How to give an Elevator Pitch

By Lavender Syanda, Digital Marketer and Career Peer Advisor

An elevator pitch is a 30-second memorable description of what you do and/or what you sell. The goal is to earn a second conversation, not to convince the person you’re talking to hire you or buy your solution.

So, what does one actually say? How does one start such a conversation anyway?

Even though it should be short and to the point how do you know which are the most important things to say? This post should answer all those questions for you.

Here is what to say during an elevator pitch
First, let’s briefly look at the structure of an elevator pitch. Keep in mind that you should have elevator pitches prepped and ready for different audiences, for instance, a potential customer, a potential colleague, or a business partner. The examples could go on and on however think about who you would like to give an elevator pitch to and have one prepared for them.

A good elevator pitch has five main parts. The fifth part is purely your effort.

Who are you?
This isn’t just about your name, this is about your value addition. Networking opportunities are all about the value proposition. The people you interact with might not remember your name because to be fair, at a networking event, one hears many names.

While it may be hard to remember a name at the end of the event, it is certainly easy to remember a sales associate or a digital marketer. [E.g. I’m Lila from Company ABC.]

What company do you work for?
This will be a showcasing of how well you know and understand your products and services. You can easily explain this in a simple sentence. [e.g. Our marketing company allows companies to increase their online reach].

What is your value proposition?
This can go two ways. What are you selling? Are you selling your value or the company you work for?

If you are selling your company’s value, then share what your company does that makes it better than the competition or your mission, or what your customers know about your company. [E.g. we enable customers to increase their online reach using our campaign feature which allows them to advertise on the four social media platforms at the same time at a fraction of the cost].

If you are selling your skills, then know what value you bring to a company and say that in place of what is unique to your company.

A captivating line to hook your audience
This will vary greatly depending on who your audience is, you could go with a relatable problem, industry statistics validating your company’s value, or with a testimony to cement that value proposition that you had just talked about.

Practice, practice, practice!
Even the best-written elevator pitch will be useless if you don’t practice it enough. This is not the time to be overly confident, remember that sometimes our brains betray us; we get nervous, flustered, and forget.

So prepare enough to ensure you can deliver it perfectly even if someone wakes you up in the middle of the night. When the day comes for you to finally deliver your pitch, just remember to be yourself. Regardless of the post of your audience, remember they are still human.

Right place, right time
It is inappropriate to make a pitch when you haven’t been given the audience. The modern customer hates a salesman so don’t be one. Instead, engage in normal conversation and only make the pitch when asked what you do or where you work and adjust the starting point accordingly.

You can create the opportunity yourself by asking the person you are speaking with what they do for work. Naturally, when they are finished, they will ask you the same question.

Elevator pitches are a nerve-wracking experience however with proper practice anyone can become a pro. Visit our offices on the 1st Floor, Freida Brown Student Center for more information and support.

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