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7 Steps to an Elevator Pitch That Actually Works (With Examples)
7 June, 2017
A great elevator pitch doesn’t simply just happen; it has to be planned. It is essential that any company wishing to reach its goals — whether it’s securing investments or finding clients — pay attention to this simple, yet effective, tool.
Whether you intend to deliver your great elevator pitch as a written presentation or in a speech, the rules remain the same. Keep it short, keep it on point and keep it interesting. Almost every time, a 30-40 second speech says more than a 3-minute ramble.
Head to the elevator pitch examples below to see for yourself.
But first, what is an elevator pitch? Let’s define exactly what this is and why delivering a truly great elevator pitch is so important. The term refers to the ability to describe what you or your company can do for potential customers or investors.
You might have the best product in the market, but if you cannot convince people of that fact, then you have no business model. It terms of simple definition, it means a succinct and persuasive sales pitch.
You need to keep it simple, keep it short, and keep it on point. It’s supposed to be snappy enough to be delivered between floors, should you find yourself with a potential client in an elevator. Hence the name.
Many a potential deal has fallen foul of over eager managers, waffling on for far too long about how their great idea will revolutionize business. Get your points across quickly and in a straightforward manner
It’s at this very early stage that your startup will either fly or fail. You have to sell yourself and your product to potential investors. You might have the best business idea in the world, but if you cannot make them see it, you will be dead in the water, before you even leave port.
Your Elevator Pitch Should Contain the Following:
1: Your Name
This might sound obvious, but it is amazing how many people omit this. Introduce yourself clearly and make your pitch sounds more personal and personable.
2: Your Company’s Name
Always, always repeat and hammer home your company name. At the end of the pitch, it should be etched in the minds of your target audience.
3: Product Description
Explain simply and concisely what your product is and exactly what it does. There is no room for confusion here.
4: Targeted End Users
Make sure that you identify your target audience before you even get to the stage of pitching. There is no point in trying to sell a steak to a vegetarian.
5: Unique Qualities
What separates you and your product from the competition? Even the smallest detail can prove to be what wins the day for your company. Identify your unique qualities and make sure potential investors recognize them.
6: Call to Action
The all important call to action. Leave your target audience wanting to respond to your pitch. The end of the pitch should be the start of the real dialogue. You have to make sure that you leave investors wanting to continue talking to you.
Elevator Pitch Examples
Here are some examples of short and sweet elevator pitches from that boosted start-ups to success…
Pressed is a personal assistant and time management app that goes the extra mile when it comes to staying organized. By linking to your calendar Pressed not only helps you manage your time but also your to-do lists, habits, and future goals. This elevator pitch was submitted by VP of Public Relations at Pressed, Matt Bremerkamp…
Pressed is an intelligent personal assistant designed to keep people focused on whatever goals they have; like working out, eating healthier, or even just drinking more water.Want to run a 5k? Pressed will learn that your office isn’t the place to remind you to train. However, it may notice you’ve been at home for a while and may have the time to get out there and break a sweat.”
Chargify is a billing software company with a focus to help clients manage recurring payments and the entire customer billing cycle. From signing up first-time customers to managing subscriptions, billing, monitoring analytics and more — they do it all. Seven years ago when CEO of Chargify, Lance Walley was in search of investors, he went with this…
I got your email address from **** *****.My co-founders and I founded Grasshopper and Engine Yard, in with Amazon, benchmark, and NEA invested. Our new company, Chargify, is a simple recurring billing management tool.We’re looking for angel capital to fill in some gaps. Maybe you’re interested in such an investment?”
This, simple yet informative pitch was sent to celebrity investor Mark Cuban who ended up responding to Walley within the hour and ended up investing in Chargify.
Written elevator pitch examples are great. But sometimes, it helps to watch a delivery for yourself. To see a pitch in action, check out this one from Evernote.
In under a minute, then CEO Phil Libin delivers the what, how, and why of his company in an effective way.
Your 7-Step Guide to a Great Elevator Pitch
When a business is new and you are looking to expand it, it is important that you put things in place to attract investors. This is simply good housekeeping. There is no point in having a great idea, but approaching investors without due diligence.
It is imperative that your great elevator pitch lets investors know, that you know what you are talking about. They need to understand your business and trust you with their money.
1: What Are You Offering & What Does it Do?
This might sound too obvious, but it is imperative. Your customer has a need or a problem, you have the solution; it is that simple. However, you need to make sure that potential clients or investors understand that you have all the bases covered. Look at the elevator pitch examples above: It’s the first thing they cover (after describing who they are).
Think how a company like Uber got started. They identified a need. That is, people want to be able to get from A to B cheaply, by using their phone. They built the app, covering Android and iOS, and created a network of drivers.
Now, you don’t have to be a global giant like Uber to fix problems. Maybe your customer has a fleet of vehicles and simply wants to know where all the petrol stations are in a given area. You can still have a winning elevator pitch whether you are offering to fix a global problem or a village wide one.
2: Explain How You Will Fix Their Problem
For this, you need to focus exactly on your targeted audience. There is no point in offering a solution than hoping the audience will come to you. Few solutions can cure all. They do a precise job for a precise audience. Do your homework, find your audience, then go to work.
If you haven’t already, now might be the time to determine if your idea fulfills the role of a minimum viable product (MVP). An MVP is a technique used when a new product or idea is first being introduced. It has the bare minimum features to satisfy its first-time users or customers but it can be extremely useful to help you determine if your idea actually solves a problem.
In other words, an MVP is the most simplistic version of a product that can still be released. Yes, it is simple. But this can also be the most difficult (and most important) part of a product execution.
Going back to our Uber example. Let’s look at the problem they were originally trying to solve? Put simply, helping consumers get from point A to point B in a simple and cost-effective way. They identified the problem and the solution.
Your job doesn’t end there. You understand the problem, but do your investors? Make certain that you can explain your action plan to the client. Be concise and keep it simple. Don’t try to baffle them with science.
3: Identify Your Target Audience
As you become more accustomed to the problems that you can solve, so your target market becomes more obvious. A truly great elevator pitch will be able to identify this market within this section of the pitch. This is the stage where you identify just who your potential clients are.
Resist the temptation of making your target market too broad. It is pointless addressing the whole world, you have to specialize. There is no advantage in talking to all men when talking about aftershave. Some men don’t use it, others use specific brands. Figure out what your clients are selling, and concentrate on their market.
Make sure that you clearly define the target audience and garner information on their spend. Only by doing this will your great elevator pitch carry weight.
4: Identify the Competition
Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are completely unique; you’re not. There will be others out there offering just the same as you. Some will do it better and some will do it worse. What should separate you from the rest, is the ability to explain exactly what you are offering to clients and investors?
5: Promote Your Team
Nobody can do everything, so admit your weaknesses to yourself and address them. You will need to bring in business partners to assist you, the right choices will be crucial to the success of the project. Once you have your team in place like a team of developers, make sure that your investors and clients know about it.
This is the time to start really promoting yourself; a time when any great elevator pitch comes into its own. People need to see that not only can you identify problems, but you have the right team in place to tackle anything that is thrown at you.
6: Demonstrate Fiscal Probity
No investors will put money into any project unless they are certain that it will be in good hands. You will need to demonstrate to them that your business plan includes a firm financial basis on which to move it forward. Your business model needs to be mapped out so that our budgetary commitments are explained.
This is easier than it sounds. You don’t need to explain every single detail, but you should have a solid business model covering all your costs. Start-ups are heavy cost at the front. If you are building a website to go with your business, you will incur all the related costs: web design; content writing and marketing; graphic design; social media strategies; and advertising for example.
7: Development Timeline
Your investors will want you to set key milestones and prove that you can stick to them. It is therefore important to map out a schedule of work, with fixed deliverables. It is imperative that you never have to go back to investors with a request for payment that they were not expecting.
If your deliverables are mapped out, alongside any future cash injections that will be needed, your investors will have understood that at the outset, and you will not have any future explaining to do.
As you move forward with your business plan, you will need to be able to keep your investors fully informed of milestones passed. By setting out firm milestones on your timeline, this becomes easier to achieve.
Following this simple guide when putting your great elevator pitch together will make moving forward with investors a lot simpler. Remember to always plan ahead, keep investors informed, and keep your hand on the purse strings.
Plan ahead by putting together a simple A4 sheet bullet-pointing the strengths of your idea. This can be handed out to investors before any presentation, to make sure that they keep the main points of your great elevator pitch in their minds. It can also be used as an email to lure potential investors to your meetings, or indeed as the initial pitch itself for overseas investors.
Always remember to learn your pitch before delivering it. Memorise every last detail in order that you will be able to speak confidently and without falter. Do not send any messages that may be interpreted as doubt or, even worse, incompetence. Speaking when armed with the full facts of your mission, becomes easier and easier.