Okay, okay – so we don’t often find ourselves pressured to explain our business concept as an elevator takes us from the first to the fifth floor (although you never know…). But the art of the “elevator pitch” is as important as ever, and you might be surprised by how often landing a new client hinges on your ability to describe your service, clearly, concisely, and compellingly. For small businesses that don’t have substantial national or regional exposure, this is especially important.
Below, take a look at a few tips that will help you master the art of the elevator pitch.
1. Give an info-packed intro.
Start with your name, your role, and your company. “Hi, I’m Sam Stewart and I am the CEO of ThoughtWorks” might sound less-than-imaginative, but it plugs all of the essentials in right at the beginning.
2. Explain your service… With a hook.
Keep your explanation short and sweet, but end it with a hook that explains why your company stands out. If you run a clothing company, say “I run a clothing company; all of our items are USA-made with organic materials.” There are a million other clothing companies in the world, so you need to tell your audience why yours is special. Don’t enter into a monologue about the thread-count and beet-derived dyes that you use. Stay on-point and direct, but end the statement with a subtle plug that answers the question “Why Are We Special?”
3. Explain why you are valuable.
Why should your audience care about you? What are you going to do for them? Think about why your service or product matters, both on an individual and communal level. Potential clients want to know what’s in it for them before they shell out a dollar. Do you offer them protection or security? Education or high quality? What can they take away from their experience with your business? Something to keep in mind: In today’s economy, people appreciate value. Try to think of a way that your service will help their wallets. Is your product affordable? Is it of a better quality than your competitors’?
4. Prove your worth.
Do you have a story about a satisfied comment? Did you just finish up a project that you could direct them to? Did someone recently publish a positive write-up on your business? If so, wrap up your sentence with an anecdote. Keep it simple and factual: “The San Francisco Examiner recently named us as one of the city’s top 5 startups” will be much more effective than a verbose and vague testimonial about how awesome your business is.
Armed with the 30-second elevator pitch, you can sell your business to anyone, anywhere. Whether you’re chatting on the phone, standing in line at the grocery store, or (you guessed it) riding on an elevator, you’ll be ready to showcase the finer points of your company.
Image credit: [Flickr/Jose Barras]