How to write an elevator pitch

Pitch anything in 30sec or less!

Don’t do it like this guy.

Recently I was on LinkedIn and read the description in someone’s profile. If you’re wondering how to write an elevator pitch that’s spot on – don’t do it like him.

bad-elevator-pitch-structure

What do you think about this description?

It’s indeed a quite common description. You can read this kind of text on tons of websites, LinkedIn profiles, even in brochures etc.! I really appreciate someone made the effort to write these lines, but honestly, I had to read it around five times until I halfway understood what it’s about. That’s not a really great pitch! It has no clear structure, is super ego-centric and as a user I simply don’t get why I should even connect with this person.

In the following article I’ll explain to you first a few general things that are important to keep in mind and then show you with the example above how to build a better elevator pitch structure.

 

More than just a pitch in the elevator

everything-is-a-pitch

Most of us, when thinking about an elevator-pitch or any pitch really, typically have some kind of meeting-situation in mind. One person that’s in front of his potential client or investor with very limited time to sell his product, service or idea, right? In fact, it‘s so much more. We‘re pitching everywhere. If we‘re aware of it, or not.

We’re pitching on our websites, on our LinkedIn-profiles, obviously at networking events, maybe even in an actual elevator and in so many other places. Everywhere where we want to promote ourselves and our businesses, we’re giving a pitch. And this pitch needs to be spot on!

How do we manage that?

 

Get invited to the next round

  • The basic requirements for a successful elevator-pitch: It grabs the attention of your opponent and sparks the curiosity in him to wanting to learn more about you and your offer!
  • The most common mistake people do while pitching: They try to tell everything!

An elevator pitch doesn’t need to contain your whole life story or every technical detail. That – if necessary – is for the talk afterwards.

I’d recommend you to only have one goal for your pitch: To get invited to the next round.

elevator-pitch-goals

  • On LinkedIn the next round could be for the prospect to read further on your profile, to connect with you, send you a message or check out your website.
  • On your website the next round could be to sign-up with an email-address to get more detailed information or to fill in the contact-form and get in touch with you.
  • At a networking event your elevator-pitch should lead to other people wanting to talk with you afterwards.
  • And if you actually do meet your ideal client in an elevator, the next round should simply be to get invited to a meeting where you can discuss everything in more detail.

Again, don’t try to hard sell your offer immediately to someone who has never heard of you before. Instead, use a thought-through elevator pitch structure and only aim for one goal: Get their permission to tell them more.

So how do we manage to get to the next round?

Like I said before: Grab the attention & Spark the curiosity to wanting to know more about you/your offer.

 

Make your message relevant

It all starts with knowing as much about the person in front of you as you possibly can. If you already have clearly defined buyer personas, then you have a huge advantage now as you’ll know exactly what they respond to. To get someone’s attention, your message needs to be relevant for this person!

And… How do you show someone that what you have to offer is relevant for them?

You show them how either your offer

Increases their well-being
or
Reduces their pain

Think about that for a second. Increase their well-being or reduce their pain. It always comes down to either of these two options.

Follow these simple steps for your elevator pitch structure:

 

How to write an Elevator-Pitch: Structure

#1 ADDRESS THE PROBLEM / OPPORTUNITY

If you meet someone new, obviously first quickly introduce yourself in one sentence with who you are and what you do. But don’t get too much into detail here and instead start your pitch by addressing the challenge your opponent might be facing or the opportunity you’re giving to him. Getting back to our example above, unfortunately I don’t know anything about his ideal client, so I can’t really get spot on with my message here immediately. To give you an example, I’ll simply make some assumptions. His opening line could be:

“Do you have a great idea for a web application but not the technical know-how to bring it to life?”

This would definitely be more likely to grab someone’s attention than the ego-centric start of his first lines. Once you have the attention, spark his or her curiosity:

 

#2 SOLUTION AND VALUE PROPOSITION

“As an experienced software developer, I can not only develop the web application for you, but also have the commercial know-how that’s needed to make your idea a success!”

Now this value here is super vague because I don’t know enough about him. The more specific you can get here, the more successful your pitch will be. E.g. “I can show you how to save 300gbp a year on your electricity bill, without needing to change your usage behaviour.“ would be an amazingly specific value proposition.

If you’re talking to the right audience, I’m sure by now they’re already interested. So now, feed them some magic:

 

#3 UNDERLYING MAGIC / SECRET SAUCE

“Using a combination of the right technologies like Java, HTML5, Oracle, MySQL, etc. we’ll build a solid foundation for your project that’s reliable and user-friendly at the same time.”

The idea of this step is simply to show that you’re very knowledgeable about what you’re doing and that you’ve really thought this through. Your opponent doesn’t need to actually understand what you’re saying here. He or she only needs to think: “What a smartass. I need this guy.”

Now give your elevator pitch some more credibility.

 

#4 PROOF OF CONCEPT

“In the past 19years of my career I’ve already been working successfully with a number of high profile brands and also helped small, local businesses and tech startups to realise their ambitions.”

In this example it’s not ideal because it’s not really a proof of concept but the closest it get’s to it.

Here you have a moment in your elevator-pitch where you can quickly brag about your experiences and your successes. But again – they need to be relevant! Whatever numbers or facts you can mention that proof your offer really delivers what you promise, are appropriate. Tell the number of clients you’ve been working with, maybe even name some of them. Quickly tell by how much a certain KPI of a client increased since you’re working with him, etc.

 

#5 CALL TO ACTION

“How about we sit together over a cup of coffee and discuss what it would take for you to bring your idea to life? Just send me a message!”

Make one clear statement what your prospect should do next. This totally depends on you and your business but try and keep the barrier low in the beginning. You don’t want to scare anyone off.

Let’s have a look how everything comes together!

 

BEFORE:

bad-elevator-pitch-structure

AFTER:

“Do you have a great idea for a web application but not the technical know-how to bring it to life?

As an experienced software developer, I can not only develop the web application for you, but also have the commercial know-how that’s needed to make your idea a success! Using a combination of the right technologies like Java, HTML5, Oracle, MySQL, etc. we’ll build a solid foundation for your project that’s reliable and user-friendly at the same time. In the past 19years of my career I’ve already been working successfully with a number of high profile brands and also helped small, local businesses and tech startups to realise their ambitions.

How about we sit together over a cup of coffee and discuss what it would take for you to bring your idea to life? Just send me a message!”

Already much more convincing, isn’t it? To be fair, as a software developer that’d probably already be perfectly enough. At least I don’t know any skilled developer myself who as a problem getting new projects. So if that’s you, you might be able to stop here already to read about how to write an elevator pitch. But what about highly competitive markets?

 

How to deliver or write an elevator pitch in highly competitive markets

If you’re in a highly competitive market, then chances are that you’re not the only one using this kind of structure for their elevator-pitch. So how do you make sure you are the one who stays in mind?

USP

If you already have a great strategic basis with an outstanding USP, then this is definitely the time to mention it. If you don’t, then the step-by-step guide on my homepage (Small Business Marketing Strategy) will help you get there.

But even if you don’t have a USP yet, because that’s not the topic today… there are methods with which you can make your message be better remembered than others!

I quickly want to show you three different techniques you can use:

  1. Comparisons
  2. Metaphors
  3. Stories

For example, I myself am a marketing consultant. Now there are tons of other marketing consultants out there and chances are, they all sound more or less the same. So here’s what I use in my own communication:

 

COMPARISON TO EXPLAIN HOW I WORK

For this purpose you only need to watch the few seconds from 2:02 – 2:25 :).

“I’m like a personal trainer for your marketing. I don’t do a one-time surgery on you to reduce your belly fat but instead help you to get your marketing in shape by yourself and also keep this shape in the long run. I give you advice, feedback, motivation and hold you accountable for progress but you’re the one who needs to sweat through the leg work. I understand this is not the most comfortable approach but therefore ensures that you’ll keep on winning new clients in future even without my help. “

By comparing what you do to a different area of life, you’ll create a picture and emotions in your opponents’ head, that will make him remember you more than others.

In addition to that, I also use a metaphor to explain what Inbound Marketing is: The Gentleman-Approach of Marketing.

 

METAPHOR TO EXPLAIN WHAT INBOUND MARKETING IS

LinkedIn-Pitch-Metaphor

This is a screenshot from my LinkedIn Profile. In case we aren’t connected yet, here you go: Connect with me on LinkedIn.

Again, by using a metaphor to explain something, it becomes much more visual in your opponents’ head and he or she will more easily remember it.

And last but not least:

 

STORIES

We all love good stories. We all remember stories. And the great thing about stories: There are so many different types of stories you could tell. Personal stories, success stories of clients, even imaginative stories. There are basically no boundaries.

It can be as simple as telling us why you do what you do. Tell us what you’re passionate about.
– If it is relevant! It needs to be relevant regarding your offer and it needs to be relevant to your audience.

Now the following few lines, I’ve up to this moment actually not been telling anywhere. But it just popped to my mind and maybe I’ll start using them occasionally. I believe it would help people to remember me even better.

“I love diversity. I love people who have dreams, ideas and goals. I love it when someone isn’t simply accepting the norm but wants to design his or her life in his own way. And I love people who not only talk about their ideas but actively work hard on making them a reality. That’s why I’m self-employed and that’s why I love working with small businesses. I want to help these small business owners to make their dreams come true. As cheesy as it sounds.”

 

Conclusion

I hope this article helped you and you now have a better idea of how to write an elevator pitch. Use these simple five steps to structure your pitch and add in some elements like comparisons, metaphors or stories to really stick to the mind of your audience. Good luck!

P.S. If you need help with this, you can simply use me as your Sparring Partner if you’d like to. Check out more information here.

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