You step into a conversation at a networking event and someone asks that ominous question, “So what do you do?” Anyone who has ever had a business or personal brand knows this question all too well. How do you answer? This is where a good elevator pitch can make all the difference.
But what is this pitch and how can you use it most effectively?
Let’s start off with a solid elevator pitch definition to get us all on the same page…
What is an Elevator Pitch and Why Is it Important?
This is a short, but memorable, summary of yourself and what you do. Since people usually don’t want a long-winded introduction, it’s best to keep it to 30 seconds or less — thus, the time it would take you to take an elevator from one floor to another.
Let’s talk for a second about what it should not be.
This pitch is not used to close deals. It is not a magical phrase that will get you immediately hired. It is not meant to be used on anyone who is already a client.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…
This pitch is used as an introduction to you, your personal brand, and how you help people. It is most often used at networking events when people ask you a question like, “What is it that you do?” or, “Tell me about yourself.” You can use it at other events, conferences, and even job interviews where this kind of question can arise. You might even put your pitch in writing for the introduction of your resume or your LinkedIn profile.
Your pitch should ultimately be warm, friendly, and conversational — not stuffy or pretentious.
A 30-second pitch might seem like a small deal, but it plays an important role in your branding and career. In these 30 seconds, people get a glimpse of your professional aptitude, strengths, and skills.
What can help your pitch to hit all these points and avoid the major pitfalls that others have experienced? Let’s look at the six most important elements to such pitches and how you can do it yourself. And stay tuned to the end of this post for examples of exemplary pitches, worthy of imitation.
6 Crucial Elements to Your Elevator Pitch
1. Who You Are
This is an essential part of your pitch — before you can get into anything else, people need to know who you are and how you fit into the big picture.
This also comes with a word of caution — don’t ramble! Remember, they’re not there for your life story. Keep it to the basics, meaning your role or title, and possibly your brand.
I’m the founder of Pendulum Financial Consulting
2. Your Company
For this part, you need to know all you can about your company, including its values and mission. You won’t use all of this information, but it will help to more effectively form your pitch and adapt it to your audience.
Describe what your company does in a brief, to-the-point way that doesn’t get too detailed. Remember, your listener most likely isn’t in the industry, so skip the jargon. You want this to be as down-to-earth and easy to understand as possible.
Having trouble nailing this part down? I suggest you write down what you would want someone new to know about your brand. Include everything from what makes you different, to the benefits that you bring to your clients and the world around you. Once you have it written down, cut it to the highlights. Boil it down to the most condensed, succinct version and incorporate that into your pitch.
I’m the founder of Pendulum Financial Consulting, a consultancy firm that helps businesses to hunt down ways that they can save money in small, everyday ways.
3. Your Value Proposition
What do you and your brand bring to the table? What sets you apart from other brands in your industry? This is the meat of your pitch — it gets to the point of why people should care and how it affects them.
Invest a chunk of time into this part of your pitch. Write a couple of sentences that delve into why your company is different. Get specific, if possible.
I’m the founder of Pendulum Financial Consulting, a consultancy firm that helps businesses to hunt down ways that they can save money in small, everyday ways. We have over 25 years of experience helping businesses to cut costs in ways that they rarely think of.
4. Attention-Grabbing Statement
This is where you go from reciting mere facts to pulling in your audience. This could be an exciting anecdote, a customer’s experience, or an interesting statistic.
When used correctly, this statement can hook your audience and help them to remember you long after the conversation is over. It might even result in a longer conversation.
I’m the founder of Pendulum Financial Consulting, a consultancy firm that helps small businesses to hunt down ways that they can save money in small, everyday ways. We have over 25 years of experience helping businesses to cut costs in ways that they rarely think of. In fact, we’ve helped clients save on average $10,000 annually — we’ve even helped one small business save as much as $$50,000.
The dreaded “e” word that no one enjoys. Once you have your pitch written out, it’s time to comb through it and make sure it succinctly says what you want. If you notice areas where you ramble, cut it to the essentials.
After editing, you should be down to a few key bullet points. This is perfect — remember, you want to give your listener just enough that he or she wants to learn more. You don’t want to give your whole story in one sitting.
Read your pitch aloud. During your process, ask yourself:
- Does it feel natural?
- Does any part of it come off as stuffy or uptight?
- Is it conversational?
If you feel like your pitch doesn’t quite hit all of these points, then it’s time to rework it until you get the pitch you want.
6. Practice Makes Perfect
Once you get your pitch the way you want it, it’s time to get comfortable with it. As with anything, practice makes perfect.
And practicing aloud is the best way to get a handle on your pitch. It allows you to work out all the kinks, eliminate awkward-sounding words and phrases and replace these with a more natural-sounding rhythm.
Rehearse it and keep tweaking it as many times as it takes until it no longer feels mechanical or rehearsed. You can even test drive it with a few friends or colleagues to get their take on it. If their feedback doesn’t match your goals, go back to the drawing board.
You might even come up with a few different variations, depending on who your audience is. A potential client is going to be different from a potential professional connection — and your pitch should reflect that.
These tips should help you to nail your pitch with the confidence and grace that gets results. Let’s now look at a few examples of effective pitches and why they work so well.
3 Elevator Pitch Examples Worthy of Imitation
1. Show Your Credibility
As an account executive with ABC Enterprises, I have spoken with hundreds of company CEOs who struggle to find their voice and establish themselves as industry thought leaders, despite their expertise I help them to translate their expertise into something tangible that their audience can relate to and establish their industry presence.
What you can imitate:
- Explain what you do for your clients.
- Establish your credibility with your experience.
- Show how you benefit your clients.
2. Use an Attention-Grabbing Statistic
On average, we’ve seen companies who lose out on around $10,000 of potential grant money every year — simply because they’re not familiar with the process. At XYZ Consulting, we help companies to navigate through the complicated grant application process and receive thousands of dollars to help them achieve their business goals.
What you can imitate:
- Hit your audience with an attention-grabbing fact or statistic.
- Show them the benefits your company provides.
3. Keep It Short and Sweet
We began as web designers. While we loved the design aspect of our work, we saw many freelancers and small business owners who couldn’t afford to have professionally designed, responsive websites. That’s why we created EZWebPage, where anyone can literally create a website in minutes.
What you can imitate:
- Make it short and sweet.
- Share the inspiration and origin story for the brand, which humanizes it.
Your elevator pitch has a lot of power. Whether meeting someone at an industry event or networking on an actual elevator, you can capture the person’s attention and build long-term, fruitful business relationships.
This article originally appeared in a slightly different format on MarxCommunications.com.