How to write an elevator pitch

Imagine: you step into an elevator and the investor who can make or break your business walks in. You have 2 minutes to convince them with the perfect pitch. Are you prepared?

What is an elevator pitch?

With a pitch you inform someone about your product, service, or idea. You keep your pitch short and to the point, to convince the people you need to help your company move forward. A successful pitch attracts potential investors, customers, or new contact. Prepare your pitch well by including an inspiring opening and giving your story a logical structure. This will help you get the most out of the opportunity.

Elevator pitch structure

An elevator pitch is short. You have to impress your audience right away in order to convince them  of your product. These 3 parts offer you a kind of elevator pitch template and help you get started.

1. A good opening

Using an anecdote, news fact, or data that fits your story can help catch someone’s attention. For example:

“According to research carried out by Houses International, houses sell 20% quicker and for a 5% higher price on average if they are well decorated.”

“Last week, I read that a rare species of bumblebee has been spotted again in Limburg. This improves the biodiversity, which benefits our bees. Imagine if such inspiring stories were gathered in a climate-positive media platform?”

“Recently, I had a laugh with a client whose hair I cut on the weekends. She asked me, ‘Is your family annoying?’. But she meant: ‘Doesn't your family find that annoying?’ After we finally stopped laughing, I asked her whether she would mind giving me some feedback. I was wondering what exactly made her choose me as a her hairdresser for the past 5 years. Turns out, she found me because she needed a skilful hairdresser on weekends. Of course, she stuck with me for my humour.”

2. The "why"

If you specify the 'why', your listener will immediately know whether your service or product suits them. As Simon Sinek explains in his talk, this is not so much about what you do or how you distinguish yourself from others in quality or price. It is about why you do it.

Sinek is a bestselling author, speaker, and management guru. His talk ‘How great leaders inspire action’ has been viewed 5.6 million times.

What is your passion? Why did you start your business? For an interior stylist this could be: making people feel comfortable in their new home. This might differ from a competitor who likes to furnish houses in a trendy style that makes the neighbours jealous. It can be quite difficult to find out what your 'why' is. Discuss your ‘why’ with people who know you well. They can help you explore this.

3. A good closing

Your goal is to get your conversation partner interested in a collaboration. Therefore, close your elevator pitch with a clear call to action. What do you want from the other person? Take the lead in this. Examples of calls to action are:

  • Check out reviews on my website. This will give you an idea of what I do and what my customers think.
  • May I call or email you to provide you with more information?
  • Would you like to keep in touch via LinkedIn?

Prepare your elevator pitch

The above elements give your elevator pitch structure. The following tips can help you finalise your pitch.

Practice

Practice and improve your talk by collecting feedback and tips:

  • Practice your pitch on others. Pay attention to how they respond and listen to what questions they ask.
  • See how you can shorten your pitch to make it more concise.
  • Try using different words to see how your story comes across with those.

Then improve your elevator pitch. Write it down. It does not have to be a fixed story, but it is useful to have a number of keywords that you use each time. And make a video of your elevator pitch. See how you come across and what you could do better.

Do your research

Have financial, commercial, and technical background information ready. This way, you are prepared to answer any questions from your audience after your elevator pitch. You get this information by doing market research, making a sector analysis, or a location scan (in Dutch).

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Read this article for more information on how to pitch your business plan to investors.

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