Elevator Pitch: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How To Write It

In last week’s post, we talked about the importance of writing down your vision and guarding your influences. This week, we are discussing the short conversation starter known as an elevator pitch. US National Elevator Pitch Champion and Top 10 Business Coach, Chris Westfall says we need to ditch the old pitch idea. In this article, we will discuss what an elevator pitch is, why it is important, and how you can still craft on in a digital age.

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is a short speech that invites people to have a conversation around the topic of who you are and what unique service you can offer them. Think of it as what you would say to a multi-millionaire investor if you had one minute alone with him in an elevator.

An elevator pitch is part persuasive story and part conversation starter that has three key components: introduction, summary with USP, and specific ask.

A good elevator pitch is important because it’s an effective way to demonstrate your professional aptitude, strengths and skills.

Indeed.com, “How to Give an Elevator Pitch With Examples”

Key Components of a Successful Pitch

Introduction

The introduction is where you invite the listener to start a conversation. Think of simple manners here; give your name and title then ask for theirs. This is something as simple as “Hi! My name is Rebecca Whitman. I’m a writer. What’s your name? What do you do?”

This is not the time to be timid; be bold and confident! Believe in yourself and be yourself. Since you are delivering this speech in-person, your body language is half of the selling point. Genuine interest in others and confidence in yourself will attract opportunity.

Summary with Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The summary is a synopsis of what you do and what makes you unique from others in your field. There is a whole separate art to crafting your USP that is worth researching. I found this article from Entrepreneur to be helpful in explaining it.

Part of being successful here is being introspective and curious, but the other part is being a good listener. Before the moment when you deploy your pitch, you should think about your ideal customer and what would make them choose you over everyone else on the market.

Sometimes this is a clever hook. For example, the founder of Revlon used to say he sold hope, not makeup. However, many times this is about listening to the person you are talking to and discerning, in that moment, how you can best serve their needs.

The New Elevator Pitch

US National Elevator Pitch Champion and Top 10 Business Coach, Chris Westfall says the internet and social media changed everything about how we should approach an elevator pitch. The new elevator pitch is all about knowing your story and how to have a conversation about it with others; ditch the old pitch idea, Westfall says.

As you listen, be truly present not just looking for an opportunity to sell yourself. Listen to what they do and how they express their interest, audience, and needs. Do you have a skill that can add value to their lives? Do you know someone that would be a good partnership with them?

Specific Ask

The specific ask is where you offer solutions and partnerships to the listener based on the problems they have expressed.

If I am listening to someone and they tell me that they are looking for a new cook for their restaurant, I am going to think of my friend who has been working in the industry and looking for a kitchen to call his own. I am going to tell that person about my friend and help facilitate a meeting for them to talk about working together.

If I am listening to someone and they tell me that they are unhappy with their marketing and the way their story has been told, I am going to give them my card and tell them how I can help them with my writing services. I am going to show them what I can offer that is different and unique from any other writer or reporter that comes wanting to tell their story.

Final Thoughts

It is tempting to shirk back from expressing yourself as a confident business person to a stranger. Sometimes you have to just have do it afraid, but the point is to do it. Have a mindset to network and add value to your community. You may not win an opportunity with every pitch, but you lose 100% of the opportunities if you don’t try.

By not even asking, we are rejecting ourselves by default—and probably missing out on opportunity as a result…

When you are not afraid of rejection and it feels like you have nothing to lose, amazing things can happen.

Jia Jiang, “Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection”

Remember to be brief and memorable. Great conversations leave an impression, but memorized speeches make you come off as a sleazy car salesman. At the same time, an excellent connection can become a missed opportunity if you don’t leave a way to connect later. This can be something as simple as a business card exchange, but be diligent to follow up with that person after the event where you met.

If you would like a more traditional approach to elevator pitches, you can find examples for every level of your growth and development in this article from YourDictionary.com. For more details about structure and avoiding common speech delivery mistakes, check out this article from Indeed.