How to Develop and Do an Elevator Pitch

Your business is your passion. If you’re anything like us, you could happily talk about it all day. But what about squeezing all that good stuff into a minute-long pitch that gets other people as excited as you are? In this article, we’ll show you how to develop and deliver an elevator pitch that’ll sell your business or big idea in under 60 seconds. By the time we’re done, you’ll be primed and ready to present your business confidently in any situation.

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is a compelling introduction to your business. It’s short, snappy, and you can deliver it in the time it takes you to reach the top floor in an elevator (30-60 seconds). The best bit? It’ll leave whoever hears it wanting more!

Ever bumped into your dream client, only to have your mind go completely blank? With a well-thought-out elevator pitch, you’ll always be prepared to impress.

Do you need one?

If you’re an entrepreneur, business owner or just have bags of ambition—the answer is definitely “Yes, you need an elevator pitch!” A 30-second elevator pitch gives you the power to sell yourself, your goals, and your big ideas to potential clients and new connections, wherever they appear.

Where and when to use your pitch

No elevator? No problem! You can use your elevator pitch to spark interest in your business in lots of situations:

  • When you meet a potential client or business connection.
  • On your website’s homepage.
  • At networking events.
  • At social gatherings.
  • To help you secure funding or investment.

Basically, anytime a potential lead or new relationship appears.

Other ways to use your elevator pitch:

  • In your LinkedIn, Facebook, and other social bios.
  • When pitching new clients by email.
  • In your company’s brand guidelines.
  • Every Thanksgiving when Aunt Urma asks when you’ll be getting a job.

How to write an elevator pitch (with templates)

Let’s get down to the content of your speech. What information should you include? How long should an elevator pitch be? There’s more than one way to develop a persuasive pitch and everyone’s is different so I’ve included templates and ideas. To get started, just answer a few questions about your business:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • What problem do your customers face?
  • How do you help them solve it?
  • Why is your solution better than those offered by competitors?

Put all your answers together and you’ll have something like this:

Hi, I’m Uma Furman, CEO at Fur the Love of Fashion. Most faux-fur is cheap and mass-produced, so it doesn’t look or feel like the real thing. We create synthetic fur for fashion designers who want the luxurious feel of fur without harming animals. Our products are handmade in this country, 100% cruelty-free, and 50% cheaper than the real thing.

 

Here’s one of my favorite elevator pitch templates:

Hi, I’m [your name] from [your company]. Have you ever felt [negative feeling] about [common problem]? I [what you do] for [your target customers] to help them [solution to their problem]. Unlike [your competition], our products/services are [what makes you unique, your USP]. How do you [open ended question] at your company?

 

Fill in the blanks and you get something like this:

Hi, I’m Tim Turner from Swivel. Have you ever suffered from back pain after a day at your desk? I help freelancers working from home to create the optimal ergonomic set up for their office. Unlike traditional ergonomics consultants, I don’t just adjust your chair and desk but optimize the entire room to make your work days productive and happy. How do you like your office setup?

Struggling to answer these questions? Go back and refer to your business plan if you have one. Or ask a friend to get a fresh perspective. Their answers might surprise you!

 

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7 elevator speech tips to get you noticed

Now you’ve got the basics down, these tips will give your pitch the edge:

1. Get them hooked. Once you’ve introduced yourself, you only have a tiny window to get your listener (or reader) interested. Many of the best elevator pitches start with or include a surprising fact, statement or statistic.

For example: “At Jimdo, we’ve already built 25 million websites.”

2. Avoid jargon. Steer clear of overly-technical language or industry terms. Keep your tone light and conversational instead.

3. Use a comparison. Is your offer brand-new? Comparing it to something that already exists can help you explain its value in fewer words.

For example: “LinkedIn, it’s like Facebook for business.” or “Etsy, it’s like eBay for handmade crafts.”

4. Put some emotion into it. People won’t always remember what you say, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel. Adding an emotional element helps you pull your audience into the story you’re telling.

For example:

You ask: “Ever felt frustrated trying to create a simple website that works well and looks professional?”

The audience thinks: “Oh yeah, it was so infuriating that I gave up.”

Your solution: “With Jimdo, you can build a beautiful website in minutes.”

5. Ask open questions. Something they can’t answer with a “yes” or “no.” It’s much easier to remember a conversation you’ve been involved in, rather than something you’ve passively heard.

In this example, Brett ends with an open question to keep the conversation going:

Hi, I’m Brett Erre, CEO at Bretter Balance. We help companies take care of their teams’ mental well being without leaving the office. Last year, our biggest client reported a 15% drop in sick days and 50% increase in productivity in just 6 weeks. Leaving their teams refreshed and managers free to focus on growth. Unlike our competitors, there’s no contract so you can opt in or out anytime. How do you keep morale high at your company?

6. Leave them wanting more. Your pitch is like a synopsis—a teaser that makes you want to read the rest of the book. Don’t try to cram too much into your pitch because it’s easy to overwhelm your audience. You can elaborate at your next meeting (see tip 7) or add a link to your website’s “about” page.

7. Close with a call-to-action. A clear call-to-action (CTA) lets your audience know what to do next. Think about your end goal. Do you want the chance to pitch for investment, make a new business connection or interview for your dream job?

For example, in-person:

“I’d love to show you our prototype working if you’re interested. Is there a good day for you next week?”

Or, on your website:

Add a CTA button that links to the relevant page like “Learn More,” “Our Products,” or “Contact Us.”

Your elevator pitch is the start of a conversation. It should be short and to the point. With just enough information to compel the reader or listener to ask a question, take your card or visit your website to find out more.

How to use your elevator pitch on your website

A great elevator pitch will help you sell your product or skills wherever your prospects are—online, in-person or in print. You can put it on your homepage to grab attention when visitors land on your site, on your “about” page or anywhere you want to convert visitors into customers.

Here are some examples from brands who use versions of their elevator speech online:

Slack (on their homepage)

“Imagine what you’ll accomplish together. Slack is a collaboration hub for work, no matter what work you do. It’s a place where conversations happen, decisions are made and information is always at your fingertips. With Slack, your team is better connected. [Get Started]”

  • “Imagine” drops the reader right into the action, instantly making the pitch relevant to them.
  • “Slack is a collaboration hub for work” explains what Slack is in just 7 words.
  • Explains the benefit to the reader then ends on a strong CTA button “Get Started.”

 

Bulb (on their “about” page)

This text appears on Bulb’s ‘About Us’ page. It’s clear and conversational, you can easily imagine the pair delivering this in-person:

“We’re Hayden and Amit, the founders of Bulb. We met five years ago when we were working in the old energy industry. We saw the same problems at all the big providers. Inefficiency. Poor service. Expensive tariffs. Dirty energy. It didn’t have to be like this. The energy industry can change – and we set up Bulb to lead that change. We want to make the whole industry better. And there are three ways we’re trying to do that – we’re making energy simpler, cheaper and greener.”

  • “We met five years ago when we were working in the old energy industry.” Gives them credibility right away.
  • “Inefficiency. Poor service…” Explains why they’re in business, where their competitors are failing, and how Bulb is different.
  • The pair end by clearly stating their goals for “simpler, cheaper and greener” energy, which is also their unique selling point (USP). To make this even more effective I’d close on an open question, like, “How do you feel about green energy?” followed by a call-to-action.

How to deliver a confident elevator pitch

1. Keep it natural. A robotic, corporate speech can put even the keenest audience to sleep. Imagine you’re talking to a friend about your business, keeping your explanations simple and your tone conversational.

2. Practice, practice, practice. The best way to make sure your pitch sounds natural is to know it inside-out. This way, you’ll soak up all the important points and be able to tweak your speech for different scenarios. Video your pitch then play it back to yourself to spot awkward phrasing or overly “salesy” sentences. Practice your pitch aloud with friends and family, try it out at a social gathering, then a local networking event. If you feel comfortable delivering your pitch in a social setting, the chances are it’s genuine, authentic, and not too salesy.

3. Don’t rush. Your elevator pitch should be short enough that you can deliver it in a relaxed manner, in 30-60 seconds. If you’re struggling to do it easily in that time, it’s too long. Go back and check your speech against our templates above to help you weed out any unnecessary sentences.

4. Start a conversation. No one wants to feel like they’ve been lectured on route to the mailroom. Give your listener the chance to interject or ask a question. Even better, start with a question about them to find some common ground.

 

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So, how’s your pitch looking? We’d love to see/hear/read what you’ve created.

If you meet your dream client in the elevator tomorrow, what will you say? Now you’ve got everything you need to pique their interest before your time’s up. Who knows what doors will open. Have you used any elevator pitch techniques we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments!