An elevator pitch or speech is a short, yet powerful description of your business or your work in approximately the time it takes to complete an elevator ride. Here’s how to craft yours.
Done correctly, the elevator pitch is one of the best ways to leave a lasting impact and attract new clients and customers. Here are some tips on creating a terrific elevator pitch.
1. Be descriptive
Saying, “I am an accountant,” can be interpreted any way. The person you are speaking to may conclude that you are a dull bean counter or only deal with drab spreadsheets, but if you say: “I help small businesses manage their finances, so that they can get on with what they’re good at”, then you describe what you do in a way that people can relate to. Describing how and why you make a difference, rather than just offering up a title, will let you assert the image you want to create. Verbs and adjectives rather than nouns, make what you say more memorable.
2. How how you solve problems
While it’s tempting to talk about how brilliant you are, tie your achievements and accomplishments to what your audience cares about. Show people how you are able to solve problems they have, and why you are the perfect solution.
3. Focus on your unique selling points (USP)
When delivering your elevator speech, remember that you have competitors, so what makes you memorable, different and compelling? It could be your approach, methodology, niche markets you service, pricing structures or your customer service. Remember that your USP must indeed be unique – beware of throwing around words like “innovative” or “leading”, if you aren’t.
4. Be clear
Impressive elevator speeches are logical, yet enthusiastic. This is especially important if you tend to shy away from talking about yourself, and end up with an incoherent, jumbled up account of yourself and the business. The person you are speaking to should be able to follow what you are saying, understand why your business or talent matters, as well as the quality of results they can expect. This rational account should be accompanied by passion and energy so it doesn’t sound like you are just repeating it from memory.
5. Be flexible
It’s tempting to fall back on repeating the same phrase, but depending on the situation, you may have to highlight or exclude some details. For instance, if someone challenges you about the value of good hairdressing, you should be able to interject and explain that your clients gain more than just hair colour – they have more confidence in the boardroom. Flexibility will help you think on your feet, and really engage in meaningful conversation.
Your elevator pitch should not stagnate, but be tweaked and adjusted to keep up with your business growth and change. If it stays relevant, vibrant and engaging it will keep working for you.
Puseletso Mompei is a communications consultant and trainer. She offers communications and media training for corporate executives, spokespersons, managers, entrepreneurs, government officials, diplomats, academia and public relations officers. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.kwazicommunications.co.za for more information.