Have you ever bumped into an old acquaintance and upon being asked what you have been up to, you are suddenly tongue-tied and unable to properly express what your company does? You leave the experience feeling a pang of regret; that acquaintance could be working in a related industry and that would have been a great way to expand your networks and create future business opportunities. This is a situation where having a prepared elevator pitch would have come in handy.
As Investopedia aptly defines, an elevator pitch is a brief speech where you summarise what your company is about in a short 20-60 seconds. It aims to leave an impression on the potential client or investor that you are talking to, which will eventually lead to more business or investments for your company. However, not many of us will identify as natural salesmen. Hence, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks you can use to craft a successful elevator pitch!
Sell your USPs
In today’s age, there are countless SMEs offering similar services. Identifying and articulating your USPs in your elevator pitch will increase the chances of your audience forming a unique impression of your company.
For example, if you are running a startup that aims to revolutionalise food delivery services, it is important to not just describe your services but to sell your Unique Selling Propositions (USPs). What sets you apart from your competitors? What resources, experience or knowledge do you have that others don’t?
You can consider going back to the basics of your business model and USPs with this article: Checklist for starting your own business in 2019
Understand your audience
To craft a successful elevator pitch, you need to understand the pain points (relieving of customers’ current problems) and gain points (additional value to your customers’ experience) your product or service can bring to your customers. People usually only remember the information that is relevant to them. Hence, details about your company may fly over their heads but by enunciating the ways you can improve their lives, you have a higher chance of peaking their attention.
Elevator pitches are usually generic but there are occasions where you can prepare a customised pitch beforehand, such as for trade shows or networking events. In such situations, it will be useful to read up on your audience’s industry beforehand to understand the common problems they face and tailor your elevator pitch to articulate how your company can help to solve them. By doing so, your audience will feel that you understand their concerns and be more compelled to find out more about your company.
Capture their attention
When crafting your elevator pitch, always keep in mind that your audience is likely busy people that receive a lot of information on a daily basis. This is especially prevalent in our digital age where there is an influx of information and it is natural to forget messages that aren’t captivating. Hence, it is important to speak in a conversational tone and be engaging while giving your elevator pitch.
A tip is to also use emotive language to convey what your company does. For example, instead of saying “Our company strives to cut your waiting time for food delivery”, you can rephrase to say “Our company strives to deliver you the cheapest and fastest food”. Although both sentences have the same message, the first sentence is more technical whereas the latter uses the words “cheapest” and “fastest” to effectively deliver the company’s USP in a way that is relevant to the audience.
Be ready to improvise
Although it is crucial to have a script ready beforehand and to have sufficient practice in delivering your message; you cannot just recite what you have memorised to your audience as that would make your message sound stiff and unengaging! Every situation is unique, hence, be prepared to tweak your elevator pitch to make it sound the most natural.
Be ready to also receive questions or face slight skepticism after your elevator pitch. Such questions are just good business sense on your audience’s part, as many fellow business-owners will not simply accept information at face value. Their questions may be their way to test your confidence or spot potential loopholes in your business idea. To successfully handle such situations, do draft out a list of frequently asked questions and prepare your responses to them beforehand.
Follow-up on the brief encounter
The goal of an elevator pitch is to leave an impression and potentially create future business opportunities. Hence, it is crucial to initiate a way to keep in contact with your audience and follow-up on the brief encounter. This can be a short follow-up call or email, a connection on LinkedIn; or if the audience seemed particularly interested during the pitch, do not hesitate to suggest a setting a proper meetup in the future!
In Singaporean society, not many of us are comfortable with pitching our ideas, especially in an unexpected situation. However, if you’re prepared with an elevator pitch beforehand, you can successfully mitigate such situations and turn them into your favour.
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