How to Nail Your Elevator Pitch!
Written by Mike Cooch

In this post I’m going to cover how to master the creation and delivery of one of your most important sales tools – your elevator pitch.

It’s such an important topic, and one that just about everyone can improve upon.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

We’ve all heard that term. You’ve probably all heard the term USP, Unique Selling Proposition. Very similar ideas. This is the definition I like best:

Elevator Pitch: a brief persuasive message used to spark interest.

There are three things about that definition that I really like:

Brief is really important, because in most cases it’s not going to be appropriate for us to just go into some long multi-paragraph rant about what we do, and how cool we are, and the results we get. 

That can happen after you get invited to give them more information. But if you do that right out of the gate you come across as one of those weird people at a networking event that nobody wants to talk to. 

We don’t want to be those people.

Persuasive is another keyword there. 

Our message has to be persuasive enough that I can get my prospect to go, “Huh, tell me more.”

The last key to this definition is the phrase ‘to spark interest’. 

That’s really important.

All we’re trying to do with our elevator pitch is to spark interest. 

We are NOT trying to communicate the full value proposition of what we do and how we do it. 

That is the entire objective of that initial pitch, to spark interest. 

You’re just trying to get them interested enough that they invite you to then proceed into more details.

History Lesson

The reason that it got called an ‘elevator pitch’ in the first place is from the idea that if you were standing in the elevator next to the most important investor or potential customer that could change your life, and you only had a few floors that you were travelling on that elevator together, that you could give your elevator pitch to that person and spark their interest.

You wouldn’t have the time to give your full pitch (nor would it be appropriate), but you could get your foot in the door just in that brief amount of time by having this persuasive message that would spark their interest.

That’s how it got named an elevator pitch in the first place.

Why You MUST Have a Good Elevator Pitch

The importance of the elevator pitch can’t be overstated. 

When I lived in Silicon Valley, it was considered to be perhaps your most important sales tool to help you raise millions of dollars in venture financing for your startup.

Why?

Because investors understand the critical importance of being able to quickly and clearly communicate what you do, in a way that forms an ‘anchor’ in the minds of your prospects.

What do I mean by ‘anchor’? 

I mean that I want my elevator pitch to leave a lasting impression in the mind of the people I’m talking to.

I want them to associate in their minds, ‘That’s the guy that helps local businesses grow’, or something similar.

If I can win that position in his brain, then I have an advantage over the competition. 

This is why big companies spend so much money getting their taglines (elevator pitch) nailed down for their products and advertise them everywhere.

But you don’t have their advertising budgets, so you need to make sure you nail your pitch!

Got it? Good! Now let’s look at…

Creating Your Elevator Pitch

The best resource I’ve found on how to create your elevator pitch is this video, called ‘How to Pitch Anything in 15 Seconds.’

This video actually shows you how to create what they call a ‘Message Map’, which is really your full Unique Selling Proposition. 

But it starts with what they call a ‘Twitter friendly headline.’

What they mean by Twitter friendly is that it’s 140 characters or less. That’s your elevator pitch.

Watch the video to see how clearly and briefly he communicates the pitch for Lush Cosmetics:

I think it’s really important to note that he shows you how to back up your elevator pitch with substance. 

That’s critical when someone says, ‘Tell me more.’

You want to support the headline with three key benefits. 

Then, reinforce the three benefits with stories, statistics, examples. 

Once you make the claim in your elevator pitch, you need to be able to pack it up!

That’s your full Unique Selling Proposition, or Message Map.

How to Use Your Elevator Pitch in Different Scenarios

There are three primary scenarios where you are going to deliver your elevator pitch:

  1. In your marketing materials and website
  2. At a networking event
  3. In a prospecting pitch

Each of these requires a different approach to be successful.

Using Your Elevator Pitch in Your Marketing Materials and Website

In your marketing materials, proposals, and website, you should include your full unique selling proposition, not just your elevator pitch.

Why?

Because whether it’s a document that they’re reading or they’re on your website, they have the opportunity to sit there and go through the whole thing. 

You want to give them everything that they need so that when they’re sitting there and reviewing those materials to fully understand the value you can provide.

This isn’t a synchronous conversation, so you won’t have the opportunity to fill in the blanks when they ‘ask for more’. 

You need to assume they have already asked for more and give them everything.

Using Your Elevator Pitch at a Networking Event

While networking, you’re only going to use your brief elevator pitch when engaging in conversation with new people.

This is such an important thing for you to understand because so many people screw this up and end up becoming ‘the person that other people avoid at networking events’.

Don’t be that guy!

You know who I’m talking about, right? 

The guy that immediately launches into a perfectly scripted, five minute long explanation of what they do and who they do it for. 

And you immediately run to the bar for a new drink so you can get away from him!

Networking events require a little more nuance and respect for how people would actually like to talk in conversation with other people.

Remember, the entire point of that elevator pitch is to get somebody who’s a good prospect going, “Huh, how do you do that,” or, “Huh, tell me more.”

When you’re networking, that’s exactly how you want to do it. You’re going to do the elevator pitch first. 

When they ask you for more information, that’s when you’re going to go into it more deeply with your full unique selling proposition IF, and only IF, the environment is appropriate for it. 

Otherwise, set up a time to talk later.

Using Your Elevator Pitch when Prospecting

When prospecting, you’re going to use a slightly modified version of your elevator pitch in your cold call script

Then you’re going to be prepared to give the full elevator pitch later in that conversation once you have your prospects full attention and interest.

It would go something like this,

“Todd, this is my Mike Cooch. I know I caught you off guard. I promise I won’t take more than five minutes of your time here, is that ok?”

Todd says, “Yes.”

“Great, thank you. Todd we help dentists keep their offices jam packed full of qualified patients. And in fact just in this last month we just finished up our initial campaigns for your buddy down the street that I know you went to dental school with and we have a 30% increase in new patients there in his office.

Let me ask you, what are you currently doing to make sure that you’re getting a good steady flow of new patients at your practice?”

The bolded section is my elevator pitch. 

Notice how in my prospecting pitch I rolled right into some social proof or statistics to back it up before the prospect even has a chance to respond.

When you’re prospecting, you have to have the right combination of being brief, but also packing enough punch to really get their attention. 

The script above achieves that balance.

Now It’s Your Turn!

Ok, I hope you now understand how important your elevator pitch is, and the different ways you’ll use it in your marketing materials and person-to-person pitches.

Now it’s your turn to create your elevator pitch, or to take the time to review it based on what you’ve learned.

If you have not ever done so, thoughtfully and deliberately creating your brand message is one of the most important and rewarding things you can do for your business.

This is not something that you want to leave up to chance. 

You want to really work on the specific language that’s going to be most compelling and give you the best chance to get in the door with your ideal prospect.

Don’t just wing it!

Once you have created your pitch, role play this sucker so you can say it with ease and confidence

This is particularly important for those of you who are just figuring out your services or your industry niche. 

Role playing this for 15 minutes each day will make it feel smooth, make it confident, and leave the right impression.

We’ve put together a series of worksheets to help guide you through the process of crafting your perfect elevator pitch.

Enter your email below to download them now!

FREE Download!
Learn How To Persuasively Pitch Your Services In 15 Seconds or Less!
Download Our “Elevator Pitch Mastery Worksheet” And 
Learn How To Craft Your Pitch Like a Pro!

All the best,


Mike Cooch and the Local Sales Lab Team

Mike Cooch

Mike generates 6-7 big ideas before breakfast (conservative estimate). LocalSalesLab.com CEO & founder is a “serial entrepreneur” with Texas-sized passion for sales & marketing, business development, and technology. He is an expert in local and digital marketing. His businesses have been named to the INC Magazine List of Fastest Growing Companies three years in a row, and were also nominated as a Best Place to Work in their respective cities. He is married with three children, and is learning to surf in his new hometown of San Diego (lifestyle design, baby!).

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