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The Importance of a Proper Elevator Pitch
By David Moss, Founder and CEO Thasis    Jun 03 2020
How many of us would go see a movie without first being allured by the trailer? Would we buy a book without reading the short synopsis on the inside flap? Can you imagine watching a new TV show without first being tempted by the short network promos? Of course not! By the same token, how can you expect someone you just met to take interest in your business if you can’t grab their attention in a few sentences? For any company, service, or product looking to attract new opportunities – be they investors, customers, employees, or potential partners – a solid elevator pitch can be the key to getting valuable new relationships off the ground.

So many companies neglect the need to craft a clear, concise promotional statement and ensure that all their employees know it inside and out. But you and all your team members are ambassadors of your brand, and the opportunity may arise any place, any time, to introduce someone new to what you do. That window may close as quickly as it opened.  It is critical that everyone in the company is armed with the same brief but bold statement to pique a new contact’s interest. 
The elevator pitch needs to grab the audience, reel them in, and keep them on the line long enough to make a memorable impact. To be effective, it must be clear, credible, and leave them hungry for more. The challenge is how to develop an effective elevator pitch that is sufficient to suit all needs, does not sound preachy or like a sales pitch, and differentiates you? It is not as simple as throwing some ideas out and putting them into words.

The development of a proper elevator pitch is the same as a sound legal argument; every word, every phrase must add value to the explanation and flow smoothly from you to the recipient. Ensuring this outcome requires a well-thought-out approach.

Here are some basic tips for building an elevator pitch:
  • Open with a line that is compelling and highlights a real and important problem, move on quickly to explaining how you solve that problem uniquely, ensuring that your benefits and differentiators are strongly highlighted, and then closes with your substantiation or proof. Be compelling enough to prompt the receiver to ask questions.
  • Ensure the pitch reflects the vision, mission, and values of the company while distilling it down to who you are/what you do and your unique selling proposition. If you are successful in delivering the initial pitch, your engaged listener will give you the opportunity to add more detail via those follow-up questions.
  • Present your pitch in a conversational voice. Too often, people default to autobot mode and give answers that fall flat or seem fake (or both). Remember, you are talking to your audience, not down to them, so don’t make it seem too technical or one-directional. The sooner you can engage them in a back-and-forth dialogue, the more likely you are to extend the connection beyond that brief encounter.
  • Make your pitch flexible enough to be altered slightly depending on your audience, without losing strength or consistency. It may differ if presenting to a potential customer, for instance, versus a prospective investor. Develop the pitch based on the profile of each type of person you can imagine addressing, acknowledging the outcomes you would want from each encounter.
  • Train yourself and your team to become fluent in delivering the elevator pitch and agile enough to adjust it on the fly as the situation demands. Write your pitches out and practice them repeatedly. Run role-playing exercises with everyone in your company. Remember that each person will add their own personality, not saying everything word-for-word.
  • Convey enthusiasm, confidence, and excitement.  Remember the spoken word is only part of your messaging.  Body language and tonal inflections are just as important as the words.  Look the audience in the eye. Speak with a smile on your face and with intensity. Allow the listener to feel your passion as you relate your story. 
  • Anticipate and practice the follow-up. If you are successful, your pitch will lead the listener to ask you questions. Develop the FAQ for your pitch (each FAQ answer should follow all the same guidance as the pitch itself) and ensure you are smooth and to the point with the answers again inviting the listener to want more.

In this world of abbreviated social posts, email over-abundance, quick swipes to the left or right for romance, and 10-minute Internet episodes, we are being increasingly forced to master the art of earning attention in a few seconds. Getting as much information across in as short a time as possible may be the difference between new and failed opportunities.

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