A Quick Guide to a Killer Elevator Pitch

There is great power in making face-to-face connections, and that is why all of the best bloggers and entrepreneurs spend a considerable amount of time at networking events. While networking over the internet has its own set of rules and etiquette, networking face-to-face is a whole different ball game.

The biggest difference between connecting face-to-face and over the internet is structure. While you can plan who to talk to over the internet, most face-to-face encounters are unexpected and unplanned.

This is where a killer elevator pitch comes in. An elevator pitch gives you the means to communicate a quick and impactful speech about what you do and what you have to offer. This is done in an effort to get the other person to act on what you are offering-whether that is your job skills, or a tangible product or service.

In order to ensure that you do not end up tongue-tied the next time you bump into a potential client, partner, or investor, I will give you the best advice on crafting and delivering an exceptional elevator pitch.

By the end of this post you should know how to create a compelling pitch that will leave a meaningful impression with everyone you come into contact with.

killer elevator pitch

Tips for a Killer Elevator Pitch

As you probably know, elevator pitches are meant to brief and straight to the point. In a period of 20-30 seconds you should have effectively communicated the purpose of your business, product, service, or personal skill.

Since many people get pitched on a regular basis, you need to take the time to craft a memorable and exciting elevator pitch. In this way the person that you are pitching to will be motivated to engage with you and schedule a meeting for another day.

Below I will show you how to do so:


1. Identify your goal
Before you write your elevator pitch you need to answer one simple question: ‘what is the purpose of this pitch?’If you do not have an objective to work towards right at the beginning, then the pitch is bound to fall apart at some point.

So are you creating a pitch to tell potential clients about your company? Or is your pitch directed towards executives who can provide capital? Do you want to simply tell people what you do for a living? Or maybe you are looking for partnership opportunities?

Either way, you need to establish your main goal right at the beginning.

2. Practice
We all know that practice makes perfect, and it therefore makes sense to constantly practice your pitch before you deliver it. You do not want to write a great elevator pitch only to fumble it and lose out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.

As you practice more often you will find that your delivery becomes smooth and clear. Don’t worry if you’re not a natural orator, many of the best speeches I’ve heard have come from people who have had to practice constantly.

P.S. Don’t forget to pay attention to your body language, as this plays a huge part in how your message is received.


3. Test yourself
When you practice in front of a mirror, you give yourself a chance to critique your delivery. However, self-critique is not sufficient, and you need to find alternative methods of getting feedback. My number one choice would be my family, but you can also pitch to a colleague or a professional coach.

In this way you can get valuable feedback on what is great, and what needs to be changed.


4. Start off strong
Because an elevator pitch is brief, you need to be strong right from the get-go. My advice would be to structure your pitch like a blog post; give a promise of value right at the beginning, and then spend the rest of the pitch reinforcing the promise using testimonials and evidence.

5. Show the benefits
It’s great that you have a unique product or a successful business, but why should I care? It is imperative for you to address that question during your pitch, by showing the other person what your business/product can offer them.

You can do this by talking about a problem they have e.g. inability to train out of town employees in a cost effective manner, and then offering them a solution for it e.g. a patented mobile system that trains employees at 50% of the current cost.

The benefit should be specific and relevant, and you should strive to give a financial tag to the benefit.

6. Mention your accomplishments
An elevator pitch is not the place to be humble about what you have accomplished so far. Instead, it is the time to name drop as much as you can, because people want in on a product, idea, or business that other people are interested in.

So if you have worked with big brands before, talk about it. If the competitors of the individual you are pitching to have shown interest in what you are offering, talk about that. If your patent is about to be approved, mention it. If you are a start-up that is about to be open for business, let your potential investor know.

In this way the person you are pitching to can see that you have credibility, and they can also see that you are moving forward with your business. It also gives them the push that they need to get in now, rather than later.


7. Be Natural
No one wants to hear a pitch that is mechanical and obviously rehearsed. An elevator pitch is meant to be conversational, and you therefore need to keep your delivery natural. This is why you need to practice regularly, so that you can deliver a natural and compelling pitch.

8. Make it compelling
Passion in business is incredibly important, and that is why you will find that people lean towards ideas, products, and businesses that excite them. Now, I’m not saying that you have to create a business with robots, fireworks, and free alcohol. What I mean is that even though you are pitching inventory software; deliver the product in a way that grabs and holds the attention of your audience.

Your enthusiasm for your product or business can be the difference between a follow-up meeting and an awkward brush off.

9. Be different
If you are in an industry that is saturated, then you need to take every opportunity to differentiate yourself from everyone else. There needs to be a strong and specific reason why your product should be chosen over your competitors.

This reason is known as your Unique Selling Proposition, and it is what makes your idea or company the best choice for a client or investor.

E.g. If you are offering accounting services, you can say that ‘unlike other accounting firms in this industry, we use a patented accounting software that eliminates errors with 99% accuracy. This virtually eliminates the need to re-do records, and our clients can testify to this.’

be unique

10. Create an engaging pitch
As I mentioned earlier, an elevator pitch is meant to be conversational and natural. The best way to engage the person you are pitching to is to ask a question- you can do this at the beginning or end of your pitch.

At the beginning- ‘How does your company handle the interior design of your offices?’ and then pitch your interior design company

At the end- ‘Since you’re interested, what is your availability this week?’

11. Remain realistic
In order to create a pitch that is exciting and memorable, you might be tempted to take some liberties with the claims that you make. I urge you to nip this temptation in the bud, as it will cause integrity issues for your product and your company.

Imagine if you pitched a restaurant idea to an investor claiming profit in 1 year, and when they ask you to bring your sales forecasts your own research shows profit within 2 years. They won’t even listen to anything else you have to say; if you’re making false statements right off the bat you cannot be trusted.

12. Use clear language
There is nothing more off-putting than jargon. If you have 30 seconds to wow an investor, you don’t want them to spend 20 of those seconds trying to figure out what ‘restaurant society paradigm shifts’ means. In addition, do not use acronyms and terminology that is not familiar to someone outside your company. You do not want to leave a client/investor confused about what you really do and what you have to offer.

Also avoid buzzwords like synergy, outside the box, and streamline. I beg of you; these words mean nothing, and they are taking up precious time.

13. Customize your elevator pitch
When you are creating your elevator pitch, you do so with a particular audience in mind. However, you should create different variations of the pitch to suit different audiences. For example, if you are talking to a client you will focus on product benefits, and if you are talking to an investor you will be talking about sales projections.

14. Repeat key information
If you want the person you are pitching to, to remember your product or business, then you need to repeat key names several times during your pitch. Just think of your favorite radio ad and count the number of times a number, address, product name, or business name is repeated throughout. Repetition will ensure that key information is not forgotten.


15. Leave them hooked
An elevator pitch is not a sales pitch; you do not need to outline every step of your business plan during the 20-30 second period. What you do need is to leave your audience hooked, so that they can request for a more extensive meeting. So pack in the essential details, and save the rest for later.


16. Know your business
If you’ve pitched your product, idea, or business well, then you will get your audience interested. It is at this point that you may be asked to clarify some of your points, or to explain more about what you have to offer. It is therefore important for you to know everything there is to know about what you are pitching, so that you can answer confidently.

17. Finish with a Call To Action
You cannot close a sale during an elevator pitch, but you can tell the person you are pitching to what you want from them. So if you are looking for an investment then let that be known. If you want capital, then clearly state how much money you are looking for and how much you are putting in. If you are looking to make the person a client, then make sure that they understand that.

18. Take Away Items
Once your pitch is done, you can leave a take-away item(s) with the person you just pitched to. This could be a brochure that describes your product or business in greater detail, or it could be your business card with information on how to contact you.

leave a take away item

When to use an elevator pitch

Elevator pitches are not only used to promote products and services, they can be tailored to suit a variety of situations. You can use an elevator pitch to propose your company to potential clients, and you can use your pitch to advocate for an idea to your colleagues or superior.

You can also craft an elevator pitch to clearly tell people what you do for a living; no more curt answers like ‘I’m in sales.’

My own elevator pitch

Here is a draft of an elevator pitch that I would deliver to a small business owner, on behalf of this blog (Business Broken Down):

Do you often find yourself overwhelmed by the multitude of marketing options for small businesses on the internet?

Well, I work with small business owners and start-ups who struggle to find direction when it comes to establishing a presence online. The small business owners that I work with are ready to expand their online presence to a larger audience; however, they are crippled by finances and knowledge in this area.

Business Broken Down provides these business owners with top quality, relevant, and up to date advice on navigating the competitive business market on their current budget. Unlike other blogs, Business Broken Down focuses on providing jargon-free and practical information, which can be acted on immediately with tangible results.

As someone who has taken on small business ventures, I am able to relate perfectly to the struggles of the small business owner. The resources found on Business Broken Down can help entrepreneurs of all skill levels boost their traffic, social media presence, efficiency, productivity, sales, and income.

I would love to make an appointment to discuss the marketing challenges that you face, and explore how you can use the resources I provide to grow your business.

Final Verdict

You never know when an opportunity will present itself for you to bring your idea, product, or business to the attention of a client, partner, or investor.

That is why you need to craft a killer elevator pitch, which you can flawlessly deliver to your target audience. As you can see your pitch should create value to whomever you are pitching to, and that value should preferably be financial.

By using the tips provide above, you can craft a compelling, memorable, and clear elevator pitch that will resound well with your audience. So if you have something good to offer, a killer elevator pitch is the most efficient way to bring it to the attention of others.

Before you leave, drop me a comment and let me know if you have started creating your own killer elevator pitch. Also share this with your friends and colleagues, and sign-up to the Business Broken Down newsletter for first-hand blog updates and other business resources.

Have a great week, and I hope to see you next Monday.

P.S. Business Broken Down changed its theme this week, so let me know what you think!

12 thoughts on “A Quick Guide to a Killer Elevator Pitch

  1. hello Davina, i find myself unemployed and in a workshop on job hunting and networking strategies., i have to create a elevator speech for class thursday and your examples were very helpful. Juel


    1. Shortening an elevator pitch is extremely tough; I know I can be verbose and my own pitch runs long.

      Keep your 1 minute pitch and then have an shorter version (just 2-3 sentences.)

      If you can capture the attention of the person you are talking to in just 2-3 sentences, you can ask for 1 minute to elaborate; cue in your longer elevator pitch.

      Wishing you all the best Vickie.


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