pitch must be able to excite you because if it doesn’t excite you, how will it excite the audience? The pitch must create a clear image about you and your goals in the minds of the listeners within that one minute.
- Pitch your USP – It is very important for you to state your Unique Selling Point or USP in the elevator pitch. For communicating this very fact, you must first know what your USP is. Sit down and think about how you or your organization is different from the others and why a customer must buy from you and not your competitors. Be honest and try to identify why you are so unique. When you come up with something, add that in the pitch in the most compelling way. Your USP must immediately draw the attention of your audience and make them know more about you.
- Engage your audience – If your pitch is not engaging and interactive, the audience will probably lose interest right through it. The best way to make anything interactive and engaging is to include a question or give something to your audience to think about. Prepare one or a few open-ended questions that can be answered in a simple yes or no. This will involve the customers in a conversation and keep their interest hooked.
- Summarize – Now that you have created a few sections and parts in your pitch, the next step for you is to put it all together and summarize it. Bring each part together and link it all, before you state your final statement. Read it aloud when you are done and try to analyze what is missing and whether it is well connected or not. The entire speech or pitch must not be longer than 60 seconds. If it is too long, then the audience will lose interest and may not even listen till the end of it.
- Practice – In order to deliver the pitch in the finest way and without any errors, it is important to practice it several times before you deliver it. Remember, that practice makes perfect. Practice in front of the mirror many times and say it with confidence. Mean every word you say and pay attention that you are neither too fast nor too slow. Bring in passion and make it compelling and convincing. If you aren’t able to practice on your own, take help of a friend and ask him to point out the weaknesses so that you can perfect it before delivering it.
Some Effective Tips and Suggestions
While you prepare and train your elevator pitch consider some tips to make it perfect:
- Be natural – One of the most effective tips you can follow in order to create that perfect pitch is to remain natural and real. You don’t want to sound like a pre-recorded machine or program. You must show passion however also show restraint to not sound desperate. Relax as by getting nervous, you will fumble and stumble.
- Be honest – One of the most important tips that can help you make a good elevator pitch is to remain as honest as possible. Never communicate any detail that is not true. Sometimes, in order to make the pitch more compelling, people tend to cheat and be dishonest but you must always avoid that.
- Have a call to action – Every elevator pitch is stated for a reason and to make your objective successful, you must have some call to action. Give the audience information about how they can contact you, buy the product, invest in your idea or become a part of what you are offering.
- Leave them wanting more – Elevator pitches are not meant to be over detailed. You must frame yours in such a way that there is still scope left for your audience to know more. In the end, they must be left intrigued and wanting more. Keep some and hold some.
Six questions an elevator pitch must answer
1. What is your product or service?
The first question that your elevator pitch must definitely answer is what exactly your product or service is and how can it serve the audience. You must briefly explain about the product or services offered along with their uses and USP.
2. Who is your market?
The elevator pitch must also focus on what the market or target audience of your business is. For example, if you cater to young people, then you must briefly mention that in your pitch to make it clearer.
3. Who is your competition?
Another question that an elevator pitch must answer is who your competition is. If you think that you don’t have any competition, then think again and be honest. The audience will appreciate if you are willing to name your competitors.
4. What is the competitive advantage of your company?
By giving what your specialty / competitive advantage is and how this specialty is unique and better than that offered by others, you will be able to establish a better elevator pitch. This will help your audience know why they must opt for you rather than the others.
5. Who is behind the company?
You have to present a background for the audiences so that they are better able to relate to you. Name your organization or your business partner and list a few of your achieved milestones or accomplishments.
6. What is your revenue model?
Tell your audiences how you plan to make money and achieve your desired profit goals or sales figures.
Four laws of an excellent elevator pitch
- Law 1 – Short: In order to create an excellent elevator pitch, you must make sure that it does not go on and on until the audience totally loses interest and dismisses you in their minds. The elevator pitch must be strong, short and concise. You must be able to say a lot in just a few words. Of course, being able to achieve this takes time, practice and sometimes even a few rejections. You must be able to communicate whatever you have in mind for not more than 1 minute.
- Law 2 – Easy To Understand: Another thing that you want to do while delivering the pitch is to confuse the audience. The second they get confused, they won’t be able to understand whatever follows. So make your pitch as easy to understand as possible and go from one point to another by breaking down ideas and statements.
- Law 3 – Greed Inducing: Your investors want to make money, and if you give them a way to make a lot of it, they will definitely be attracted to your idea. So make your pitch as greed inducing as possible.
- Law 4 – Irrefutable: At the end of your elevator pitch or that one minute, the audience must just not be able to say no to you. Your elevator pitch must be irrefutable for anyone who listens to it.