Nailing Your Elevator Pitch

November 10, 2013


You have a great idea for a start-up, but are having trouble finding potential investors.  You’re at your regular job, coming back from lunch.  You get into the elevator, push the button for your floor, and all of the sudden, the CEO of Amazon steps inside.  You have until the elevator reaches the top floor to pitch your idea to him.  What do you say to him?  This is what we call an “elevator pitch.”

With the growing popularity of door-to-door sales in 1960’s America, something became clear: only a small number of salesmen were successful and were able to flourish in their businesses.  Most agents were unable to turn a profit and abandoned the business quickly.

After examining this phenomenon, it was discovered that the ability to speak consecutively for 30 seconds is what predicted the success of sale.  If a salesman was interrupted within the first 30 seconds of his pitch, he hardly ever made a sale.  This data served as the basis for which the U.S. developed a tool called “the elevator pitch.”

There are a few guidelines in order to create an effective elevator pitch. Your goal is not to convince the other party, but rather to ensure another meeting that can help you move forward with your project/business. Here are 4 things easy things to remember:

  • The Teaser – You have no doubt heard this term before.  A teaser is the thing that initially stimulates the listener and grabs his attention.  You want to say anything that will make him look up and focus on you.  This is your opportunity to come off as interesting, creative, and attractive.  The teaser should make you come across as knowledgeable as well as make your message clear.

  • The Subject – What is your message? What exactly is it that you want your audience to understand?  This is of crucial importance.  Many times, people tend to skip or forget to introduce the subject they are talking about.  When the 30 seconds are up, the person with whom you’re speaking must clearly know what you want from him.  You want him to invest in your idea, not walk away confused.

  • The Hook – What’s in it for him? In a world of profit and loss, we’re all motivated by personal gain and benefit.  You need to make whatever your idea is relevant to the person to whom you’re pitching it.  Think about why he might profit from your idea.  Will your idea bring him money?  Help his company?  Help a worthy cause important to him?  Don’t only make your pitch about you; you need to bring the other party into the idea.

  • The You – Why you?  Why should he listen to you?  You should emphasize your uniqueness and your added value compared to others.  You may have presented a wonderful idea in an innovative, effective way, but he may have heard it all before, or he may just take your idea and run with it on his own.  Talk about why you are crucial to the success of your idea, and what special things only you can bring.  After all, it’s your idea.

So next time you run into the CEO of Amazon, or someone else who can help you get ahead, don’t miss out on the opportunity.  Follow these easy steps and just launch into your elevator pitch. Make him pull up his calendar and schedule your next meeting right before he exits the elevator.

Want to know if your elevator pitch is up to par? Check out HowDidIDo, the only platform that allows you to upload your content and get feedback from experts!



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