What is an elevator pitch and is it something you should care about?
Absolutely. A good elevator pitch can be the difference between you getting a job or signing a new customer.
Unfortunately, the 30 seconds that follows “What do you do?” is one of the most commonly wasted marketing opportunities.
The retort is almost always self-focused, unclear and often nonsensical.
This is where many people reply with the most high sounding title they can get away with, as they feel the inquirer’s judgment of their worth will depend on the answer.
“I’m a waste management technician”, says the janitor.
While it’s true many shallow people judge a person’s worth by their job title or line of business, there’s a much better way to respond to this question. A way that doesn’t require you to raid a thesaurus in order to inflate or obfuscate what you really do.
As a business owner, being able to succinctly convey what problem you solve is a real art, especially if you are in a business that is complex.
What Is An Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is a succinct, well-rehearsed summary of your business and it’s value proposition. It should be delivered in the time span of an elevator ride, so roughly 30-90 seconds.
The elevator pitch is a powerful opportunity to convey your marketing message on a regular basis and in many different settings.
So at networking events, on Zoom calls, in the about section of your LinkedIn profile.
“What do you do?” is the perfect queue to deliver your “elevator pitch”.
Obviously you don’t want to come across as a pushy, obnoxious salesperson, so it’s important to structure your elevator pitch properly.
Need help crafting your elevator pitch. Check out these tips for writing better copy.
Pitching Your Elevator Speech - Why Most Fail
The problem with most elevator pitches is the same problem as overinflated job titles. It leaves the recipient confused or thinking “what a douchebag”, rather than the intended effect of impressing them.
I once asked a lady what she did for a living to which she replied, “I’m a senior event builder”. None the wiser about what she did, I continued probing until I finally came to understand that she arranges seating for concerts and large events in stadiums.
Bad marketing is highly product and self-focused.
Good marketing, especially direct response marketing is always customer and problem/solution focused.
And that’s exactly how we want our elevator pitch to be. We want to be remembered for what problem we solve rather than for some impressive but incomprehensible title or business.
When do you pitch your elevator speech?
You want to get comfortable with pitching yourself. So I’d encourage you to use your elevator pitch in any of these scenarios.
As a business owner, you might use your pitch when engaging with leads on LinkedIn, or networking at an industry event, even on your company website.
An effective elevator pitch can help you close a deal. For example, say you’re selling a course, but your prospect is worried about the cost. You want to demonstrate the value your course offers. So while it might be $497, they could potentially reap their investment within the first three months. Everything thereafter is pure profit.
As a job hunter, you could use your pitch on your resume, during a job interview, or on your LinkedIn profile. Many organizations and recruiters now use LinkedIn to hunt for new employees. By clearly conveying why you’re the best fit for their organization you could receive job offers without having to put any effort into the process.
DO YOU WANT TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS RAPIDLY?
A Good Elevator Pitch Structure
While this is an oversimplification, good marketing takes the structure of:
Your elevator pitch should be no different.
So how do you effectively communicate these three components in the space of 30 or so seconds?
3 Helpful Elevator Pitch Examples
The best formula I’ve found to date is:
You know [problem]? Well what we do is [solution]. In fact [proof].
Here’s a three strong elevator pitch examples:
Example 1: Insurance Sales
“You know how most people rarely review their insurance coverage when their circumstances change?
Well, what I do is help people have peace of mind by ensuring their insurance cover always matches their current circumstances.
In fact just last week a client of mine was robbed, but he was able to recover the full cost of the items he’d lost because his insurance coverage was up to date.
Example 2: Electrical Engineering
“You know when there are power outages that bring down critical systems in large businesses?
Well, what I do is install backup power systems for companies that rely on having a continual supply of power for their operations.
In fact, I installed the system at XYZ Bank which has resulted in them having 100% uptime since the system was installed.
Example 3: Website Development
“You know how most company websites are out of date?
Well, what I do is install software that makes it easy for people to update their own websites, without the need to pay a web designer each time.
In fact, I installed the software for one of my clients recently and they saved $2000 a year in web development costs.
This gives you a reliable formula to craft your elevator pitch while being customer/problem focused rather you/product focused.
My Best Elevator Pitch Tips
- Keep it short and succinct. So often my clients will send their best attempt at an elevator pitch, and it’s always too long. Remember, no more than three sentences.
- Be clear. Don’t assume that your audience understands what you’re talking about. So avoid jargon-fueled language.
- Use persuasive language. Think of this as a sales pitch. What major achievements have you earned over your career? What could you say that would excite the person you’re speaking to. Numbers are always compelling so don’t be scared to throw in an impressive achievement. It could be you saved a company a million dollars in tax or you wrote an article that was featured in Forbes magazine.
- Write it down and practice it until you can say it in your sleep. Seems obvious, and yet, I’ve listened to more than one professional stumble through their elevator speech. This is not the time to ramble.
- Use the formula: problem, solution, proof.