elevator-pitch

Elevator Pitch In A Nutshell

An elevator pitch is a short speech that introduces an individual, business, or product. Brevity is particularly important in sales, where a pitch must be able to sell itself quickly. Brevity also demonstrates that the person making a pitch has personal and professional aptitude and can think on their feet during unexpected situations.

Understanding an elevator pitch

The primary purpose of an elevator pitch is to explain a concept quickly, clearly, and persuasively in less than 30 seconds.

It is this brevity that gives the elevator pitch its name, referring to the average amount of time one spends in an elevator. 

But why is brevity is important?

Brevity is particularly important in sales, where a pitch must be able to sell itself quickly. Brevity also demonstrates that the person making a pitch has personal and professional aptitude and can think on their feet during unexpected situations.

Elevator pitches can also be used for:

  • Interview preparation – where an interviewee will inevitably be asked to tell the panel who they are and what they stand for.
  • Resume preparation – as part of a cover letter or professional summary statement.
  • Networking at events and gatherings where industry contacts are present.

Creating and then delivering an elevator pitch

Creating an elevator pitch begins by answering some exploratory questions:

  1. Who are you? Don’t make the mistake of diving into your elevator pitch before you have introduced yourself. Describe yourself and your role in the business – but keep this introductory information to a minimum.
  2. How is your company making an impact? Do you know what your employer stands for? Again, it’s important to be succinct.
  3. What is the value proposition? In other words, what value does your business provide that is unique and specific?
  4. Deliver the hook – the most important part because it can be used to grab attention and build rapport. Perhaps it is an attention-grabbing statistic or fact. Perhaps it is a compelling story that somehow relates to the prospect being pitched. Here, it’s helpful to have a good understanding of the target audience to pre-emptively solve a problem they are experiencing.
  5. Include a call to action, sometimes called the “ask”. That is, what is the desired outcome of the pitch? Prospects that hear lots of pitches are used to being asked for something. Do not neglect a call to action for fear of making the wrong move.
  6. Revise and refine. Before delivering an elevator pitch, read the written version out loud to ensure that it is conversational. Practice is vital. A tone that is too formal or indeed too informal may convey a lack of confidence or conviction.

Delivering an elevator pitch

In delivering an elevator pitch, understand that flexibility is key. Elevator pitches are not intended to be delivered like speeches. Instead, they must flow in an organic, conservational manner. While each pitch should follow the same basic structure, each must be customized to the particular nuances of the industry or prospect being pitched.

Indeed, the prospect will often ask questions that you haven’t prepared for. But this is the ideal outcome because in most cases, questions are a sign of interest. The ability to handle left-of-field questions is often dependent on how much prior research on the prospect has been performed.

Lastly, be prepared. Keep copies of a business card or other promotional material on your person to close the interaction strongly.

Key takeaways

  • An elevator pitch is a short, persuasive, and versatile speech that can be used to sell or introduce a product, business, or individual.
  • A successful elevator pitch is dependent upon brevity, which conveys confidence and professional aptitude.
  • To create an elevator pitch, a preliminary written version should follow a basic structure. When delivering the pitch in person, remember to remain conversational and end the interaction with a call to action.

Connected Business Frameworks

business-development
Business development comprises a set of strategies and actions to grow a business via a mixture of sales, marketing, and distribution. While marketing usually relies on automation to reach a wider audience, and sales typically leverage a one-to-one approach. The business development’s role is that of generating distribution.
marketing-vs-sales
The more you move from consumers to enterprise clients, the more you’ll need a sales force able to manage complex sales. As a rule of thumb, a more expensive product, in B2B or Enterprise, will require an organizational structure around sales. An inexpensive product to be offered to consumers will leverage on marketing.
fourweekmba-business-model-framework
An effective business model has to focus on two dimensions: the people dimension and the financial dimension. The people dimension will allow you to build a product or service that is 10X better than existing ones and a solid brand. The financial dimension will help you develop proper distribution channels by identifying the people that are willing to pay for your product or service and make it financially sustainable in the long run.
business-model-template
A tech business model is made of four main components: value model (value propositions, missionvision), technological model (R&D management), distribution model (sales and marketing organizational structure), and financial model (revenue modeling, cost structure, profitability and cash generation/management). Those elements coming together can serve as the basis to build a solid tech business model.
digital-transformation
Digital transformation enables existing businesses to leverage digital technologies for business model innovation. The process of digital transformation is not just about new distribution channels. It starts by better serving key customers, and it completes by developing a new business mindset required to succeed in the digital era.
business-storytelling
Business storytelling is a critical part of developing a business model. Indeed, the way you frame the story of your organization will influence its brand in the long-term. That’s because your brand story is tied to your brand identity, and it enables people to identify with a company.
3c-model
The 3C Analysis Business Model was developed by Japanese business strategist Kenichi Ohmae. The 3C Model is a marketing tool that focuses on customers, competitors, and the company. At the intersection of these three variables lies an effective marketing strategy to gain a potential competitive advantage and build a lasting company.
ge-mckinsey-matrix
The GE McKinsey Matrix was developed in the 1970s after General Electric asked its consultant McKinsey to develop a portfolio management model. This matrix is a strategy tool that provides guidance on how a corporation should prioritize its investments among its business units, leading to three possible scenarios: invest, protect, harvest, and divest.
mckinsey-7-s-model
The McKinsey 7-S Model was developed in the late 1970s by Robert Waterman and Thomas Peters, who were consultants at McKinsey & Company. Waterman and Peters created seven key internal elements that inform a business of how well positioned it is to achieve its goals, based on three hard elements and four soft elements.
aida-model
AIDA stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. That is a model that is used in marketing to describe the potential journey a customer might go through before purchasing a product or service. The AIDA model helps organizations focus their efforts when optimizing their marketing activities based on the customers’ journeys.
pirate-metrics
Venture capitalist, Dave McClure, coined the acronym AARRR which is a simplified model that enables to understand what metrics and channels to look at, at each stage for the users’ path toward becoming customers and referrers of a brand.
freemium-business-model
The freemium – unless the whole organization is aligned around it – is a growth strategy rather than a business model. A free service is provided to a majority of users, while a small percentage of those users convert into paying customers through the sales funnel. Free users will help spread the brand through word of mouth.
freeterprise-business-model
A freeterprise is a combination of free and enterprise where free professional accounts are driven into the funnel through the free product. As the opportunity is identified the company assigns the free account to a salesperson within the organization (inside sales or fields sales) to convert that into a B2B/enterprise account.
go-to-market-strategy
A go-to-market strategy represents how companies market their new products to reach target customers in a scalable and repeatable way. It starts with how new products/services get developed to how these organizations target potential customers (via sales and marketing models) to enable their value proposition to be delivered to create a competitive advantage.
customer-segmentation
Customer segmentation is a marketing method that divides the customers in sub-groups, that share similar characteristics. Thus, productmarketing and engineering teams can center the strategy from go-to-market to product development and communication around each sub-group. Customer segments can be broken down is several ways, such as demographics, geography, psychographics and more.
customer-segmentation
Customer segmentation is a marketing method that divides the customers in sub-groups, that share similar characteristics. Thus, productmarketing and engineering teams can center the strategy from go-to-market to product development and communication around each sub-group. Customer segments can be broken down is several ways, such as demographics, geography, psychographics and more.
psychographic-segmentation
Psychographic segmentation is a form of market segmentation, that looks at consumers into sub-groups that share specific psychological characterizes, that comprise activities, interests, and opinions of customers. The rise of data-driven marketing enabled psychographic segmentation to become a key element of digital marketing activities to personalize those campaigns and reach a micro-audience.

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Published by

Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which reached over a million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get The FourWeekMBA Flagship Book "100+ Business Models"