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The Elevator Pitch

Wednesday, February 06, 2013   By Mike Reddy


Ever been hit with a "What is it you do?" moment while sitting in a departure lounge, at a chance meeting or even in an elevator?

Knowing you have ½ a dozen floors to describe your business model can be overwhelming and leave you mumbling out a stream of nonsense that in no way describes your business.

DING! Business opportunity bungled!

Whether it's raising capital for a fledgling business, promoting a new product/service or letting a potential customer know about you, the power of the elevator pitch can't be underestimated.

The elevator pitch should be delivered in a short space of time, roughly thirty seconds to a minute. The goal is to infuse enough interest and value to encourage the conversation to continue outside of the elevator (metaphorically if not literally).

Entrepreneurs, sales managers and business owners especially should have their pitch down pat as the chances of a relationship developing is often based on the effectiveness of the elevator pitch.

Consider these four questions when creating your elevator pitch:

  • What is the product/service? Keep the answer brief and to the point.
  • What your market is and who your customers are?
  • How your product/service benefits or addresses the pain points of customers?
  • What competitive advantage does your business offer?

Squeezing all of that info into a one minute window may seem challenging, but remember that simple is better. Limit the pitch to 150-225 words or less, running approximately one minute or less.

Develop a hook, designed to pique the interest of your audience.

When you come to write your elevator speech, it will probably help if you break it into two parts.

The first part can describe what you do, and the second part can describe the benefits you offer clients.

For example: 'I customise IT systems (What I Do) to improve productivity and customer service (Benefit).

Remember though to include a description of your target market and how you do it better than your competitors. You might want to talk to us about creating your Unique Core Differentiator.

Without passion and dedication the pitch will fall flat - your audience needs to remain captivated. Test and practice your elevator speech, try it on yourself in front of the mirror. Try it on your team and on people with business sense that you trust.

End your pitch with a request. Exchange business cards, schedule a meeting or presentation or ask for a referral.

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.