Ah, the elevator pitch, that pithy no-more-than-sixty-seconds blurb you repeat time and time again to prospects, friends, family, networking contacts, and random people you might meet in, well, an elevator.
Distilling all you do and all that your business is and represents into a handful of words often feels like a daunting task. But a well-rehearsed, sharply focused elevator pitch has a much better chance at being remembered than a long speech filled with ahs and ums.
Here are five tips to help your elevator pitch stand out.
1. Focus on customer benefits. For example, Hollywood studios don’t deliver “movies.” They deliver “entertainment.” They deliver date night activities, fun family time, and great memories. Benefit, benefit, benefit. Here are a couple more examples: A marketing firm saves the customer time and creates materials that make the customer money. A kitchen and bath renovator creates serene spaces and places people like to come home to.
2. Tighten the focus. While you may have a half dozen benefits that you could rattle off, it’s best not to overwhelm people with too much info. They won’t be able to retain it. Focus on one benefit. In fact, create multiple pitches, each focusing on a separate benefit and call up the one that best fits the situation that you find yourself in. Let’s take the marketing firm example from #1 above. And let’s say you meet someone who owns his own business and he bemoans the fact he doesn’t have enough time to do all the things he should be doing marketing-wise, like social media and an email newsletter. Perfect! You’d call up your short pitch that talks about how your marketing services save the customer time so he can put it towards running his business.
3. Be able to fit it inside one tweet. A tweet is only 140 characters. While your verbal pitch may end up being a little longer than 140 characters, crafting a 140-character pitch is still a great exercise because it will force you to focus on the bare essentials and the absolute strongest elements of your pitch.
4. Be consistent across all media. Once you get that perfect pitch, make sure it takes center stage in all of your media, such as your Twitter bio, the “About” section on your Facebook page, as a headline on your website (ideally the home page, but there are multiple places you can insert it), on business cards, and even on promotional items, such as custom mugs or T-shirts.
5. Test it out. As you’re developing your pitch, you should test it with colleagues who know your business well so that they can spot if you’re overlooking anything important. Then, you should test it out on friends and family who don’t really know what your business is all about. (Try to focus on friends/family who fall in your target demo as well.) After you try it out on them, continue chatting for a little bit, but then go back to the pitch and ask the person, “OK, pretend you’re introducing me to someone and you’re telling the person what I do. What would you say?” Listen carefully to see what key points the person remembered. Is it what you expected? Don’t be concerned if one person doesn’t remember the key benefit or point, but if you find that multiple test subjects are having a hard time remembering your pitch, it’s an indication you need to refine it some more. Start from the top again, and rinse, lather, and repeat.
What do you think? Do you have any other tips for creating a compelling elevator pitch? Would you like to share your pitch? We’d love to hear it. Share in the comments.