Top tips for developing your elevator pitch

Elevator pitches aren’t just for people appearing on Shark Tank. Any business owner should be able to describe their business and its goals in around 30 seconds.....

After all, you never know when you’ll need to impress a prospective client or investor, convince a new recruit that your business is the one for them or just help someone understand exactly what it is your company offers (and why you’re the best at it.)

Don’t have your airtight pitch yet? Well, that’s why we’re here to help. Quick and easy, under 10 steps, and cooked up just for you, here is our short guide to “The Elevator Pitch, and you.”

1. Define your goal at the beginning

It’s always best to start off by clearly stating my goals, both for the business and what you’re hoping to get out of the pitch. It helps to get everyone on the same page and put the rest of the pitch into perspective. Be quick (while people are still listening).

2. Say what it is you do

This one may sound obvious, but when you’re trying to squeeze so much into such a short time sometimes the basics – like what your company actually does – can get lost. Make sure you have a quick section on your company’s background and what you do day-to-day.

3. Highlight your specialty

What makes your business different from all the others? Whoever you are pitching to has probably heard dozens, if not hundreds, of elevator pitches before, so if they are going to remember you, both you and your business need to stand out. Highlight the things that make your company different whether it’s your products, the way you work or your impressive client list.

4. Leave them wanting more

An elevator pitch is hopefully just the start of a much longer conversation, so it’s important to leave your audience wanting more. Don’t overwhelm people with lots of little details they won’t remember, give them a broad overview and tease them with a few key facts or stories. If they’re interested they’ll ask questions and voila, the conversation has started. Dangle the bait, wait for them to take the hook.

5. Adapt it for your audience

While most of your pitch will remain the same whoever you’re talking to, like your old college resume, it’s best to personalize it to your audience whenever possible. By outlining the specific benefits you can bring to your audience, you’re giving yourself the best shot of attracting their attention.

6. Stick to the time

Elevator pitches are usually 30 seconds long – the time it takes an elevator to travel through a building. Now, many business owners are passionate about what they do, and can talk about that passion for hours, so it’s important to focus and keep things short. Try actually delivering your pitch and timing it until you are at 30 seconds or under. Do this, and hopefully you’ll leave time for their questions.

7. End strong

When you’ve said your final line, stop and don’t start talking again unless someone asks you a question. If you’re met with a couple of seconds of silence, human nature means giving in to the temptation of rambling or repeating something you said earlier. However, it’s much better to give your audience time to think about what you’ve just said and your silence will act as a prompt for them to respond.

8. Practice, practice, practice

Practice makes perfect and that’s certainly true when it comes to elevator pitches. Memorize it so you don’t have to rely on note cards – after all, you may have to deliver this speech when you least expect! It’s also a good idea to do it for family, friends or colleagues and get their thoughts on how you can improve it.

9. See how people react

No matter how much effort you put into perfecting and practicing your pitch, chances are it won’t be exactly right the first time you do it. Watch your listeners closely to see how they respond and make any adjustments needed ready for next time.

Good luck with your elevator pitch and if you’ve got any tips for other readers, please share them in the comments!