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The Elevator Pitch: What, Why and How?
by Senko Duras
May 5, 2022
two women talking in a public space

We are all kind of familiar with the notion of an elevator pitch, but that is not nearly enough to be able to effectively craft and use one.

So, let’s see what exactly is an elevator pitch, why should you have one, and how to create it.

What Is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is a persuasive, concise introduction that provides the listener with a solid idea of a person, a business, a product, or a service (or practically anything else) within just a short space of time.

Typically, an elevator pitch will last no more than 2 minutes, although it is usually much shorter (20 or 30 seconds) - about the length of the average elevator ride. Elevator pitches are common when highlighting your individual skills when interviewing for a job, but they are also often used in marketing.

Why Form an Elevator Pitch?

First impressions count, and with research showing that a first impression is formed in just 7 seconds, it becomes necessary for businesses to ‘wow’ prospects right off the mark. Ultimately, if the first 7 seconds don’t succeed in capturing the audience’s attention, the rest of the meeting may as well not happen!

It’s well worth taking the time to form a great elevator pitch, as your pitch can be used in a wide range of different marketing and sales scenarios. Most commonly, an elevator pitch is used at meetings, but there are other times when it can prove useful, including networking events, conferences, and pretty much any time that someone asks, “what do you do?” You should never say no to an opportunity for lead generation!

How to Create a Successful Elevator Pitch

First, you need to have a good understanding of your own capabilities, limitations, and advantages. After that, you are ready to create a great elevator pitch that:

  1. Looks at the needs of your target audience
  2. Addresses the ‘why change?’ question (looks at why customers should be doing something different)

Here are some important structural pointers for creating a successful elevator pitch:

Make Clear Introductions
Begin by making it crystal clear to your audience exactly what you are selling. After all, this is the entire point of the meeting. A failure to mention what you’re selling upfront tells the audience that you either:

  1. Don’t understand what you’re selling
  2. Don’t understand why you’re selling it
  3. Don’t understand how what you’re selling forms a solution for the customer.

Make it clear that you know what your business is all about, and how your offerings can directly address the needs of the audience.

Talk About the Solution
If you had all the time in the world, talking about the problem would be fine. But you don’t. When you’re limited on time, there is no room for redundancy. Chances are, if you’ve been invited for a meeting, then the customer is already well aware of the problem they have; they don’t need you to tell them what it is. Instead, what they’re really interested in hearing is how you can solve this problem for them. Acknowledge the problem to show understanding, but don’t dwell on the struggles of the business.

Create a ‘Roadmap’
Audiences want to know about the solution, but that’s not all. They also want to know how that solution will fit in with their business. Now is the time to touch upon the idea of ‘marketure’; discussing the marketing roadmap that will show how the solution will integrate with existing practices and processes.

Don’t simply offer a solution without a way for the customer to deploy it; that’s like selling a car without the key! If you’re offering a solution, you want the customer to be confident that they can use it.

Elevator Pitch Examples

Here are two statements that may be created by a technology company:

Example A:
I’m Jeff, and I work for the 123 National Corporation. As leading innovators, we’re making it possible for businesses like you to improve the accuracy of their transactional record-keeping using Blockchain; one of the most disruptive technologies today. By using an in-house team, we’re able to maintain control over the costs, deployments, and compatibility with other systems, delivering the benefits to our clients.

Example B:
I work for the 123 National Corporation. We know that cyber security is currently a major issue and that businesses like you are struggling to keep your transactional data safe and secure. We’re offering a solution using the latest technology to keep your computer-stored data highly protected. We’re proud to be able to offer this solution for a much lower cost than our competitors, making us the perfect choice.

Which one makes the best elevator pitch? If you chose Example A, then you’re right!

Example A has everything an elevator pitch needs. It immediately adds a sense of personality and with the inclusion of the speaker’s name before moving onto an introduction to the solution. It offers a brief yet informative overview of the technology used that not only discusses a number of different benefits of using that company but also shows how the company is able to guarantee these benefits. Finally, the pitch touches on compatibility, making it clear that it should be simple for the client to implement.

Example B lacks personality and spends more time discussing the problem than the solution. It mentions computer-stored data at a time when mobile devices are taking over, which suggests that the pitch hasn’t been updated in some time. The only benefit of choosing that company that is mentioned is cost, which could be damaging if cost isn’t a primary concern for the customer. Ultimately, the customer has relatively little useful information by the end of the pitch.

Another important thing to mention is that you don’t have to limit yourself with one unique pitch for every occasion. Different businesses have different values and priorities, so you can always look to personalize your pitch to your current audience.

The Future of the Elevator Pitch

Right now, there is an ever-increasing focus on the ‘techno pitch,’ one of today’s biggest buzzwords. While the techno pitch is important to understand and consider, it is unlikely to kill off the classic elevator pitch, especially as B2B clients still prefer face-to-face meetings over digital encounters.

However, the features of the techno pitch can be very useful to take into account when creating an elevator pitch. The techno pitch is typically much shorter — less than 50 words, or perhaps a maximum of 280 characters — forcing you to think harder about the core values of the business and ways in which you can communicate these values efficiently yet effectively. Drawing on the concept of the techno pitch, you can further hone our skills, creating excellent elevator pitches that will help drive ongoing success.

About the author
Senko Duras
Passionate about digital marketing, entrepreneurship, growth and travel, Senko is a co-founder of Diversis Digital and Point Visible digital marketing agency.
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