Elevator pitches have made struggling entrepreneurs millionaires and changed lives forever. There are television shows such as “Shark Tank” and the “Dragon’s Den” where hopefuls give their elevator pitches in hopes of getting their one shot at entrepreneurial fame and fortune.
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a 30-90 second pitch based on yourself and/or your business, and it is based around the concept of getting the opportunity to pitch yourself to a decision maker while in an elevator, having only the time it takes for the elevator to go from the bottom floor of the building to the top.
As applied to a business opportunity, it consists of presenting a problem, how your business idea will fix it, the opportunity (market size and profitability), and what you need from a potential investor (money needed to start the business and what portion of the business you will give them for their money).
Today, elevator pitch competitions are gaining popularity around the country and at many universities within their College of Business. Prizes can include incubator space, large cash prizes, mentorship from successful entrepreneurs, and more.
Why do you need one even if you are not trying to pitch a business idea? This article highlights reasons and instances where you need one, even if you are not trying to start a business.
Is there any one of us who have not stumbled through an interview when asked “tell me about yourself,” or even more importantly, “why do you want this job?” Creating an elevator pitch for yourself will help you to easily address both of these questions.
Being able to talk to anyone is a learned skill, and knowing how to pitch yourself to someone new is a very important skill and can pay large dividends in the future. You do not want to give a 90-second pitch when you introduce yourself to someone new, but you do want to give them information on why they would want to get to know you further.
For networking, having a short relevant elevator pitch is a must. Treat every new connection the same as meeting your business idol in an elevator. You never know how the next person you meet will influence your future.
The best sales job you will ever do is convincing someone to marry you. A first date is usually a long, drawn out, sometimes painful, boring version of a two person elevator pitch. It is important to know your audience (know what his/her interests are and what they are looking for) and how you fill what they need, assuming you are that right fit for them.
Creating a pitch is about getting your point across in a clear and concise manner. In negotiations, being able to prove why you deserve what you are asking for is key. Elevator pitches often include specific statistics and visual aids, which are also helpful when negotiating a raise, a compromise, or any other type of agreement.
You only have a small amount of time to captivate an audience before they will most likely be a bored audience. Putting important and exciting pieces of information first, as in an elevator pitch, will help in public speaking. Many great speakers will start off with an elevator pitch highlighting the talk they are about to give.
Similar to public speaking mentioned above, it is also important to captivate your audience quickly in your writing. Starting off this article with “Elevator pitches have made struggling entrepreneurs millionaires and changed lives forever” was in hopes to captivate you and get you to read the rest of the article. I will also finish this article as you should finish your pitch, with an “ask,” also known as a call to action.
Create Your Elevator Pitch Now!
Now that you know why they are are important, it is time to create your own. Here are quick tips to help you in creating your own pitch.
1. Captivate your audience in the introduction
Ask yourself, “Why should someone remember me and care who I am?” If you were the editor of a newspaper and I wanted a job, I would start my pitch like this: “With just over 450 articles, I have been able to accomplish over 2 million views, been a top 1,000 writer on Yahoo! Voices in each of the past three years, and I have been published on over 10 websites. Hello, I am Michael Luchies, a freelance journalist, and I would love to speak to you about writing for your paper.”
2. Keep it short
This is an elevator pitch, not a train or airplane pitch. You have a very short window and your goal is to get the person to want more.
3. End with the ask
“I am available this Friday, would you be able to meet me for coffee to discuss working together?” That may seem like an aggressive ask, but if you don’t ask for something, you will not receive it. An alternate and less aggressive ask would be, “Would you be interested in setting up an interview?” Make sure to have some sort of ask or follow up to end your pitch with.