The Elevator Pitch: Why You Need It and How to Craft It

Elevator_Pitch2

No matter what business you’re in, no matter what your product or service is, you need an elevator pitch. If your response to that statement is, “What the heck is an elevator pitch?”, then this post is especially for you.

Essentially, an elevator pitch is a short, well-worded summary of your business and/or service, along with something known as a “value-added proposition.” And you wouldn’t believe how often it comes in handy.

Why You Need One

You need an elevator pitch for three reasons:

1) To help people easily understand who you are and what you do.
If people aren’t able to understand — without a large amount of mental effort — what you do and why you do it, they’re probably not going end up paying you to do it for them.

2) To remind yourself who you are and what you do.
Every business or organization has a core purpose. By repeating it to strangers, your elevator pitch will help you stay true to your vision, no matter what side projects or new services you develop.

3) A good elevator pitch can mean the difference between a mere coincidence and an incredible opportunity.
If you’ve only got 30 seconds to hook someone, you need to be concise and confident. An elevator pitch helps you be both.

Elevator_confident

How to Craft One

For some people, crafting an elevator pitch is hard. So here are some simple guidelines:

  • Keep it short: Two sentences, max.
  • Keep it engaging: If possible, include a question.
  • Keep it customer-focused: Yes, you build awesome mobile apps. But why does that matter to them?
  • Keep it free of jargon: Any word that the average person would have to google in order to understand it does NOT belong in your elevator pitch.
  • Keep it specific: This is not the place for a lofty mission statement full of grandiose language. You do THIS thing for THIS customer for THIS purpose.

Elevator_jargon

An Example

Here’s an example of a bad elevator pitch:

“Our organization speeds the translation of biomedical laboratory research into healthcare practice and improved community health by training scientists and healthcare providers in our community to determine the molecular, genetic, pathophysiologic, and social determinants of disease and disease predisposition in individuals.”

(Um…whut?)

Here’s how that pitch could be improved:

“You know how it takes forever for lab research to improve mainstream healthcare? Well, we help eliminate that bottleneck by providing researchers and community healthcare organizations with funding, education, and physical resources that help them better prevent and treat disease.”

(Ohhhhhh, I get it! Well I’m a researcher or a leader of a community healthcare organization, sign me up for your newsletter. Also, have your business card?)

Some Seriously Great Articles

There’s a LOT of advice out there on building great elevator pitches. I feel like these three (especially the first one) dole out some great advice — some of it in the form of a gut-check.

“Your Elevator Pitch Needs an Elevator Pitch,” Harvard Business Review
“6 Tips for Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch,” Entrepreneur
“How to Give a Flawless Elevator Pitch,” Inc

Happy pitch writing!

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