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How To Define & Deliver Your Elevator Pitch

You're at a networking event and the client of your dreams walks in. They glance at the logo embroidered on your custom polo and casually ask "what do you do?". There's never been a better time to deliver your elevator pitch. But wait, you don't have one?

The elevator pitch is a short 30-second pitch that tells someone exactly what you do, how and why you do it. It's a short pre-prepared speech to spark interest in what your company does and convince a potential buyer, investor or partner, to work with you. And just like an elevator ride, your elevator pitch should be short and sweet and open the door to a larger conversation.

The term "elevator pitch" refers to the hypothetical situation where a sales rep gets into an elevator to meet with the client of his dreams and into the elevator walks the CEO, surprising the rep and opening the door to an opportunity. The sales rep has the length of the elevator ride to the corporate tower (a maximum of 30 seconds) to deliver his pitch and convince the CEO to work with him.

While very few elevator pitches actually take place in elevators, the "elevator pitch" is considered an essential item in every entrepreneur's toolkit especially at networking events, trade shows and conferences. Whether you're cold calling, networking or trying to raise funds with investors, a good elevator pitch may be key to your success.

Follow these simple tips to create a memorable and engaging elevator pitch:

1. Take a blank sheet of paper and make four columns

Write Who I am, What I do, Why I do it and Who I do it for. Then, write one compelling sentence for each point.

2. Edit those points

Eliminate any unnecessary or unclear information. Don't assume your prospect knows anything about your business. Remove or edit any information that will take a long time to explain. Remember, you only have a maximum of 30 seconds.

3. Write an attention-grabbing introduction

Tell the listener who you are and what product or service category your business belongs to. You might want to start with a question to engage your prospect and lead them into your story.

4. Put your points in logical order to tell your story

Your elevator pitch at this point might look like:

"Hi, I'm John from Entripy. We print and embroider logos on custom t-shirts for small and large companies and organizations across Canada, helping them to grow their brand presence."

5. Tell them why you are different from the rest

It's great to know that Entripy sells custom t-shirts. But so do many other companies. Tell your prospect why they should buy from you. If Entripy were crafting an elevator pitch, we might say:

"Unlike other screen printing companies, we do all of our printing in-house allowing us to turn around client orders quickly. We have a standard 5-business day turnaround, and that's the fastest in the custom apparel industry."

6. Close the sale

You should summarize your main points and leave the listener with a specific call to action.

"So, Anna, when can we schedule your tour of our facility?"

7. Practice until it's perfect

Be aware of your body language as you talk.

Practice in front of a mirror or ask a colleague to let you practice your pitch on them.