Elevator pitches are tough to nail down. You have to fit a lot of important information about who you are and what you do into around 30 seconds. And you have to make those 30 seconds memorable. “The goal is to earn a second conversation, not to convince the person you're talking to they should hire you or buy your solution,” says Aja Frost, writing for HubSpot. The good news is, once you have your elevator pitch down, you can use it in numerous business situations. These situations range from cold calls to talking with strangers at networking events.
Frost implores sales reps to remember that, “An elevator pitch is never an opportunity to close a deal. It's an opportunity to close more of your prospect's attention and time. It's a quick introduction to you, your company, and how you can help your prospect.” Here are four good steps to crafting the perfect elevator pitch, according to Frost:
- Introduce Yourself
- Introduce Your Company
- Highlight a Value Proposition
- Grab the Listener’s Attention
The 4 Steps to Crafting the Perfect Elevator Pitch
You need to introduce yourself to the other person before you launch into your elevator pitch. Remember to keep it short, though. Frost says that sales reps have a destructive habit of talking about themselves for too long during introductions. The person who has never talked with you before doesn’t care enough yet to learn more than the basics. Stick to your name, job title, and who you work for. (And maybe throw in how long you’ve held the title if it’s a high number.) If you impress the person with the rest of your pitch, they’ll want to learn more about you later. Just be patient.
Introduce Your Company
The introduction of the company you work for is a different story. Most companies don’t have names long enough to encompass all of the products and services they provide. So, unless your company is extremely well-known, the person you’re speaking with won’t know what your company does by name alone. After your personal introduction, give a brief explanation of what your company specializes in. For example, "We develop shopping apps." Again, don’t get too detailed this early in your elevator pitch. People care more about what companies can do for them than what the company does in general.
Highlight a Value Proposition
Now is the time to pique the person’s interest by giving a broad example of how your company could help theirs. The best way to go about highlighting value propositions in an elevator pitch is to talk about what your company does for its current clients. Continuing on the earlier example of the shopping app company, say something like, "Supermarkets that have signed up to use our technology find it easy to deploy." No matter what you choose to say, make sure it spotlights how your company stands out from your competition and the value you provide.
Grab the Listener’s Attention
Once your listener is paying attention, your next job is to secure a meeting. You can do this by offering irresistible details in your elevator pitch:
- Use an impressive statistic. Whether the person you’re talking to is an analytical thinker or not, people tend to be more trusting of claims backed by data, especially percentages. If your company regularly conducts research about your product or service’s outcomes, this is your time to shine. You could say, “On average, we're able to help supermarkets increase sales by 5% when their shoppers use our app. Make sure to use a positive statistic and wording. Even if you use an example such as, “Only 15% of our clients have not experienced savings after working with us,” you’re still highlighting negative outcomes. Instead, focus on the 85% of your clients who did see results.
- Spotlight a specific client’s experience. People value other shoppers’ reviews online for a reason. They want to know how real people are benefitting from products and services, not just what the company itself brags about. Frost gives this example for how to utilize customer stories in an elevator pitch: “Siena Rosen, a marketer at Dunder Mifflin, used to spend 30 minutes per day manually creating reports. Now that she uses AnswerASAP, that's gone down to four minutes. She's making twice as many reports in less time. Our tool helps marketers like Siena answer any question on their mind (or their boss's) nearly instantly. If you're curious, I can explain more.”
- Incorporate humor. Telling jokes during your elevator pitch can make you seem more human and make your pitch more memorable. Be sure to connect your joke directly with your product or service. Frost gives the example of, “How many marketers does it take to do monthly reporting? None if they've automated the process with AnswerASAP.”