The elevator pitch, those few sentences which convey your company across to potential customers and investors. Do you have it right? Can you explain what your product does in language that is simple, yet presents the unique value of your product? You may think that you already have your elevator pitch perfected, but even if it is, test it, refine it, and make it better. The pitch will dictate whether you get some love in an elevator, or just get shot down. This elevator pitch guide will ensure the former.
So what is it? Wikipedia defines the elevator pitch as “An elevator pitch or elevator speech is a short persuasive speech about a person, an organization or group, or an idea for a product, service, or project. An elevator pitch is often a part of a marketing communications, brand, or public relations program. Good elevator pitches are succinct and compelling to their target audience. The name reflects the idea that an elevator pitch should be possible to deliver in the time span of an elevator ride, approximately thirty seconds to two minutes.”
Let’s leave the two minutes aside, and focus on the 30 seconds. The typical interest span of an adult human is eight seconds, so if you don’t get their attention in those first 8 seconds, or let’s shorten it to even 5 seconds, chances are you’ve lost your audience. So.
Be succinct. Keep your opener to a sentence, at max two. This sentence should convey 1. What you do 2. What you need, and if you can, 3. Who you are.
“Hi, I’m Jacek a founder at Ludlow. Ludlow helps small teams almost seamlessly create and send newsletters with almost no input, saving hours monthly for marketers. Would you mind introducing me to someone at Codecademy, I think they could really use it, I love their content but it’s so sporadic.”
What did we do here. 1. Introduction, you know who I am. 2. What we do, and 3. What we need.
Have a hook. Let’s face it, we’re always being pitched something and it can get a bit frustrating, and we tune out.
A hook is something that grasps your audience’s attention. In this case your audience can be a group of people or one person. And your hook should be adjusted for them. Meaning, if you’re pitching to an investor your hook will differ than if you’re pitching to a potential client. The hook is basically the value that you give the other party. What do we mean.
The pitch continues:
“Aside from new feature emails I’d love to get tips from the team on how I can make myself a better developer.” this hook is targeted at someone who has a relationship with Codecademy. I provide them a reason to reach out to their contact, “make better content”.
“You know, in fact I don’t get newsletters from Flybridge, I’m sure you guys share all sorts of interesting content internally, it’d be great so read some of that.”
Here the hook is adjusted for the investor. I’m not pitching them my company, I’m pitching them value that they can get out of my product, I want them to try it.
It’s all about you. For the next few seconds the world really is revolving around you, so knock the audience dead. Why should they listen to you? Who are you that you know your subject matter? Can they confide in you, and recommend you? Be sure to answer these questions.
The pitch continuities:
“As former CMO of a growth stage company, and as a partner at SWARM, I know first hand how difficult is can be to build brand when you’re working on 20,000 other things. This is why we built Ludlow, for ourselves, and it’s already led to a few projects for our digital agency.”
You. 1. Establish authority by knowing your subject matter and market, and 2. Show how whatever you’re pitching has already led to something good for someone.
Seal the deal. If you and other party are really in an elevator, chances are your 30 seconds are up, or almost up. In speed dating, probably the same. If you’re taking part in a pitch contest and have five minutes, let’s hope you brought slides. But for the sake of argument we’re in an elevator.
The pitch concludes:
“What do you think? Can I get that intro to Codecademy’s CMO? And I’d love for you to try it as well, I can swing by sometime next week and show you guys how Ludlow works. It’ll take 15 minutes.”
Obviously, there may be cultural differences in the way you approach people and where, but get this message across nonetheless. Set up a meeting, a phone call, a chat, what have you, and when you go meet whoever it was you were pitching to, bring materials, you’ll now have time to elaborate on your product.
Rinse and Repeat. There’s a reason we have a saying that goes practice makes perfect. Practice, do it in front of a mirror, on camera, record yourself, time yourself. Remember, don’t be over anxious, test it out on colleagues and friends. Take feedback, rework and repeat the process again until it’s solid as a rock.
Do this, and you’ll be pitching like a pro in no time, and just for fun, let’s see what the whole pitch looks like.
Elevator Pitch Guide Final Product:
“Hi, I’m Jacek a partner at Ludlow. Ludlow helps small teams almost seamlessly create and send newsletters with almost no input, saving hours monthly for marketers. Would you mind introducing me to someone at Codecademy, I think they could really use it, I love their content but it’s so sporadic. Aside from new feature emails I’d love to get tips from the team on how I can make myself a better developer. As former CMO of a growth stage company, and as a partner at SWARM, I know first hand how difficult is can be to build brand when you’re working on 20,000 other things. This is why we built Ludlow, for ourselves, and it’s already led to a few projects for our digital agency. What do you think? Can I get that intro to Codecademy’s CMO? And I’d love for you to try it as well, I can swing by sometime next week and show you guys how Ludlow works. It’ll take 15 minutes”
Meaning back to the drawing board on this one, and it sounded a bit off. But for the sake of exercise it was written along with this article.
And that’s that. As a bonus, stay far far far away from getting into technical details with your audience, we’ve covered it before, and we’ll say it again. The most important thing is to get your message across concisely.