How to Write the Perfect Elevator Pitch
Learn how to create a compelling elevator pitch that you can use to sell your organization’s products and services.
An elevator speech (elevator pitch) is a quick synopsis of your background. Here’s information on elevator speeches, what to include, and examples.
An elevator pitch is never an opportunity to close a deal. Adapt these examples to your own situation and get ready to network.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator speech is a short, concise description of yourself and your business. It should capture your personality, uniqueness or any other factor that potential clients find appealing, such as the flexibility of your working hours. A professional elevator pitch serves two purposes: to intrigue potential clients into asking for more details about what you do and how they can contact you and to provide you with a convincing way to describe yourself when first meeting others.
When you’re just starting your business, it can be hard to get meetings with potential clients. But if you have an elevator speech that showcases what makes you unique and intriguing, people will feel compelled to contact you for more information about your services. Keeping this one-minute speech handy will make things easier when you’re trying to decide what to say when someone asks, “So where do you work?”
Your elevator pitch isn’t meant to close a sale. It’s meant only as an opportunity for networking. If your pitch is well-received, it could lead others to ask for your business card or ask for more information about your business.
When and How to Use an Elevator Speech
An elevator speech can be used in a variety of situations. You might use it as part of your job search if you’re changing jobs, when networking with potential clients, or at industry events such as conferences or trade shows. Be sure to create one for each sector that you work in so that you’re prepared whenever an appropriate opportunity arises.
How you deliver your elevator speech is important. If possible, it’s best to write down what you’re going to say ahead of time and then practice delivering it a few times. By doing so, you’ll be more comfortable with the information that you include and will work on getting your words out smoothly.
For example, if I’m visiting a company that I’m interested in working with, I could use my elevator speech to set up a meeting so that we can discuss their needs and how they might benefit from using computer programs. If possible, it’s best to deliver the speech face-to-face rather than over the phone or on email as you want to be able to gauge people’s responses.
How to Write a Perfect Elevator Speech
It’s important to keep your pitch as concise as possible. With a well-constructed elevator speech you can achieve the high impact that is critical for success.
You only have one minute – no more, no less – to convince others that you’re worth talking with. You need to intrigue them and provide enough information for them to call or meet with you.
You will have an easier time delivering your pitch if you keep these three tips in mind:
- Make it conversational . An elevator speech should sound like a natural, flowing conversation.
- Keep it simple and clear . Use simple words and sentences when possible to convey your ideas clearly. The simpler the message, the more people will remember it when they speak with you.
- Keep it focused . It’s important to keep your message on target. Your audience should know exactly what you do and why you do it the moment they get off the elevator.
- Structure your speech . Use an interesting story, statistic or anecdote to capture attention and create interest in your business.
What Should I Say?
At first, consider the key people you want to reach and what sort of business activities your material would be useful for promoting. Then ask yourself these questions:
- Where am I speaking to (the setting)?
- Who is my audience (their knowledge level)?
- Why should they listen (motivation)?
- What do I want them to remember (key points) about what I have to say?
- How will they benefit by listening (benefits)?
Who are you?
Try to build interest with a personal story or quality about yourself that you’d like people to know. Be sure that this is relevant and interesting, though.
What does your company do?
Describe what makes your company unique using a few key words to describe your product or service. Explain why it’s important, not just how you do it.
What is the current industry trend?
Try to tie in a trending topic that you can also use as an ice breaker at networking events, such as how social media has changed business.
Why should I listen to you?
Instead of always promoting your company, tell people what makes you a credible source rather than an advertiser. What are you experts in and how is it relevant to the audience? What do you know that other people don’t?
What’s the value proposition?
This is your chance to talk about the value you provide and why should people buy what you’re selling. They need to know exactly how they will benefit from doing business with you, not just that it’s possible.
Grab their attention.
Explain your business in an interesting way, with a story or statistic that will grab their attention and make them want to find out more.
Keep it simple. Don’t overload your elevator pitch with information or unnecessary details; the point is to get people interested in finding out more about you, not drowning them in detailed information.
Connect with the audience.
Try to remember that your audience doesn’t know you, so use wit or humor to make a connection.
Learn from others’ mistakes.
Many companies try to cram too much information into their pitch, which makes it difficult for potential customers to understand why they should choose this company over another one. The result is that the company ends up losing potential customers while those who are still interested in hearing more have to make several follow-up calls to get additional information. Keep it simple and emphasize the benefits, not just the features.
Here are three tips for making your elevator speech even better:
- You should always use it when you’re promoting your company.
- You should use it when you’re meeting people for the first time or attending networking events.
- You should practice it out loud so that it becomes second nature for you to refer to. It’s also a good idea to get outside feedback from friends, family and other professionals who can help you develop your message even further.
- Wake up your audience.
Make sure your elevator speech is exciting. Capture and hold their attention at the very beginning, and keep it until the end.
How long should my elevator speech be?
The length of an elevator pitch varies with each speaker, but most experts suggest that you limit yourself to a maximum of about 90 seconds. You have about five seconds to catch your audience’s interest, 20 seconds to explain what you do and another 35 seconds or so to seal the deal.
The important thing is to use your time wisely and keep it focused on delivering an effective message. The key part of the speech is the beginning: remember that people aren’t going to want to listen to you if you don’t catch their attention.
Keep these tips in mind:
- Open with a benefit-oriented statement that draws your audience’s interest and makes them want to hear more.
- The middle of the speech should contain details about your company, product or service. In other words, get into the meat of what you’re trying to convey.
- Conclude with a statement that leaves your audience wanting more. You can either ask them if they have any questions or tell them you’ll be happy to answer any questions they might have at a later time.
How do I practice my elevator pitch?
According to experts, there are three things you should practice before stepping out into the real world and trying your speech on real people:
- Do it in front of a mirror. Make sure that you look motivated, enthusiastic and interested when you present yourself to others.
- Record your elevator pitch and listen to it repeatedly. Have someone else critique it as well; be objective enough to take criticism constructively and use their suggestions to make improvements.
- Ask someone else to practice it with you, and let them ask questions. This will help you see how your elevator speech is received by others.
Don’t forget that even if they’re being polite when they hear your speech for the first time, they may not be saying what’s really on their mind.
Creating an Elevator Pitch: Step-by-Step Examples
- The “What you do” section tells your listener why you’re qualified to speak on the subject.
It’s vital to get this part right as it gives people insight into what you’re about and why they should listen to you. Don’t forget that the question driving the answer is always, “What do I want them to know?”
“I’m president of a software design firm in Orlando. We build custom computer programs for client’s specific business needs.”
- The “Who you do it for” section tells the listener who your target audience is and why they should care about your service or product. It’s critical to make sure that people know exactly what you’re offering, because if they don’t, they’ll forget all about you when trying to decide who to contact for more information. Remember: the person listening wants to know exactly what you’re selling so they can make a decision about whether or not your offering is relevant to them. They may decide that it isn’t, and then you’ll lose them forever!
“I work with small businesses in the Orlando area who want to benefit from customized computer programs to help them run their businesses more efficiently.”
- The “Why it’s needed” section conveys your value proposition. In other words, why should someone choose you over a competitor? If they were going to purchase the same item from another vendor, what would make them pick you instead? Keep in mind that people are busy; your strong value proposition will help them to quickly recognize your unique selling point.
“I’ve been in business for over 20 years and have earned a reputation as a reliable partner because I work with my clients until their needs are fully satisfied.”
- The “What’s next” section tells people what they can expect from you next, such as a free consultation or sample of your work.
This is the most important part of your speech! In fact, people are likely to remember this more than any other element that you include in your speech. They want to know how they can obtain more information and find out if what you’re offering will benefit them.
Remember that clarity is key! The more people understand about what you have to offer, the better your chance of drawing their interest and getting them to contact you for more information. So be sure to include a call-to-action that is simple and straightforward, such as offering a free consultation or making all the details available on your website.
“How can I help you? Is there anything else you’d like to know about our services?”
- The “Close” is a final statement that sums up what you’ve said and urges the listener to do something specific, such as contact you for more information.
The “close” can include, “I look forward to serving you,” or “Please stop by our website for more information.”
In addition, you may want to close with a request for the listener to provide their contact information so that they can receive more information about your services. It’s an effective way to get people’s email addresses and phone numbers.
“I look forward to hearing from you about our services.”
- The “Pause” gives the listener time to absorb what you’ve said, and it signals that your speech is coming towards an end. You might want to make a concluding statement such as, “That about covers everything.” or, “Well if there’s anything else you’d like to know, please give me a call. I’m available anytime.”
“I hope we can help your business grow in 2013.”
- The “Thank You” signals the end of your speech and welcomes the listener for attending so that they feel important and appreciated.
A simple way of saying thank you is, “Thank you for your time.” or, “May I shake your hand?”
“It’s been a pleasure speaking with you today and I hope that we can continue to talk about your needs. In the meantime, if there’s anything else that I can do, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Here’s my card and a brochure that is representative of the high standards that we set here at Samuel Business Group.”
“Thank you for your time.”
After completing your speech, make sure that you include an “end marker” and repeat the date, place and name of the organization. This helps people remember everything they’ve just heard and gives them a way to refer back to the speech if they have any questions.
“That about covers everything I wanted to share with you today. I look forward to meeting with some of you in the near future at one of our upcoming events.” “Thank you very much for your time and attention and thank-you again to Acme Manufacturing from all of us here at Samuel Business Group.”
- An “end marker” is a statement that alerts the listener to the fact that you have just completed your speech and signals a natural end to the conversation. It can be as simple as, “Thank-you very much for coming today,” or “I really appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule.”
“Please feel free to contact me at my office and I’ll let you know how we can do that.”
“I look forward to hearing from you about our services.”
- The “Sign Off” or “Closing” is the final statement in a speech. In most situations, it’s good etiquette to thank everyone who helped make your event possible, including a representative from the organization that invited you, if there was one.
“Thank-you everyone for coming today to Acme Mfg. I really appreciate your time and look forward to seeing some of you again at our next event.” Or, “I want to thank Mr. Ogden for inviting me here this morning and giving me the opportunity to speak with everyone about our services and future plans.”
“Thank-you very much for your time and attention and thank-you again to Acme Manufacturing from all of us here at Samuel Business Group.”
- The “Encore” is a short statement that the speaker uses as an opening when they’ve been asked to repeat specific parts of their speech.
“I’d like to give everyone a brief recap or reminder of what we talked about this morning.”
- The “Call to Action” provides specific information, such as advice, instructions, and suggestions that encourages listeners to do something—it’s one last opportunity for the listener to take action on something that you’ve said or learned during the presentation.
“So if you’d like to learn more about any of these services, please give me a call.”
Additional Personal Elevator Pitch Tips
Find out how to craft an authentic personal pitch while projecting competence and warmth—two key factors in making a great first impression.
- Making a powerful first impression takes skill and practice, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With a little focus and guidance, you’ll be able to craft an effective personal pitch that helps you make the best impression in any business situation.
- Demonstrating warmth in a personal pitch can make all the difference in whether you achieve your intended result. But, before we get into the nitty gritty of connecting with people on an emotional level, let’s stop and ask ourselves why that matters. Warmth in verbal pitch delivery is a sign of one’s openness, sincerity and concern. And this is exactly what your audience will be looking for when it hears you speak. While competence indicates how effective a person is in performing a certain task or role, warmth refers to the extent of his/her concern about others–it’s an indicator of interpersonal skills and attitude.
- Warmth in nonverbal pitch delivery breaks down into two categories–appearance and body language. Your attire, grooming and overall appearance will set the tone for your audience’s perception of you and how well they will respond to what you have to say–this is why first impression is so important. And when it comes to your nonverbal delivery, remember that the way you stand, walk, gesture, sit and use eye contact will convey your interest in the people to whom you are speaking. A good rule of thumb is to avoid a “business stance,” where one stands stiffly with arms crossed and avoids making eye contact. Instead, choose a relaxed pose that allows for free body movement, open gestures (including palms-up communication).
- Competence in verbal pitch delivery refers to your ability to speak in a clear, concise and confident manner. Effective public speaking is all about conveying information clearly and effectively–any other factors (such as warmth) will be added by way of vocal intonation and other nonverbal communication tactics. Vocal variety is an important element here–it’s what allows you to keep your listeners’ attention. Keep in mind that your speech will be much more appealing if it is delivered with a sense of enthusiasm; this will come across as warmth in tone and body language. On the flip side, an overly enthusiastic delivery may seem insincere or even disrespectful–it’s just as important to pay attention to your vocal variety and make
- Competence in nonverbal pitch delivery is not just about having a clean-cut appearance (which can go without saying). It’s also your ability to display confidence and poise in the way you stand, sit and move. Even if you’re feeling nervous, force yourself into an “open” position that shows your willingness to interact with others–this demonstrates warmth in nonverbal communication while sending a clear message: “I’m here to talk with you.”
- Creating a sense of trust and rapport between yourself and your audience is all about the way you connect with them. As touched upon above, warmth in verbal pitch delivery comes across vocally–but that’s not to say you shouldn’t take advantage of nonverbal communication tactics that will help to support your message. Empathy is one such tactic; it allows us to feel what others are feeling and connect with them on an emotional level.
- Making an impression online is a whole lot different than doing so in-person–and, no, it’s not because of the lack of body language. The key difference between online and face-to-face communication is that your audience has to take one hundred percent of what you say at face value.
- Making an impression on the phone is vital to your success in business. As you attempt to connect with others, remember two key tips: First, maintain proper body language at all times–this is what allows the recipient of your call to feel like you are present and engaged in the conversation. Second, keep an eye out for “micro cues” as they come through on the other end– these are subtle vocal cues that are directly proportional to the other person’s interest. When you’ve made a connection with someone through your phone communication, they will be more willing to help you out and perhaps do much of your selling for you!
With the right tools and a good understanding of your presentation material, you will be all set to deliver a great speech. But don’t just read through it once or twice—practice, practice and more practicing! By realizing how important practice is, you’ll feel much more confident when it’s time to deliver your speech.
If you’re looking for more speech tips or general information about speaking, consider joining Toastmasters. You’ll get a wealth of resources such as speeches that you can review and practice at your own pace on various topics.
So now that you know how to create an elevator speech, it’s time to get started on writing yours and see if it helps you stand out as a leader among the competition.
Good luck and see you in the spotlight!