One of the most common marketing tools used in small business is the ubiquitous elevator pitch. Its popularity comes from business school, a variety of reality business television programs, and business competitions. It’s almost cliché when talking about any type of business pitch, but even as popular as it is, very few people do it well.
What happens is that individuals either memorize a canned statement, which comes across as insincere, or it becomes the Gettysburg Address and the recipient of the pitch loses all interest in the message, or it doesn’t have a message at all.
An elevator pitch should be a succinct and deliberate statement about a business and should feature the following:
- A concise description of exactly what the business does. This seems obvious, but I have heard pitches that truly don’t explain this. For a consumer type business that features different products, a business might have several pitches: one for the parent company and one for each of the products.
- There’s no cookie cutter method. Every business is unique with different issues and stakeholders to consider. But this is an opportunity to share your unique selling proposition.
- Give the recipient some “what’s in it for me?” information.
- Human nature usually dictates that people want to be a part of something grand and bigger than themselves.
- Try asking a question to introduce your pitch:
Did you know that dark chocolate has 18 unique and positive health characteristics? Acme Chocolates has amazing organic, single-source dark chocolates from Latin America. I’d love for you to try them by having my assistant ship you some samples to your office.
It’s a brief pitch that makes the recipient think, offers a reward, and provides a very specific description of the business. (I just made this up, by the way.)
- Have a miniature call to action. Even if it’s just the exchange of business cards, make the recipient invest some action into the conversation.
- This isn’t a mission statement, a vision statement or a principles statement. Those are all bigger and farther reaching; you want to keep this easy to remember and follow.
Once you come up with the messaging, have some fun with it. But don’t be this pitch:
(Looking at feet…) My name is Wilbert. I work for Acme Chocolates. We make candy bars. We’re like Hershey’s but different. Our candy is good. I have been working here for three months (sigh).
Capitalize on every opportunity to deliver your pitch after the appropriate practice. Deliver it with the confidence, direct eye contact, and handshake that reflects your passion and commitment for your product/service/company.
And have fun with it!