Putting together and then delivering a convincing elevator pitch (or sales pitch) is not easy. Making it “sticky” i.e. memorable and top of mind for your audience is also a significant challenge.
When you do get in front of your audience, you usually only get one chance to make a first impression. So, preparation is the key.
Whether you are pitching a business concept (getting people to understand what you do and why it is worth pursuing), looking to make a sales pitch (persuading someone to buy) or just trying to move a venture forward that requires interaction with other key decision makers (getting stakeholders on board), here are ten practical pitch tips to help you prepare for the big moment:
Goal: Get people interested and excited about your concept. Get people engaged with you. Get people to ultimately take a desired action e.g. invest in your company, move forward with a proposal.
1. What Is Your Most Important Point? What is the most important point you want to get across if nothing else is conveyed? Why is that the most important point? Will it get your audience to take particular action?
2. Be Brief, To The Point: An elevator pitch is a clear, concise and well-practiced description of your company. It must be delivered in the time it would take to ‘ride up an elevator’ –45 seconds. That’s time for about 150-225 words. You should have a 30 second version.
3. Solve a Specific Problem or ‘Customer Pain’: In one sentence, how does the product or service solve a specific problem and how does it solve it better than anyone else can?
4. Say Something That Will Resonate With Them Personally: What will resonate most with this person (based on what you know of them)? Describe your product or service and its benefits succinctly. Depending on your audience, you may also have to:
• the opportunity, define the market, the market size and market growth rate
• how will you make money
• who is operating the company & why that makes a difference
• what is your competitive advantage
5. Speak Simply in Plain English: Limit tech talk or scientific language. Speak in plain words anyone can understand to convey your points clearly, the first time. Impressing someone based on your expertise with jargon can actually hurt you by alienating and confusing the person.
6. If Appropriate, Use An Analogy To Position Your Brand: You might try to offer something familiar to position the company in the minds of your audience. E.g. “We are the Honda not the Lexus of XXX.” Only use this technique if it clearly depicts your company. If there is no clear connection, skip this approach.
7. Tailor Your Pitch to Your Audience: Your pitch depends on your audience. Customers want to know what problem you will solve for them. Investors want to know why your team is the right team and how you plan to make money and grow. Business partners want to know ‘what’s in it for them’ and how a partnership can open up opportunities.
8. Show Passion With Humility: Your pitch needs to be based in your personal passion. However don’t confuse that with intensity. You want to show your personal passion yet stay on point, collected and professional. Show your excitement in a confident way along with some humility.
9. What Action Do You Want Them To Take?: Are you looking for a referral? A phone number? Specific information? A follow up meeting? Etc. Whatever the action is you are looking for, be clear about it, direct and polite. If it is an investor, you may want to directly ask them if they would invest based on what they know?
10. Be Consistent: If you have a partner or staff, they need to be able to deliver your message with consistency. The message conveyed should be clear and consistent across all communication channels.