Imagine you’re at an event of high-profile business executives – nevermind how you got invited, but you’re at one. Almost immediately, you realize the potential for investment in your startup or company. With so many successful entrepreneurs, founders and CEOs present, chances are that you can get at least one who will be interested in investing in your startup,becoming a client or connecting you with some of his colleagues. You single out a promising CEO who looks like he just might be interested in your company. You approach him, introduce yourself and open your mouth to talk about your business – but where do you start? With eyes on you, you freeze and your brain goes blank – the impromptu speech you prepared wiped from memory. The potential investor loses interest and walks away, leaving you standing there embarrassed, but more importantly regretting missing such a huge opportunity because you weren’t prepared.
A 60-second pitch – or “elevator pitch” as it’s popularly called – is a conversation, or an ice breaker, that will hopefully lead into a deeper dialogue about what you and your company can offer. In practice you have about 60 seconds to leave an exciting and meaningful impression on whomever you come in contact with. So make them count.
Here are the 5 most critical things that will make for a killer elevator pitch.
- Make a grand opening: If you have such a short time to make an impression, it’s best to start with a problem they can relate with and move on to give an opportunity to solve it. Your opening should be attention-grabbing and memorable as well as address the basic points of every business – a problem and its solution.
- Make them care: Most people making elevator pitches make the mistake of going on and on about the benefits of their businesses, the features and other details that won’t achieve the main aim of an elevator pitch: make the subject of your pitch care. An elevator pitch should be succinct and clearly state the value it will create for, or add to the subject of the pitch. When you do this, you create the chance for a dialogue instead of just dropping a load of information on someone.
- Communicate your selling point: You need to effectively communicate to the subject of your pitch what your selling point is. By that, I mean that feature or method of doing things or that service which you execute so well that makes you different from every other competitor or service provider in that niche. An example could be a web design firm that visits each client and gets not just their requirements for their site but also gets in touch with their clients’ customers to know just what they would like to see on the website. While this might take a little more time, it ensures that 95% of our customers are completely satisfied with the sites they eventually get. And we all know the power of customer evangelism, don’t we?
Also read: Startups: why customer 1 is your highest priority.
- Focus only on the main points: Your elevator pitch should touch on only the key points. Aim to address questions like “what does your company make or do?”, “who will be interested in the products or services you want to offer?” and “what makes you different from other companies in your niche”. The true challenge in an elevator pitch is to get out all the important details as fast as possible, without losing context or going off point.
- Let there be a call to action: The reason for an elevator pitch – or any kind of pitch for that matter is to get an investment, mentorship or a new client so make sure your target knows what your goal is. If it is financial aid or an investment, state how much you want and the amount of stake in your company you are willing to give in exchange. If you’re a new client, let him/her know exactly what you want.
Even though you have a specific template for your elevator pitches, make sure they’re tailored to fit the particular subject in each instance. The more elevator pitches you give, the better you will eventually get.