An elevator pitch is a tool many small businesses forget to tuck into their back pocket. Can you imagine sharing a space with someone who holds the power to take your company to the next level, but then missing the opportunity because you couldn’t sell your business well or quickly enough?
Or worse, you said nothing because you felt ill-prepared? You can’t expect to land partners to help get your business booming if you can’t sell yourself and your company. And that is exactly why now is the time to create the perfect elevator pitch for 2022.
What is an Elevator Pitch and Why Do I Need One?
Simply put, an elevator pitch is a 30-second succinct, compelling summary of your business or product. It should include your successes, unique qualities and your target market.
While the name comes from the idea that you should be able to pitch your business in the time needed to ride an elevator, an elevator pitch can be used anywhere.
I mean, what’s the likelihood that you’ll share an elevator with Daymond John of Shark Tank? Pretty slim, I know. But, what about the possibility of running into a local investor or possible future business partner at a networking event? Quite a bit higher, right?
Regardless, the best thing you can do for your company is to have an elevator pitch, or two, ready for when the perfect opportunity presents itself.
The Art of Planning the Pitch
Believe it or not, reflection plays a large role in crafting the perfect pitch. In order to present yourself and your business, you need to be able to talk about both. So what makes for a perfect pitch?
First, determine the goal of your pitch based on the audience. Will it be used to snag a new investor or capture a potential big client? Knowing your audience will determine how you’ll tailor the 30-second speech to them.
Who You Are
How would you describe yourself? When you have 30 seconds to impress, there’s no time to mention your love for singing when trying to recruit investors for your cleaning business — unless you offer a cleaning service that comes with a setlist. Instead, focus on your attention to detail and sense of speed.
What You Do
This is the part where you hone in on what you’re great at. Get into the nitty-gritty. Yes, you clean homes but you also managed to improve the average time it takes to clean a business by 20% without sacrificing quality. Share how that resulted in a 30% boost in clientele. This is the time to brag a bit!
Touch on your unique selling proposition. Call out what makes your product or service unique. In the case of the cleaning company, perhaps you created your own bio-friendly solution that breaks down grime quicker than what’s sold in stores.
Communicating what makes your business stand out from the others is key.
Bring on the Questions
Next, it’s time to engage whoever you’re speaking to with a question. While it may be tempting, avoid the Shark Tank favorite phrase: So are you in? Have a thought-provoking, open-ended question ready for each elevator pitch you create.
By avoiding “yes” or “no” questions, you can turn this pitch into an engaging conversation. Keep in mind, you’ll want to be ready to answer any questions that may come back your way.
Practice Makes Progress
Now that you’ve built out an elevator pitch for each audience, now’s the time to practice putting it all together.
Pretend you are pitching to the perfect customer or investor, and time yourself. It shouldn’t exceed 20-30 seconds, otherwise, you run the risk of losing the person’s interest. Plus, the longer you talk, the more you appear to be taking over the conversation, and that’s far from welcoming.
When working out the kinks in your elevator pitch avoid these 3 killers:
- Speaking fast. You know time is of the essence but talking fast can lose your audience quickly and make it harder for them to understand your message.
- Rambling on. Cut out any extra fluff that’s not adding to the pitch. If you can toss in a sticky phrase or statistic that will stand out then perfect; however, remember to keep the entire pitch short but captivating.
- Sounding or looking disinterested. Practice adding intonation in your phrasing to avoid having a monotonous speaking tone. Also, keep your energy high and confident. If you don’t seem interested in your business, no one else will be.
Because how you deliver your pitch is just as important as what comes out of your mouth, stand in the mirror and practice giving your pitch. If you really want to critique yourself, set up your phone and press record.
Take note of your speed and any hand gestures you currently use or may want to use.
While every conversation isn’t time to put your elevator pitch to use, you should be ready to deliver when the opportunity presents itself.
Thirty seconds to form a connection could be the challenge that takes your business to the next level, so get started on creating the perfect elevator pitch for 2022.