Entrepreneurs, whilst overflowing with ideas, are constantly short on two things – customers and resources. Crafting a well thought out and targeted elevator pitch, increases your chances of adding at least one or quite possibly both of these to your passionate endeavour. So, entrepreneurs need to maximise their opportunities to engage, and that’s where an elevator pitch comes in.
Crafting an Elevator Pitch
The best approach to take, when crafting an elevator pitch, is to imagine that you are taking the 20 second trip in a high rise elevator with some folk that you have just met. One of them invariably asks the question … “So what do you do for a living?”
Now, we have all been asked this a thousand times before and most entrepreneurs didn’t realise that this is actually an opportunity to either engage with a potential customer or the resources within their control. So, we respond casually, almost feigning disinterest with something like “Oh … I’m a graphic designer ”.
The person look up, nods politely and an opportunity to engage escapes with the opening of those lift doors. You gave yourself a label, they placed you into their preconceived box, an opportunity to engage was lost and most importantly … your passionate story remains untold.
Entrepreneurs need to be able to express what they are on about in less than the 20 seconds it takes to ride that elevator to the top. More importantly, the elevator pitch needs to be delivered in a way that invites engagement from everyone we met. Here are a few steps you could follow to help you craft yours.
How to craft your Elevator Pitch
- Our first line, in an elevator pitch, should aim to generate a response, either verbally or with a quizzical look, of “How do you do that?” With this response you have baited the hook that will potentially land the engagement. An entrepreneurial lecturer, like me, might say “I teach people to fly” or “I show people how to run like a Giselle”. Our graphic designer friend might say “I turn words into art” or “I help people believe”. What would you say about your business to engender this response?
- The follow up to the quizzical look or the “How do you do that?” question, is to complete the follow-up paragraph of your elevator pitch.
I specialize in …(what is it you do?) for … (what target market?) who … (have what key need?). I offer … (what product? Goods/service) that … (delivers what key benefit?) rather than … (what is that boring thing your competitors do?)
“Every day presents an opportunity to harvest the fruit of the past and plant seeds for tomorrow’s” … Peter Baskerville
Elevator Pitch – Example
I had a pre-packaged sandwich store once (actually a chain of them) and this is how I explained my business in an elevator pitch format;
I specialize in (providing lunch) for (office workers) who (want convenient healthy, fresh food and drinks). I offer (pre-prepared gourmet sandwiches/salads) that (can be purchased in a quarter of the time) that it takes to (purchase from those stressed-out made-to-order lunch stores).
One final twist that can sum it up all so well is to create a metaphor. Find a concept that is established and well known and match it with your story like:
“We are the Rolex of pedometers” … “We are the Mercedes Benz of lawn mowers” … “We are the McDonalds of sandwiches” … you get the picture.
It will pay handsomely to take some time to develop a benefit-rich, passionate elevator speech that you can use to engage the people you met and cause them to want to come back for more. It’s the benefits you provide for your customers that are the most important aspect of an elevator pitch. Go on … turn more chance meetings into happenings with a great elevator pitch.