If you’ve already figured out how to describe what your company does in 30 seconds or less, feel free to skip this article—unless people just nod and change the subject when you tell them about it. If this is happening to you, it’s time to work on developing your elevator pitch.
Here’s what you need to know to get them to ask you to tell them more.
Any time you communicate with another human being, you have some goal in mind. Even if you just say, “I’m hungry,” your goal is to get the other person interested in food too. In business, your goal is likely to be more along the lines of getting the other person interested in becoming a customer, providing funding, or supporting your idea. Whatever it is, you have to have a clear idea of what you want to say and be able to convey it succinctly.
Focus on what you want the person to remember most and craft your message to support that aim. Always lead with a description of what you do—or are working to accomplish—and follow with the benefit it provides. Let’s say your goal is to start a furniture business online and you’re trying to get a financial backer to invest.
Your opening line could be something along the lines of, “My Company has perfected an innovative method of selling furniture online. Using virtual reality, we show customers exactly how our pieces will look in their homes with the things they already own. Shoppers can even rearrange rooms to get an idea of different configurations. This way, they know the furniture will work before it arrives at their door.”
In addition to describing your company and outlining its key benefit, you’ve also just identified your unique selling proposition—the fact that your customers can see what the furniture will look like in their homes before they buy it. That’s going to intrigue your target a great deal.
Once you’ve got them on the hook, reel them in with an open-ended question. Rather than an inquiry to which they can answer yes or no, such as “Is that something you’d be interested in learning more about?” ask something along the lines of, “So how did you shop for the last piece of furniture you bought?” You’re talking virtual reality, so there’s no way their experience will be nearly as cool, and they’ll realize it.
All you have to do now is hit them with a call to action; “Wow, that sounds pretty time consuming and fraught with uncertainty, how about I stop by and show you a better way?”
Once you have the content of your pitch nailed down, rehearse until it feels natural. Be careful though, rather than a rote recitation of a memorized pitch, you want it to sound conversational with a subtle edge of excitement. Enthusiasm is infectious. When you’re genuinely passionate about something, people see it in your body language and hear it in your voice. This gets them stirred up too.
Make it a point to always keep business cards on you, so when they ask for contact information you can hand it over smoothly. If you have a video presentation, keep a few thumb drives on you too so they can see what you’re talking about first hand. As you’re developing your elevator pitch, remember your primary goal is to pique a person’s interest and hold it long enough to make them want to follow up to learn more about your idea.