Creating a Successful Elevator Pitch

For a long time, I really didn’t like the expression “elevator pitch.” It just drove me crazy. Then everybody started using it all over the world and it has become part of the language of business. The “elevator pitch” metaphor developed out of the hypothetical situation that you are literally in an elevator with one minute or less to say who you are and what you do. What would you say? And that becomes your elevator pitch.

It is important to remember that this is not a sales pitch. It is a creative and succinct way to generate interest in the listener about your business.

These are my seven rules for creating an engaging elevator pitch.

1. Don’t do your elevator pitch in an actual elevator.

An unsolicited pitch in an elevator is basically face-to-face cold calling, and very uncomfortable for the one receiving it. I’ve been a victim. Don’t be a perpetrator. Unless someone asks you what you do, simply say “hello” or “good day” to them. The elevator pitch is meant to be utilized outside of the elevator and in the proper environment.

2. Make it compact and real.

It needs to be short. This is a quick pitch; you’re not reading from War and Peace. Your pitch should be more like a work of art than a science project. Make it succinct and expressive; something you practice carefully, and present professionally and cohesively. You also need to be natural. You want to rehearse, so that you are authentic and can talk without sounding rehearsed.

3. K.I.S.S.

Keep it simple. Don’t try to explain everything you do in the very short amount of time you have. It will either be too much information (which goes against rule number two) or too vague to be of any value. By keeping your elevator pitch simple, you have a better chance to catch the listener’s attention, engage them with your creativity, and create interest in your products or services.

4. Avoid using jargon.

Be aware of speaking “your work” language – industry terms or acronyms that you regularly use as a professional with others in your industry. At any point while you’re talking, if someone has to say, “What does that mean?” you have officially lost them. Push the button for the next floor and exit now. (I know, you’re not actually on an elevator, but you really have lost them because they are not understanding you.)

5. Share your USP.

Your USP is your Unique Selling Proposition. It is a brief summary of your business that helps others understand the value of what you do. One example of how to craft a concise USP is to alter a bland, general statement such as, “I’m a coach and consultant.” to something like this instead, “I help people work less, make more, and create referrals for life.” This is short, powerful, and informative. It is the perfect combination for part of an effective elevator pitch.

6. Start with the benefits.

My friend, communications expert Andy Bounds, calls this “the afters.” For your elevator pitch, this could be something as simple as, “I help people increase their sales by 33%.” or “I help people double the number of new clients they take on per month.” You want to focus on the benefits to the client “after” the product or service you provide, which invites conversation about how you do that.

7. Pass the eyebrow test.

Another good friend of mine, Sam Horn, author of Talking on Eggshells: Soft Skills for Hard Conversations, and Someday is Not a Day of the Week, writes about the “eyebrow test.” If what you say to someone causes their eyebrows to go up, you’ve got their attention! You’ve left the listener wanting more, and that’s precisely what you want to accomplish. On the other hand, if the listener’s eyebrows scrunch down, you’ve just confused them. Find a new pitch.

A successful elevator pitch is a clear and concise message that communicates who you are, what you do, and how you can help others. It should be memorable and easy to understand so that people can easily refer you to potential clients or customers.

When you attend networking, business, and even casual events, introduce yourself to others using your elevator pitch. This will help them remember you and what you do. 

I’d like to hear about your elevator pitch. Share it below, thanks!




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