The idea is simple. You get into an elevator with a hotshot investor willing to listen to your business. What do you say? The term elevator pitch has gained popularity in the business world and remains at its center. Its usage has, however, expanded from just being used as an investment pitch to being used as a sales pitch. The reality is nobody has so much time on their hands. Today’s users want an elevator pitch that sells them on your services in the least amount of time. Today’s investors want an elevator pitch that sells them on your business module and sales funnel. Today’s top talents want an elevator pitch that convinces them to work for you. In a generation where time is money, honing an elevator pitch is probably one of the most important things you can do. But to do so, you need to truly understand the elevator pitch, beginning with its history.
There is no single point of origin for the elevator pitch. Nobody knows who came up with the idea. But there are a few origin stories flowing around. One of them is attributed to Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso. As the story goes, Caruso was a senior editor at the Vanity Fair publication. He was trying to pitch content ideas to his then editor-in-chief, Rosenzweig. However, Caruso could never quite get enough time with Rosenzweig to pitch her a complete idea. So, he started locating her in places she could not escape, like the elevator. Caruso would pitch content ideas during the elevator ride, giving birth to the term elevator pitch.
While Caruso’s version of the story is undoubtedly the most famous one, there are more than a few propagators of the elevator pitch. Guy Kawasaki, for instance, is one of them. He was an early employee at Apple during the Steve Jobs era. Kawasaki has often used the term to describe the art of pitching anything in a short amount of time. In his book, The Art of the Start 2.0, Kawasaki gives a 10/20/30 rule for elevator pitches. According to this rule, an elevator pitch should not last more than 10 minutes, should have 20 slides, and font size of 30.
Understanding the different aspects of an elevator pitch:
An elevator pitch is meant to last the duration of the elevator ride. This means it has to be short, precise, and to the point. Nobody wants to hear a long-winded sales pitch, especially not in an elevator. This doesn’t mean that your pitch should be void of any substance. Quite the opposite. An elevator pitch is intended to give the listener a general idea about your business or product. It should also be engaging enough to make them want to know more.
An elevator pitch is not just about selling your product or service. It’s about leaving a lasting impression on the person you’re pitching to. This means that your pitch should be memorable and interesting. You want the person you’re pitching to remember you and your company long after they’ve stepped out of the elevator.
The most important thing to remember while crafting an elevator pitch is that it should be flexible. You should be able to mold your pitch according to the person you’re pitching to. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work here. The reason for this is simple. An elevator pitch is meant to establish a connection between you and the person you’re pitching to. This connection can only be made if the pitch is personalized.
Some tips on how to make your elevator pitch more effective:
1) Know your audience: This cannot be stressed enough. If you don’t know who you’re pitching to, your chances of making a connection are slim. Take the time to do your research and find out as much as possible about the person you’re pitching to. This will give you a better idea of how to tailor your pitch.
2) Keep it short and sweet: Remember, you only have a few minutes to make an impression. Make sure that your pitch is short and to the point. Avoid using jargon and wordy sentences. Get straight to the point and leave room for questions.
3) Tell a story: Stories are a great way to connect with people. Use your pitch as an opportunity to tell a story about your company or product. This will help the person you’re pitching to remember you and your business long after the elevator ride is over.
4) Be prepared for questions: An elevator pitch is not a one-way street. You should be prepared to answer any questions that the person you’re pitching to might have. This shows that you’re confident in what you’re saying and willing to engage in a dialogue.
5) Follow up: Always follow up with the person you’ve pitched to. Send them an email or give them a call a few days after your meeting. This will help keep your company top of mind and increase the chances of doing business with them in the future.
An elevator pitch is great for getting your foot in the door with potential clients or investors. But crafting the perfect pitch can be a challenge. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be sure to make a lasting impression.