Now the thing to remember is that elevator pitches don’t always have to happen in elevators. Instead, having a well-crafted short speech about yourself and your business is something you should be able to pull out and adapt to numerous situations. This could be:
- Trying to raise capital
- Cold calling
- Even bumping into old friends
As such, the length of your elevator pitch can vary from anything between 30 seconds to 2 minutes. You might therefore find it useful to practice both a concise and extended version that you can draw on at a moment’s notice.
So let’s get down to our…
- Who, what, and who again. In just a couple of sentences you want to say WHO you are, WHAT you/ your business does and WHO you do it for. Keep it short and jargon free. For example:
“I’m Georgia, I work as a social media and PR executive at the SBPR agency in Cornwall.”
- Add value. Chances are there’s a lot of people out in the world of work that are doing something similar to you. So what makes you different? You need to give your audience a reason to keep listening, adding credibility and explaining why your idea is great.
This might mean using data to illustrate a gap in the market, a brief anecdote about your recent success or what you do differently to your competitors. For example:
“We work with a variety of local and national businesses, many of whom have been retained clients for years. We always like to have face-to-face meetings with current or prospective clients to help get a real feel for the company, the people who make it and their stories. I’ve recently increased the number of ‘Likes’ on one company’s Facebook page by nearly 400% and have secured national coverage for an award winning holiday cottage company that we represent in Cornwall.”
Try not to brag or over-sell yourself though. To see what we mean, take note on how NOT to do it by looking at the contestant’s videos from this year’s The Apprentice.
- This is about what you want to get out of the elevator pitch and can be in one of two forms, either use an open ended question about your listener’s business that will come back to how you could help them, for example:
“What kind of coverage in the media have you had for your new product recently?”
OR, more directly ask them to make some sort of commitment to whatever it is you’re pitching for – i.e. a job, new contacts, funding, business, sales etc. – for example:
“Why don’t you follow us on Twitter, we’re @suebradburypr, and we’ll keep you up to date with all our latest news, it’s also a great resource for finding out about the work we’re doing for our clients, what’s happening in Cornwall and the PR industry. It’d be a great way for us to keep in contact.”
Those are the bones of an elevator pitch. Now all you need to do is….
- Put it all together.
- Think about how you could extend or shorten it.
- And how you will adapt it to different situations.
- Think about what questions you may be asked in response.
- And how you will answer them.
- Practice – preferably to someone who knows little about what you do so that you can be sure it’s jargon free.
- Keep it updated – you want to draw on relevant information and examples so stay aware of your company’s latest developments and what the competition is doing.