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The Elevator Pitch

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by Startacus Admin

Whether you are looking for investment or simply to get a new customer, perfecting your Elevator Pitch is a must - these basic tips should help...

Whether you’re looking for funding from an investor, communicating with a potential client or you simply casually meet someone at an event or otherwise, describing who you are and what you do is vitally important in determining how they view you immediately and thereafter. In order to ensure their views are of the positive sort, it’s a pretty essential task to master the so-called “Elevator Pitch”. As the name would suggest, an pitchingElevator Pitch entails giving someone a brief synopsis of who you are and what you are about in a short space of time - generally the 60 seconds that it would take to ride in a lift. The objective of that pitch though isn’t to sell something though, but instead to try and initiate a conversation which could maybe eventually lead to a sale. Of course the pitch that you give could be done in person, at an event or even by email, but regardless of where, there are some basic tips that apply.

The business premise and hook
Ideally in your pitch you should provide the listener with a brief synopsis of what the premise of your business is. Is there a specific problem you are addressing? Have you come up with a solution to a particular issue? Whatever the case may be, make sure that you summarise what you do in a way that is easily understood and that clearly demonstrates the benefit you would offer. Also, remember that if you are going to grab someone’s attention fully, you’ll need to create some sort of hook that immediately piques their interest and draws them in. Opening your pitch with some sort of phrase that immediately engages them is essential.

Keep it short and to the point
Your pitch ought to be short and concise but yet still manage to include all the important info. Don’t make the mistake of waffling around what you do or going into storytelling mode.
Yes, your background story may be amazing, but with only a limited amount of time to impress, is it really necessary for it to be told now? Surely there is other information that it would be much better to share. Ideally you should be able to describe your business in one sentence. A short pithy sentence is what you ought to be aiming for.

Stand Out
The underlying purpose in any elevator pitch is to generate some form of interest from someone in what you or your business does. The best way of course of generating that interest is by ensuring that your business stands out from the rest; that you are offering something different and that there is something that sets you apart. Identifying what your USP is and including this in your elevator pitch is essential. Your business’ uniqueness is what will make someone remember you.

Leave out the jargon
If you use too much industry terminology or jargon or extremely technical language, chances are you will end up losing the interest of your listener. Nobody wants to be bombarded with language that they don’t understand or feel that someone is talking way above them. Speak in a clear way so that you not only grasp their interest initially but also retain their interest throughout.

Remember the audience
It’s essential that you tailor your pitch to suit the audience or listener. For example, if you are pitching to a potential investor, they will be more interested in financial aspects - perhaps sales estimates, forecasts etc, whereas a potential customer will be more interested in what your product or service can provide for them. If you fail to properly identify the reasons why a listener or audience would be potentially interested in your business, your pitch will almost certainly fail. Put yourself in your listener’s shoes and concentrate on the potential aspects that would matter to them.

Whether you do it in front of a mirror or a colleague or friend, do try and practice your pitch. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect and since you will generally only have one shot at a pitch, it goes without saying that your pitch ought to be as close to perfect as you can get it. The more you practice, the more confident you will appear to the listener which in turn can help instil in them a certain confidence in you. Also, when you get feedback, respond to it. If someone feels that your idea isn’t clear enough or they can’t quite grasp what your business is about, it’s time to change things. Take constructive criticism on board and it will pay off.

Any other tips you’d like to share? Why not let us know over at the forum...

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Published on: 15th October 2012

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