Your quick-start guide to writing your perfect elevator pitch — with examples!
You’re dying to tell people what you do, but it’s hard to get the word out when attention spans are shorter than ever.
Whether you’re at a formal networking event or just chatting with a friend-of-a-friend, you need to give people a distinct idea of who you are and what you do — plus what makes you special.
And you need to do it all in under twenty seconds.
Let’s jump right in and craft a kick-butt elevator pitch for our fictional LEAP colleague, Jan. Here’s what she says during networking events when someone asks what she does:
“Hi, I’m Jan. My background is in fine arts, but these days, I do some design work and build websites, mostly for bloggers. I’m really into helping out mommy bloggers, productivity gurus, and people like that. I’ve done some work for larger businesses, but I love working with solopreneurs and artists who are ready to start growing their audiences. I do a lot of stuff for my clients, but most of it is graphic design and some web design. I build in WordPress, mostly. I’ve tried other platforms, but I fell in love with WordPress and never looked back.”
Step 1: Cut Out the Excess
This sounds way too conversational for a quick elevator pitch. There are too many details — if you want to keep someone’s attention, you need to present only the facts they need to know.
Your elevator pitch has a lot of jobs. It needs to introduce a stranger to you and your business, making it clear what your main offerings are, all while conveying what makes you unusual.
But since we have an extremely limited timespan, that means leaving out some details, at least for now.
So let’s start by asking ourselves: ”What do I do and whom do I do it for?” This is what your message needs to revolve around.
Step 2: What Do Customers Need to Know?
Now that we’ve got a solid picture of what you offer and who you’re offering it to, you can start to tailor your message accordingly.
Ask yourself: “What does my potential client/customer/investor need to know, right now, to pique their interest?”
In Jan’s case, most potential clients or referral sources don’t need to know about Jan’s attempts at working in other platforms. Simply stating that she loves building WordPress sites is enough.
Also, don’t be afraid to summarize! Jan may have worked with mommy bloggers and productivity gurus, but couldn’t we call them both “lifestyle bloggers” and still be accurate?
Step 3: Add a Little Gloss
Having an elevator pitch that’s succinct and informative will put you miles ahead of the competition, but don’t stop there. Let’s add a little gloss.
Let’s make sure that people understand what makes your company unique. What do you do differently? What aspect of your business do you love the most?
For example, even if someone like Jan offers services that might seem identical to the developer next door, her background as an artist makes her distinct.
“Hi, I’m Jan. I’m a tech-savvy artist who builds gorgeous WordPress sites for lifestyle bloggers who want to grow their audiences.”
Nice! It’s bite-sized and brassy, with no unneccessary details.
Your business (whether you’ve already started it or are still in the planning stages) is complicated. Even if you know exactly why you’re here, it’s still a challenge to boil down your big idea into a 15-second-long sound byte.
Unfortunately, that’s all the time most of us have to intrigue most of our future clients, customers, or investors, so let’s make it count!
(By the way, if this elevator pitch sounds a little like you, feel free to use it — just make sure to customize it so it’s perfect for you and your company.)