For every entrepreneur, it represents a dream come true, but also a potential nightmare: the elevator pitch. No other situation is fraught with so much angst, yet filled with so much opportunity. Face to face with a possible customer, partner or investor, you have mere seconds to bring to life how you do what you do better than anyone else on the planet. No pressure, right?
But developing a winning elevator pitch doesn’t need to be stressful. Fortunately, this is a skill that can be learned. Here are seven tips I can offer to help you raise the value of your elevator pitch.
- Define your parameters. An elevator pitch should be no more than three or four short sentences. Seconds count when making a great first impression, and while you may want it to sound off-the-cuff, practice makes perfect.
- Explain who you are. Credentialize yourself. Explain your professional persona and don’t undersell your role. Make sure you identify yourself as the founder, CEO and inventor of your venture. Mention your unique credentials and the upper echelon of your customer base: “…and right now I provide services to 10 of the Fortune 100.”
- Describe your business in clear terms. Don’t talk about what your business does or makes but what it does for others. Add a fact-based statement to support your claims, such as the amount of money or time you save the average customer.
- Cut the jargon. Avoid industry terminology. You may be speaking to a person who knows little about your sector, but is looking for a great investment.
- Express EXPR +1.97% your vision. Where is your market headed, and what are the near-term and long-range goals for your business? Using a fact-based statement to highlight your growth potential proves you’re a smart entrepreneur.
- Focus on success, but not yours. This isn’t the time to talk about how you built your business from the ground up. Explain how you make other people successful. Emphasize the value you provide your clients and make that your closing line.
- Leave them wanting more. The purpose of the elevator pitch is to get you a meeting, much like the purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. Don’t put everything in the pitch; just pique their interest enough to get a prompt response.
Tell us: how has a properly crafted elevator pitch helped you? What tips can you offer others for creating the perfect pitch?