The following article, written by Andy Flitter of Our Town Apps, describes how to prepare an elevator pitch. If you are considering attending BMN’s “Building business confidence through strong networks” event next week, this article will be of particular benefit to you.
An elevator pitch is an overview of your product, business, service, or other Solution and is just designed to get a conversation started. The length can vary depending on where you are presenting it, but typically you want to be able to present your elevator pitch comfortably, without rushing in under 2 minutes and ideally in around 60-90 seconds.
The point of an elevator pitch isn’t to get into every detail of your product, service or business. Instead, all you want to do and indeed, all you have time to do is make sure your audience understands what you are talking about and what’s in it for them.
It does no good to talk about your product, service or business to others if they don’t get it. The burden is on you to communicate what you do in a way people will understand. As Albert Einstein famously said, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”
Get a Conversation Started:
The purpose of an elevator pitch is NOT to close the deal; it is simply to hook the interest of your audience so that they want to find out more.
Give them just enough information to intrigue and inform without requiring a doctorate degree in your subject area. Don’t try to get too clever, fancy or detailed, if they are interested, they will dig deeper.
Most Effective Elevator Pitches contain a mixture of the following elements:
An effective elevator pitch contains as few words as possible, but no fewer.
Never use acronyms or industry jargon, an effective elevator pitch can be understood by your grandparents, your spouse, and your children.
An effective elevator pitch explains the benefits your product, business, or service provides and how it solves the problem or pain that your audience faces.
An effective elevator pitch explains why you believe your product, business, or service is the best solution to the problem or pain your audience faces.
Where possible, your elevator pitch should be able to be customised to suit the specific concerns and interests of a particular audience. However, every version of an effective elevator pitch conveys the same basic message.
Rather than being to close the deal, the goal of an elevator pitch is to just set the hook. Don’t go into too much detail, your audience should be left curious enough to want to know more and so start a conversation.
7. Call to Action
If you want people to follow up with you, tell them how is best is to do it. It might be during the free networking at the end of an event or by email next week. Let them know.
Conventional wisdom is that you should lead with benefits, as this is most likely to hook someone’s attention quickly, for example:
- “I make it easy for people without green fingers to create beautiful gardens.”
- “I help people get control over their super and retirement planning so they can stop stressing and start enjoying life.”
However another approach is to describe the Pain Points You Remove, everything we do is designed to either increase pleasure or decrease pain. So instead of leading with benefits as stated above, you could share what pain your product, service or business takes away, for example;
- “We do your bookwork so you can stop drowning in paperwork and receipts and focus on your business.”
- “I save marriages by taking care of all the household chores neither partner wants to do but both tend to argue over.”
Another old adage to be aware of is “facts tell but stories sell”.
You don’t have much time but, if you can thread a short story about your product, service or business into your elevator pitch, rather than just a list of facts, it and you are much more likely to be remembered by your audience and it is usually a lot easier and more fun to tell.
Practise your pitch.
I know it may sound silly but you will get a huge benefit from timing and practising your elevator pitch out loud. Do it in front of the mirror or even better, get your partner or kids to listen to it and let you know what they think. That way if you need to add to or shorten it, their feedback can give you pointers to what the best bits are.
General Networking Rules
Make Yourself Memorable:
It is important to understand that you shouldn’t attend business networking nights with the aim of ‘selling’ to the other business owners – it may happen but it should not be your primary focus. That focus should be encouraging these business owners to refer you to their clients and customers.
In one night you might pitch to 30 – 50 people, if they all needed your service that would be great but in reality they probably won’t. However, each of these people probably has 50 – 500 clients or customers of their own that listen to them and their recommendations.
If you make yourself memorable, they are more likely to refer you to these people when asked. So instead of pitching to the 30 – 50 people you meet on the night, imagine you are really pitching to up to 25,000 prospective new customers.
How to Stand Out:
Listen and be attentive to other networkers. When other networkers are doing their pitch, listen and make notes about interesting points. Don’t start checking your phone or talking to others.
At the end of the round if there is time or during free networking periods, seek them out and ask questions. One very good question is to ask them who they think would be the perfect person for you to refer to them.
Each time you give your pitch, speak to the whole group, try and engage each other networker by looking them in the eye as you speak.
Follow Up. Almost no-one follows up with other networkers they have met after an event. Collect cards from everyone you meet and then within 48 hours contact them to say how great it was to meet them and reinforce your commitment to refer them to your customers and clients that might need their services. Email is OK but a handwritten note or card will make you truly memorable.