An elevator pitch also known as an elevator speech is a brief, clear information or ‘commercial’ about you. It is a small speech used to communicate your professional personality, your present employment status, future job avenues you are looking for and unique qualities you possess that can be beneficial to an organization or a company. Note that the key reason behind putting down an elevator pitch is that you shape crucial information about yourself in an impressive manner, which you can share with anyone, anywhere, and at any time. But do not forget that your speech must be within a timeline of 30 to 120 seconds.

Your impression in the first 2 minutes would go a long way to tell if the potential entrepreneur is interested in hiring you for his job or not. Aside this, there are many more reasons why having a perfect elevator speech is important, not only for job seekers, but also for those who want to grow and expand professionally.

Why you need a perfect elevator pitch

Casual networking meetings

You need to understand that networking opportunities occur almost every day, at airports, restaurants, fairs and more. In such a scenario, an elevator pitch is of great importance because it will go a long way to create a positive impact in a short period of time.

Within your own entity

You can easily make an impression with an elevator speech when you are looking to advance in your company. You can even talk to your seniors in the elevator.

During important calls

If there is a call and you are needed to define yourself in a little time, then an elevator speech will do the perfect job during for you. If you have a well-prepared elevator speech at hand, then you may not only speak better about yourself, but will also be able to create a lasting impression on the person on the other side, within the limited time frame.

During an actual interview

If you have to attend a formal interview, they may ask you some regular questions like, ‘tell me about yourself’, or ‘why should we hire you’. Having an effective elevator speech at hand will help you answer all these questions with ease.

Job and Career Fairs

A career fair is mainly meant for network. If you have a perfectly prepared elevator speech, it is would be easy to talk about yourself. You can directly and accurately convey everything about yourself to employers.

Voicemail

For instance, if you need to leave a voicemail to a very important entrepreneur, then you can simply leave your elevator speech. Note that it will not only help the employer to understand your reason of sending a voicemail, but may also help you to get hired for a job position.

Writing the perfect elevator pitch for yourself

A perfect elevator pitch is an essential tool for achieving your goals, whether you are trying to raise money for your business or just want to perfect your business strategy. An elevator pitch can be delivered as a speech, a pitch presentation, or as a one-page overview of your business. You can think of your pitch is as an executive summary that provides a quick overview of your business and details why you are going to be successful.

Define the problem

One of the most important steps of putting together an elevator pitch is to identify a problem that is worth solving. If your product or service doesn’t solve a problem that potential customers have, you don’t have a viable business. The problem you are looking to provide solutions to doesn’t have to be enormous. Problems can be simple—and that’s OK. As long as you, the entrepreneur, is solving a problem that customers have, you can build a business. It’s very important that you strive to distill your customer’s problem down to its simplest form. Ideally you should be able to describe the problem you are solving in one or two sentences, or potentially a few bullet points. In the long run, your company may solve multiple customer problems, but initially you will be more successful if you just focus on one core problem.

Define your solution

A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of starting their elevator pitch by describing their solution: a product or service that they think the market needs. Ultimately they skip step 1 and don’t identify the problem they are solving. This is why as a smart entrepreneur; you can avoid this mistake by first making sure that you are solving a real problem that customers actually have before you define your solution. Have it in mind that once you have clearly defined the problem you are solving, you need to explain your solution. Note that a simple but clear problem statement will help you focus your solution on solving that one problem, and not stretch the solution to solve multiple potential problems. You should also distill your solution description down to as few words as possible. You should be able to describe your solution at a high level in just a few sentences or bullet points.

Understand your target market

When defining or explaining the problem you are solving, you should naturally be thinking about the potential customers who have this problem. In the Target Market section of your elevator pitch, you have to describe exactly who has the problem you are solving and figure out how many potential customers you will be trying to sell to. It’s also advisable that you try and divide your target market into segments—smaller groups of people whom you expect to market to. Once you have created a good list of target market segments, you’ll need to do a little research and estimation to figure out how many people are in each segment.

After that you have to try and estimate what an average person in each group currently spends each year on their current solution to the problem you are solving. Now, just multiply the number of people by how much they spend and you will have a realistic “market size” number or your target market. Don’t forget that in your pitch, you will want to talk about the market segments you are targeting, how many people are in each segment, and the total amount they spend. These numbers are critical and must be part of any good pitch presentation.

Discuss the competition

There’s no denying that every business has competition. Even if no one has come up with a solution similar to what you have come up with, your potential customers are solving the problem they have with some alternative. Competition is a natural in business and shouldn’t be seen as a pitfall. So when you think about your competition and existing alternatives, think about what advantages your solution offers over the competition. Are you faster, cheaper, or better? Why would a potential customer choose your solution over someone else’s? Note that describing your key differentiators from your competition is a great exercise and makes sure you are building a unique solution that customers will hopefully choose over other alternatives. These differentiators will also help you focus your marketing on the key value proposition that you offer, but your competitors don’t.

Discuss who’s on your team

Even if you have the greatest of ideas, without the right team you won’t be able to effectively execute and build a great company. In the “team” portion of your elevator pitch, it’s necessary that you talk about why you and your business partners are the right team to execute your vision and why your team’s skill set is precisely what is needed to lead your company to success. It is often said that a company’s leadership team is more important than the idea—and this is sometimes true. Even with a great or unique solution, if you don’t have the right people on board, you won’t be able to see it to fruition. You need to understand that it is OK not to have an entire team in place, you can build your team as you go along.

Financial summary

To put together a perfect pitch, you don’t necessarily need to show a detailed five-year forecast. What’s more important is that you know your business model. Business model may sound like something complex, but fortunately it’s not. All you need to know is who pays your bills and what kind of expenses you will have. For instance, if you are starting an online news site, the customers that pay the bills are your advertisers. Your costs will be writers, graphic designers and web hosting. It is very helpful to put together a sales forecast and expense budget. You have to make sure you can build a profitable company based on your assumptions. But, for your elevator pitch, a detailed forecast isn’t necessarily required.

Show traction with milestones

This is the final jigsaw of your elevator pitch, conveying your business milestones, or your schedule. At this point you will have to talk about your upcoming goals and when you plan to achieve them. But if you have already accomplished notable milestones, here will be the perfect place to mention those. For instance, if you have invented a new medical device, potential investors will want to know where you are in the clinical trial process. What steps have been accomplished and what’s the projected schedule for final approvals from the FDA? Have it in mind that talking about upcoming milestones in your pitch makes your business a reality. This section of the pitch illustrates how well you have thought through the steps it will take to open your business and start making money.

Essential Tips for Writing a Perfect Elevator Pitch

You need to understand that a perfect elevator pitch can be a powerful tool for marketing your business, and once you have it created, you can use it over and over again in many different settings. Here are nine tips for making your elevator pitch a valuable tool in your marketing toolbox.

Make It Short and Sweet

Have it in mind that it is called an elevator pitch for a reason; you have a limited time to make a good first impression, not hours but very few minutes. It’s advisable that you put together an elevator pitch that takes you about 60 seconds to deliver at a good pace, or includes roughly 150-250 words.

Edit it Ruthlessly

Note that a perfect elevator pitch is like a work of art, and as the artist, you may feel that there is always room for improvement. This is a good perspective to have because the more you are able to look at your elevator pitch with a critical eye, the more will you be able to improve it with each edit.

Avoid Industry Jargon

Imagine your audience has no hint of your industry, the services you provide, or the products you sell. You will want to use your elevator pitch in front of anyone and know that they will understand what you do by the time you’re finished, even if they have never heard of your industry before.

Read It in a Mirror

You have to understand that an elevator pitch on paper is very different from one said out loud. This is why it is advisable your read your elevator pitch in your head, read it out loud, then recite it in a mirror to make sure it flows and sounds conversational. It’s usually a good idea to run it by a colleague, friend or family member, too, to get a fresh perspective.

Memorize It and Practice

Note that you won’t have the advantage of a sheet when you’re in a live situation, so memorizing your elevator speech is very crucial. Also note that the challenge is learning it by heart but still be able to deliver it naturally and not robotically. The more you practice delivering your elevator pitch, the easier it will be to sound conversational and relaxed.

Make Your Passion visible

It’s important to state that the best elevator pitches are those that are memorable, unique, engaging and lead to further conversation. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by showing the passion you have in what you do. Show your fire and the passion can be contagious.

Establish Multiple Flavours

Indeed if you follow a step-by-step elevator pitch formula, it will be much easier to substitute new information to change your elevator pitch to fit any audience. Once you’re comfortable editing, rearranging and substituting, you can create different versions ahead of time, or substitute it with relevant information on the go.

Know Your Desired Action

Just like all of your other marketing activities, include a call to action at the end of your elevator pitch. Outline what you want to happen next, whether it’s giving the other person a chance to ask you questions, introducing you to a colleague, or scheduling a time to talk in more detail.

Pass the Mic

Agreeably, after putting so much effort into your elevator pitch, it will be a big relief once you’ve delivered it successfully. But you also should not forget the person on the receiving end. The best way to transition from a successful elevator pitch to a successful conversation is giving the other person a chance to wow you with his or her own elevator pitch.

Conclusion

Indeed a perfect elevator pitch is an important element for every professional. It can include your key strengths, real life examples and information that can bring positive benefits to your professional arena. This is the reason you have to invest enough time into writing and creating an excellent elevator pitch that is effective and passes the right information. You can even consider your resume or CV to outline a speech that can help you in making a positive impact.

Ajaero Tony Martins