February 18, 2010

How to Write and Develop an Elevator Pitch


Hostway Team

By Winmark Business Solutions
What is an elevator pitch?

One of the most important things you can do as a businessperson is to learn how to effectively tell others about your business. You should be able to sum up the most unique and compelling aspects of your service or product in a way that catches a person's attention and piques their interest. An elevator pitch will help you articulate your message, close deals, find new prospects and help your audience understand what you are talking about and why they should care. And as the name says, you should be able to do this in the amount of time it takes to ride the elevator – about 15 to 30 seconds!

Why do you need an elevator pitch?

While you could spend hours talking about your business, most people do not have the attention span or time to listen to your “spiel” for hours. Therefore you need a concise, educational way to teach others about what you do and leave them intrigued. The elevator pitch allows you to explain your business quickly and to the point – think “Big Picture.” Your elevator pitch should not sound “salesy” or focus completely how great your product or service is. You want to talk about your business and what it is that you do—not just what you are selling.

Two questions your elevator pitch must answer:

1. What is your product or service? Briefly describe what it is your company does, what your role is and who you work with. Keep this description high level and do not go into too much detail.

2. What is your competitive advantage? You need to communicate how your company is different and stands out from your competition.

Things to remember when creating your elevator pitch:

  • Always Be Prepared and Know Your AudienceAdjust the pitch to the person who is listening, and refine it as you and your business continue to grow and change. Depending on how you market your business and which settings you frequent, you may want to develop several different elevator pitches, which feature key words depending on your audience.
  • Be Concise and ClearAn effective elevator pitch contains as few words as possible and is spoken slowly and with confidence. Rather than filling your pitch with industry acronyms and verbiage, an effective elevator pitch should be able to be understood by a number of acquaintances from various industries and roles.
  • Practice, Practice, then Practice Some MoreVery few people have the power to make compelling speeches about their entire professional lives on demand and under pressure. Take time to write down a pitch, practice, tweak it and practice again.
  • Use it or Lose it!Don't just save your elevator speech for networking events!Give your elevator speech to anyone willing to listen. Friends, family, colleagues all may offer different insight as to what points you are missing from your pitch. This will teach you how to adapt or change to appeal to a variety of different audiences, as well as allow you to prepare for the different types of questions your audiences may ask you.

About the Author

Winmark Business Solutions (WBS) is a free Web site for small businesses and entrepreneurs containing over 6,000 pages of business-critical information and downloadable tools at www.WBSonline.com. WBS is a division of Winmark Corporation, a multi-brand franchisor with nearly 900 franchise locations in North America. With over 25 years working with small businesses, WBS draws upon years of experience to bring important small business articles, information, tools, forms, checklists, calculators and downloadable forms to the small business owner to help their business grow. WBS contains over 6000 pages of business-critical information all available at www.WBSonline.com.

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