The elevator pitch is one of your best weapons as an entrepreneur. You never know when you’re going to encounter a potential client, partner, or investor. Having a strong elevator pitch ready to go will make sure that no opportunity is wasted. The problem for many entrepreneurs is actually crafting it.

It’s harder than it sounds. In the space of a minute, you must get their attention and get them curious enough to learn more. You must be as compelling as possible — the moment you stutter or are unsure of yourself is the moment you lose them. Don’t let that happen. Make sure your elevator pitch has these important aspects.

It’s Short and Clear

It’s called an elevator pitch because it should fit in the span of an elevator ride, which can be anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute. That means conciseness and clarity are your elevator pitch watch words. You’re going to use your elevator pitch for chance meetings, which means that the listener is on their way to do something else. If the pitch is too long, they’ll be on their way before you finish. If it’s not clear, they’ll lose interest and stop listening altogether.

There’s no need to deliver the pitch spontaneously; in fact, unless you’re gifted in that respect, it’s better to make an outline. An outline should include important details about you and your company. Resist the urge to write down a word-for-word pitch. Writing an outline gives you wiggle room to adjust the pitch to your situation and audience. It’ll also keep it from sounding practiced, which can drain it of sincerity.

It’s Focused on the Listener

People are primarily concerned with themselves. They’re not interested in how much money you can make. Even investors are more concerned with their bottom line; your profits are just an indicator of how well they can do with you. Your elevator pitch must identify the problem and how you can solve it.

That means the pitch is more listener focused. Every word that comes out your mouth must inform the listener of your value to the. Your job title, while impressive, does not necessarily matter to the audience. If there’s something you have to say and its value isn’t immediately apparent, make sure to explain why it’s important.

That also means you should cater the pitch to the listener, as problems will vary from audience to audience. Customers want to know how your product will improve their lives, while partners and investors want to know how it can make them money. If you’re not quite sure what they want or how to personalise the pitch further, start by asking them questions. Get to know them and find out what they’re looking for.

It Has a Call-to-Action

You can only do much in one minute. There’s only so much information you can give before the listener has to go. That makes a call-to-action doubly important. You may have told them how you can solve their problems, but you if you don’t tell them how they can take advantage of this opportunity the speech will have been for nothing.

Remember, an elevator pitch is not meant to close the deal. It’s a hook, something that’ll get them curious. Your call-to-action must get you into the right position. Potential partners and investors will need more than one minute to get all the details, so you’ll want to continue the conversation at a later date. Offer them your card and see if they’re interested in a follow-up meeting or lunch. Potential employees and clients may want to see your operation, so give them your office address and give them an opportunity to find out what they’re getting into.

A strong elevator pitch is a powerful weapon for any entrepreneur. No opportunities will go to waste — even if it doesn’t work out, you at least took a shot. Practice your speech frequently and prepare it for who you’re likely to meet that day. You may not deliver it perfectly the first time, but the only way you’ll deliver it well is by practicing it on the field. You may flub it the first few times, but just keep making that pitch. Eventually you’ll have it down.


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