How good is your elevator pitch?


Be Concise. An elevator pitch is not the hurried presentation of a full-blown business plan but it is a clear, concise and well-practiced description of your company. It must be delivered in the time it would take to ride up an elevator in other words, no longer than 60 seconds. That’s time for about 150-225 words.  
It’s an introduction, an overview and a pitch and a short one at that, meant to capture the attention The objective of the first ten or fifteen seconds is to have those listening want to listen to the next forty-five or fifty seconds differently, more intently than they would have otherwise.
Preparation and practice are key.  Preparation is key to confidence so don’t ever wing it. A first impression only happens once. Respect your audience enough to prepare well; that includes arming yourself with succinct answers to the toughest questions that might follow your pitch. Be flexible enough to be guided by your listeners and their reactions to what you’re saying. If they interrupt with questions, make sure you answer these. Clear speaking reflects clear thinking. Even if your pitch is one you have used regularly, get some feedback from a colleague or a trusted source on how to improve it.
Record yourself, most phones or PC’s have a recording device. Highlight the good stuffListen and read through what you’ve recorded and written. Then either highlight or circle the phrases that hook you with clear, powerful, and visual words. Let it sitCome back to what you’ve written with fresh eyes and ears the next day or later on in the same day.
Know what you want to achieve. Be clear in your own mind, consider what you’re selling/marketing and/or who you’re selling to and obviously, this can change.  Think about the bigger messages that help set your company or organisation apart and make sure those are relevant to the here and now.
Know your target. Your pitch is far more likely to be compelling if you know your target and their needs. There are many things you could say about what your business has to offer, and you may be tempted to only reveal what’s worked in the past. What is your desired outcome? You may have different pitches depending on different objectives. For instance, do you want to: make a sale, gain a prospect, enlist support for an idea, or earn a referral.
Knowing your business, product, service, or issue well is one thing, but how do you convey excitement and spark interest to those outside your organization? What do you highlight? What do you leave out?
Grab the listener’s attention and vary your pitch. Vary the theme of your pitch – one-week use testimonials, next perhaps statistics about how you’ve saved your clients/customers or however you measure the value to bring to your target market.  Highlight a different aspect of your work. Using current affairs is a great way to vary your pitch.
You might try developing a tagline to raise interest or make an analogy between you and a well-known company.
Keep it short. Even under the best of circumstances people have limited attention spans. An adult’s attention span is eight seconds, so be sure to give just enough information (and more importantly perhaps the right information) so that after only hearing a sentence or two, someone knows what you do.
Keep it fresh it should grow and change with your current business needsEvery business grows and changes, and your pitch needs to grow and change with it. You can have the most creative logo, the slickest slogan, the most dazzling brochures, and the most cutting-edge Web site, but if your elevator pitch is out of date, you’re missing one of your most important opportunities to “brand” be sure to update and refresh your pitch.
Continue to improve. Over time, always be on the listen for phrases that you think could make your elevator pitch clearer and make a bigger impact. And then test it out. Every once in a while you will probably benefit by starting from scratch because things always change, you, your business, your goals, and your clients’ needs.
Keep it real – don’t use slang or jargon, use language that everyone understands, bring it down to the man on the street. There isn’t time for members to ask, you’ll lose your audience if the listener doesn’t understand you and you’ll have lost your opportunity to hook them.  Use words that are powerful and strong to grab their attention and use words that create a visual image in your listener’s mind, this will make your message memorable. Do make your 60-second pitch sound effortless, conversational, and natural, be sincere, as it’s like a window to your personality.
Solve a Problem – don’t give a list of services, instead focus on the problem you can solve for the listener and the solution you are offering. Talk about the client you recently went the extra mile for, the problem that looked impossible until you got involved, talk about the buyer who was thrilled with the result. This is not the format to begin a story or dive too deeply into detail. So If you aren’t solving a problem or filling a need, you’re in for a tough sell or your audience has to ask, “How does this help me?” or “Why should I care?” you’re in trouble.
Let your passion show.  Show the fire in the belly and your passion for succeeding. Let your listener hear the commitment in your voice and your words and let them see your involvement via direct eye contact and confident body language. If you want to move someone to take action, you have to show them you care.  Let your enthusiasm show, negativity is a killer and it shows!
Conclude With a Call to Action. Always end your pitch with a call to action, but recognize that different audiences prompt different requests. You might ask members if they know anyone who would be interested, anyone who’s working on something similar, or anyone who’s working in an appropriate business who you might partner with or do they know someone from a specific company that you’re looking to get into. 
Test having different calls to action  – test as your first call might be an irresistible offer and can’t be improved upon!
Be specific with your referral request.
Listen. When seeking to build strong networks, remember it can be just as important to listen as it is to talk.
If you’re cold-calling and get through to voicemail don’t be afraid to leave your Elevator Speech as a voice message. You may be even more successful getting action from the speech than if you had talked to that person personally!
Lorna Burroughes
Thrive – developing connections for growth

If you want to keep up to date with networking hints and tips or would like to find out more about how to make business connections and networking in Norwich and Norfolk, please email enquiries@thrive.buzz or ring us on 01603 597727