Women In Business

You call that an elevator pitch?

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You’re at a business social event, and someone comes up to you with that welcome request: “Tell me about your company.”

Do you stammer: “Er… um… well, we get a great view from the office window.” Or is your explanation so detailed that ten minutes later you’re only halfway through your second point, when your now cross-eyed contact suddenly remembers their dog is sick and makes for the exit.

The elevator pitch

What you need here is known as an elevator pitch.

The idea is that, if you’re in an elevator with someone, you have till the doors open to get them interested. So what is an elevator pitch? And what isn’t it?

  • It’s a brief introduction, not a detailed description.
  • Ideally, it’ll be around 30 to 40 seconds long.
  • It’s not a sales pitch, it’s aimed to make the contact want to find out more.
  • It should be built around your unique selling point (USP).
  • It should end with an invitation to the contact to discuss their needs.
  • It should be memorable.
  • The ideal outcome of an elevator pitch is that the other person says: “That sounds interesting. Tell me more.”

 

What should be in an elevator pitch?

  • Tell them who you are. Sounds obvious, but that can be easy to miss out.
  • Tell them what you do. Not the hour-by-hour breakdown of your activities, but one or two sentences. I might for example say something like: “We’re a digital marketing agency, operating in the UK, Scandinavia and South-East Asia. We offer a full range of online marketing services, but concentrate especially on SEO, PPC and social media.”
  • Tell them your USP (unique selling point). It has to be unique, not just: “We’re dedicated to giving our clients a personal service.” It may be true, but every other company would say the same. Instead, I (again) for example might say: “I founded the company specifically to offer growing and large businesses affordable access to paid search by real experts in the field.”
  • Finish with a call to action. It could be a question about their needs (“What kind of digital marketing do you use?”) or an invitation to investigate further (“Is this something that might interest you?”). But leave the ball in their court.

Practice, practice, practice

Practice your elevator pitch endlessly, till you can do it in your sleep — though try to be awake when you’re giving it!

The idea isn’t that you simply recite the pitch, but that you know it well enough to customise what you say for each individual you meet.

Learn from your successes and failures. Your elevator pitch should be a never-ending work in progress, to take the elevator to the top floor.

About Saija Mahon

Saija Mahon is a business owner and a business woman, running three businesses with international offices across the UK, Scandinavia and Asia. She’s been an entrepreneur for over five years now and running businesses is her absolute passion.

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