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Whether you are out at an entrepreneurship conference, mingling with friends, or you just so happen to know somebody who knows somebody who's able to help you take your company to the next level, you'll get this question: "What do you do for a living?" Or, "what is your company about?"
This is the perfect opportunity, not to necessarily "sell" your business but to make people want to know more about you and your company. The infamous "Elevator Pitch" was created for just such an occasion.
An elevator pitch is a conversation, or an ice breaker, that will (hopefully) lead into a deeper dialogue about the functionality, and specialty, of what you and your company can offer.
In practice you typically have just 60 seconds to leave an exciting, impactful and meaningful impression with whomever you come in contact with. So make them count.
Here are 5 tips that can help you develop your pitch:
1. Make them care. People can be kind, loving and caring, but sometimes it really comes down to answering that oh-so-pivotal question: "What can you do for me?" To get to this point, introduce yourself and address a problem right out of the gate. Explain the benefits your company can offer, which is ultimately a real solution. Personalize this person's problem into a question and give them the best solution: your company.
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2. Make it easy to join. If you have worked with some big name brands already, or even the competitors of the person that you are pitching to, don’t be afraid to mention that. It shows that you have credibility and you are growing. If this person's competition isn't using your service or products, the question is, why not? To an investor, being able to point customers -- especially high-profile ones -- shows traction.
3. Leave them wanting more. Elevator pitches are meant to be short, so don't try to pack in too much. Give just a couple of details but nothing that can be internalized as confidential. Explain your expertise, why you are best suited for the execution and a general overview. There is no non-disclosure agreements signed at the beginning of a pitch. The secret sauce should be saved for later. All you're required to do is be able to confidently broadcast that you know exactly what you're doing.
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4. Have a call to action. You did this pitch for a reason right? No matter if you wanted to snag an investment or gain a new client or employee, let your goals be known. If you are raising money, communicate how much you want and how much equity you're willing to part with. If you're trying to win over an employee or a client, let them know exactly what you want from them.
5. Be natural. Get comfortable with your pitch. You don’t want to sound like a pre-recorded program. Have passion, yet show some restraint. Most of all, relax! If you stumble that is totally fine, smile and start over. Practice as much as you can eventually you will find the perfect pitch for you.
6. Test yourself. We can't all pitch for the big leagues right away. As such, it's good to get as much feedback as possible. I had the opportunity to pitch to Amanda Steinberg (Founder, DaliyWorth) and Norm Brodsky (Inc. Magazine Columnist) on MSNBC’s Your Business. They gave great feedback on my pitch on what I can do differently, how to make it better and if I would get a second meeting with them.
Check out my video below, and don't be shy about giving your own feedback.
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The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Dwight Peters is currently a junior majoring in Entrepreneurship at the Baruch College. He's the founder of BackersHub, a reward fulfillment tool for crowdfunding campaigns. BackersHub allow campaign creators to customize backers rewards, manage their campaign and dropship rewards upon the completion of their campaign.