How to Craft the Perfect Elevator Pitch

By Stefan Kwiecinski

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When pursuing any given venture, you’ll find yourself giving elevator pitches to potential investors, strategic partners, and future employees alike. In all situations, it’s key that your elevator pitch be both memorable and actionable. Here are some key concepts to keep in mind when crafting the perfect pitch.

Peak Their Interest

It’s highly unlikely that an elevator pitch on its own will secure investment, strike a partnership, or sell a recruit. The sole purpose of your elevator pitch is to secure a follow up conversation. You only have time to deliver three key points, the problem you’re solving, who’s facing the problem, and the solution you provide.

Understand that your pitch is not entirely about delivering a logical argument. Save the logic for lengthier conversations and due-diligence processes. Instead, you want to utilize emotion to peak your target’s interest.

You need to get them excited, not only about your awesome idea, but you as a person as well, you need to show them your unbridled passion for this business.

Fuel Their Imagination

Make it easy for your audience to envision themselves working with you down the road. The best way to do that is through the description of your solution.

When explaining your solution, you’ll want to explain how you’re currently tackling the problem at hand. In addition to this, you’ll want to explain how you intend to tackle the problem down the road once you’ve grown in resources and capacity. Now’s your chance to show your ambition and plans for world domination. The idea is to provide space for your audience to envision themselves achieving this lofty goal with you.

Preparing Your Pitch

When it comes to preparing and practicing your pitch, there’s a few things to keep in mind.

  • Practice with strangers, or people who aren’t familiar with your product. Associates won’t spot gaps in your pitch.
  • Don’t just memorize a script. Not only will you run the of risk looking inauthentic, but you also risk suffering from a tip-of-the-tongue situation when a real pitch opportunity comes. Instead, memorize a list of key-concepts and tailor your tone and terminology to the situation at hand.  
  • Understand the setting. You’re not pitching to a panel or a crowd. Most elevator pitches are conversational in nature. Mind your volume and speed and remember that you’re pitch exists to integrate into the natural flow of conversation.

Example Pitches

We’ve outlined some example elevator pitches based off a fictional corporate courier startup.

The Bad:

“Suborbital Shipping is enabling super-sonic, same-hour parcel delivery to anywhere in the world. Our combination of reusable rocket technology, hover-slam landing methods, and drone-powered last-mile pickup/delivery enables unsurpassed courier speeds.”

This pitch fails to address the problem at hand or who is facing the problem. It’s also far too technical, mentioning details that are better suited for a follow-up conversation.

“I’m sure you’re familiar with rapid shipping services like that of DHL’s Jetline. What if I told you we could deliver parcels even faster through same-hour, rocket-powered logistics. Suborbital Shipping currently offers service from NYC to Tokyo but we’re expanding to more than 50 cities within the next decade.”

This pitch assumes that the audience is familiar with a competitor. And while they may be able to deduce what DHL Jetline is, the time they spend pondering on it will distract them from the rest of your pitch.

The Good:

“In order to stay competitive in the 21st century, companies can’t afford to be slow in any way shape or form. Suborbital Shipping is enabling companies to stay ahead of the pack via the first ever same-hour, rocket-powered global shipping service. We’re currently offering service from NYC to Tokyo but plan to expand to more than 50 cities within the next decade.”

This pitch covers all the key-points we’ve discussed. It presents a problem, a market, and a solution. While also presenting an exciting vision for the audience to imagine themselves participating in.

The general idea of an elevator pitch is that you’re tailoring a pitch to the length of an elevator ride. When doing your tailoring, it’s key that you keep in mind what happens before and after said elevator ride.

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