July 20, 2021 | 5-minute read (972 words)
When it comes to capturing the attention of customers or investors, you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression. This is when an elevator speech can help!
An elevator speech (also known as the elevator pitch) is a short, prepared speech that simply and succinctly conveys what your business does. It can help you earn an opportunity to have a deeper conversation with a potential customer or investor about what you can provide, which could lead to a sale or help get funding.
Developing an elevator speech is crucial for startups, principally early-stage ventures. However, not every entrepreneur succeeds in getting people to listen to their pitch. Despite having a thorough understanding of their industry, the majority of them veer off course and miss the mark.
Thus, how do you go about writing a brilliant elevator speech for your business that will pique your audience's interest and make them want to learn more?
Make it brief
The term "elevator speech" refers to the idea of running into a potential client or investor in an elevator and needing to get your message across before the door closes and you miss the opportunity. Since the journey is just about 30 seconds long, your pitch should be no longer than that.
The goal is to keep the pitch concise and clear so you can use it whenever you run across your prospects at a networking event, trade show, conference, or social gathering (people who are generally pressed for time).
Know the elements
Your elevator speech should only contain information that someone could acquire while riding in the elevator with you, as the term implies. It should be a short one that clearly explains what you do and sell. But keep in mind that it shouldn’t be all about you.
Split the speech into three parts.
1) What is the benefit: The reason a consumer could want the product or service you are selling is the “benefit”. The impact that it will have on your potential customer is what matters more than the features. Consider the following scenario - Your company produces inventory management software that assists small-scale manufacturers in keeping track of their resources or raw materials. For you, this could be an excellent elevator pitch - “Small manufacturing enterprises utilize our solution to cut their inventory expenditures by more than 50%.”
2) What is the USP: Include your “USP” (unique selling proposition) in your elevator pitch. What motivates the customer to buy your product or service is the USP. Identify what differentiates you, the idea behind your product or service, and your company as a whole. Always include facts and figures. Consider the following scenario – If your company is into software development, this could be your pitch - "Our approach is unique; unlike most software developers, we approach each company to know their specific requirement. While this takes a little longer, 97% of our clients are satisfied with the beta version of the software we develop for them."
3) What tactic should be used: In an elevator speech, many entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to seal the deal. Instead, they should aim for fact-gathering meetings with their potential clients so that they can better evaluate the requirements and make informed judgments. Consider the following scenario - If you offer online accounting services, to say - “As you are interested, what is the best way to get on your calendar?” is a good way to end your elevator speech than to say - “I can let you know the price quotation for our accounting services over email”.
Make it simple and organized
Your elevator speech should be a succinct summary of your company. However, you may use industry jargon if it adds value to your speech and you feel confident your potential customer is familiar with such terminology. Focus on delivering a flawless pitch. Pay attention to the problem, the solution that can be offered, and what sets your product or service apart from the competition.
Use bullet points or a short outline to create the summary. Make sure the elements you include in your pitch is logical.
Polish your pitch
Step 1: Identify your target market.
You need to first figure out who your target market is to chart out your elevator speech. When you know who has the problem you are trying to solve, you get clarity about the market size. Then try to and estimate the average spend. If you talk about market segments, market size, and the average amount spend by consumers, it will capture the interest of your potential client. Numbers are critical, and it makes your pitch accurate and impressive.
Step 2: Put it all together.
While drafting your speech, consider the key elements - the benefit, USP, and the tactic. Maintain consistency and end on a powerful note to pique the interest of listeners, and make them want to learn more about your proposition.
Step 3: Practice your speech.
Invest some time perfecting your elevator pitch. This will make it sound like a smooth conversation rather than a sales pitch. Practice until you are confident and it feels natural.
Step 4: Add a personal touch.
Personalize your speech, make changes based on feedback. It's fine to adjust your pitch as you feel more comfortable with it; the goal is to avoid seeming too formulaic.
Step 5: Be confident.
Even the strongest elevator pitch can be ineffective if the speaker lacks confidence in delivery. While giving your pitch, keep your posture straight and smile. A strong speaking voice demonstrates conviction. So be confident and go for it!
You must invest time and effort to draft, review, and refine your “award-winning” elevator pitch. Once you are ready with one, practice and deliver with confidence. You never know when an opportunity will knock your door!