Refining your elevator pitch
Imagine you’re in an elevator (or ‘lift’ for us Aussies) and the person next to you asks "What do you do for a living?"
You’ve only got 15 seconds or so to answer before the lift doors open and they’re gone. Can you trot out a short description of your business in that timeframe, and in such an engaging manner that they want to know more?
Of course in real life no stranger in a lift is going to turn around and ask what you do for living. If they did, they’d be considered certifiable freaks. (We all know that no one sane could be that friendly and interested in another person).
But there are numerous occasions when you’ll want to grab the interest of another person quickly before they wander off, so here’s how to craft a classy elevator pitch.
Identify the key elements of your elevator pitch
Imagine you’re a natural health practitioner who runs a clinic called Chi-Life Natural Health found in a suburb called ‘Springfield’. Your clients often describe the clinic as a ‘sanctuary’.
"There are numerous occasions when you’ll want to grab the interest of another person quickly before they wander off."
Here are the four key elements of your elevator pitch:
- Choose an emotive word relating to your business, such as ‘sanctuary’
- Identify the products or services your business offers, and its location if that’s relevant. In this case ‘Natural health’ and ‘Springfield’
- Write down what makes your business special. In our clinic’s example, it might be that the services it offers are truly holistic, combining massage and acupuncture with exercise, nutrition and lifestyle advice
- Describe the key benefits your clients gain from doing business with you. For example “We deliver both short and long-term results. Clients leave our clinic feeling that everything is better”
Want more articles like this? Check out the business networking section.
Combine them in a compelling way
“Our clients often call Chi-Life the health sanctuary of Springfield. We’re a little different from other natural health clinics because we’re truly holistic. By combining acupuncture with massage – and taking the time to give diet, exercise and lifestyle advice – we get great health results for both the short and long term. And our clients leave feeling better about everything.”
Key points to remember
- Practice it until it sounds natural
- Avoid jargon
- Make solid points
- End with a benefit
Consider adding a call to action
Say, after your spiel, the other person looks genuinely interested. Give them a reason to get to know you better. No, I don’t mean hitting the alarm button in the elevator to play for more time.
Instead – thinking of the natural health practitioner example – you could say: “We offer free initial 20-minute consultations to talk about what’s going on with your health and how we could help. If you’d like to book one for yourself or know anyone who might be interested, here’s my card…”
Practice makes perfect
Try your elevator pitch out on a variety of unsuspecting, one-degree-of-separation people – preferably those who are your target market (i.e. people you see as your ideal clients or customers), and note their responses. Remember, you’re not limited to those travelling in elevators. You can pitch away while standing in queues, at barbecues, at cocktail parties and – most obviously – business networking functions.
Your elevator pitch is handy for working out your core message and sending it out into the world. So don’t be afraid to milk that baby.
Care to share your elevator pitch with us? Your 15 seconds starts now!