from US News.com 17 Jan 14 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
You might have ended up here for one of three reasons: 1) You don’t know what an elevator pitch is but know you need one, 2) you have an elevator pitch that needs some work or 3) you tried an elevator pitch and received a response that wasn’t so positive. No matter what brought you, follow these steps to write your best elevator pitch today.
1. Get them Wanting more, by knowing & defining your Purpose. Chris Westfall, the 2011 national Elevator Pitch Competition champion & author of “The New Elevator Pitch,” says “an elevator pitch (or introduction speech), is the best way to start off a persuasive conversation.” You could be trying to convince someone to invest in your idea, but your aim should be to get the listener to keep listening. “You are trying to get someone’s interest to continue the conversation. You really want to build a sense of intrigue, so people want to know more,” says Stephanie Burns, founder of Chic CEO, an online resource for female Entrepreneurs. Whether you are trying to fundraise, find clients or just introduce yourself, elevator pitches must be tailored to the listener & environment. “You want to create multiple elevator pitches for the audience you’re talking to,” Burns says. “Between networking and meeting with investors, the beginning of your pitch may be the same, but the end may be different.”
2. Draft your Pitch. Now that you understand an elevator pitch, you have to put it together. Its anatomy can be simple or complicated, depending on your audience. Westfall suggests that you include something surprising – but surprising in a good way – counter-intuitive and/or innovative to set yourself apart from an inauthentic “sales” pitch. Burns adds: “Clearly state what you do, know who you are targeting, the problem you are solving & include a hook that is intriguing.”
3. Do a clear Introduction. Practice one that’s no longer than two concise sentences in which you introduce yourself and explain what you do. Burns warns not to make this common mistake: “Avoid being vague in what you do and how you can help them.” Westfall says some people have difficulty being concise. So if you’re a doctor, don’t go into detail about your surgical procedures, and if you’re a lawyer, don’t start rattling off all the cases you’ve won. “Stop looking at yourself and reciting your LinkedIn profile. You have to demonstrate that you have done your homework,” he advises. You’re there to start a conversation – not chase your subject away.
4. Tell a Story, is the quickest & easiest way to differentiate yourself from everyone else your subject has talked to. According to Westfall, you should use your story to tell your history & accomplishments. “The story is the meaning factor and gets the listener to ask, ‘Tell me more.'” Use the basic principles of storytelling by discussing a challenge you faced, how you solved it & what you learned.
5. Tell them “What’s in it for Them” and consider the Solution you can provide. If your pitch or speech is ineffective, people will think, “So what?” and wonder, “What does that have to do with me?” Consider whom you are talking to and your setting. “You will have a different pitch with your potential Customer, and a different message delivered to your Team as opposed to the possible Investors,” Westfall says. “If you don’t phrase your accomplishments and goals in context, it’s not relevant to the listener.” Westfall adds that you have to walk the line of authenticity. You can say something like, “Because of this, I believe I might be able to do this.” But it can be too aggressive to assert that you can fix or solve someone’s problem by tomorrow.
6. Hook your Listener. We all have short attention spans, so you have to hook us like a fisherman hooks a fresh catch. Burns calls this the “Wow factor,” or in other words, something that leads the conversation. Westfall suggests you avoid slogans & sales pitches totally. “You want to show you thought this through, but you don’t want it to sound rehearsed,” he says. (even tho’ you might have)
7. Have a “Call to Action”. Your Call to Action should be tailored to what you want from your listener. If you’re at a networking event, you may want to schedule another meeting. If you meet a potential investor, you may want to schedule a follow-up meeting – to share your budget details. “Your call to action is a logical next step. You should make it easy for the listener to say yes,” Westfall says.
8. Practice, practice, practice, (after you’ve written your Pitch), with a variety of people and make revisions based on the feedback you receive. Burns says some of the biggest mistakes are: 1) not answering the questions of “Who, what, when, where & why”, 2) crafting a pitch once and not modifying it, & 3) not paying attention to the feedback.” She says your pitch should evolve over time, and if a subject’s eyes glaze over or they walk away, it’s a definite sign, your pitch needs work. So do it.
Comments: Do you have any ideas on how to make your Elevator Pitch more effective?