6 Essentials for Making Your Elevator Pitch Unforgettable
It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to start a new business, trying to make some new contacts, or just trying to drum up some new customers for your company. Your fate often begins and ends with a great elevator pitch.
Your elevator pitch, so named because you time it for the trip from one floor to the next, needs to succinctly capture the essence of your company. However, cramming the details of a complex business plan into an opening the size of a few sentences can be excruciatingly difficult, even more so when you’re trying to stand out and make a great first impression.
Fortunately, with the right strategies, you can make sure your elevator pitch is unforgettable.
1. Don’t lead with an introduction.
First things first: no matter what you do, don’t lead with a basic introduction. Going up to a cold lead and saying “Hi, my name is Kyle, and I work for X Corporation” is a surefire way to get someone to stop listening to you. At some networking events, this type of exchange is not only expected, but encouraged, but while it may work as a springboard for some personal interaction, it won't compel or interest any of your prospects. The reason? It’ s boring. It’s predictable. It isn’t unique. Find a different way to lead into your pitch.
2. Use an emotional appeal.
One of the greatest alternatives to the straightforward introduction is an emotional appeal. Even if you don’t lead with it, including an emotional appeal is still an important part of your pitch. Think about the needs your business is trying to address. What emotions go along with those needs?
For example, if you have a new solution for removing snow or ice from cars in the winter, you could lead in with “Have you ever felt frustrated trying to get into your car after a snowstorm?” This statement immediately conjures a memory or projection, and an emotion to go along with it, that give you more footing to use for the remainder of your pitch.
3. Add something strange.
Straightforward business ideas tend to go in one ear and out the other. Using conventional corporate buzzwords and describing your business plainly might give a logical and accurate description of your company, but won't leave behind anything memorable. What’s strange about your company? Compared to every other company in the market, what makes yours different? It can be your approach, your culture, your goals, your target market or something completely different. The goal here is to find some detail that really makes your company stand out.
4. Have some facts ready.
People like to hear factual information, especially if they’re going to consider a financial transaction with your company. It grounds your idea in a sense of reality; rather than speculating about how your company could fit into the current market, you’ll be proving it. Research your facts, and have many of them ready before you enter your pitch. Include a few in the start of your pitch, but also keep a few in your back pocket for use as the conversation continues.
5. Get your prospect involved.
Merely rambling about your company isn’t going to make you memorable to people who hear dozens of pitches a day. To making your pitch memorable, get your participant involved in a dialogue. Ask direct questions that require a response. Bring a prototype of your product that your prospect can handle. Find a way to get your prospect directly engaged with your presentation, and make it an unforgettable, interactive experience.
6. Don’t rehearse excessively.
It’s important to practice your elevator pitch. In fact, it’s crucial. Without a bit of practice, you could flounder or leave out important details when you give your pitch for real. But there’s a danger on the other end of the spectrum as well. Over-rehearsing your elevator pitch could ruin your chances of making a great first impression.
When you practice too much, you become reliant on specific words and phrases, in a specific order, to the point you go on auto-pilot, and your prospect will likely notice. Instead, practice sufficiently but trust your natural conversation skills to guide your pitch.