An elevator pitch is a brief description of your business.
An elevator pitch is named as such because oftentimes you must describe your business succinctly; in an elevator pitch you must describe your business within 30 to 60 seconds, about the time it takes to travel from the ground to the top floor in an elevator.
A quality elevator pitch:
- Gets everyone in your company on the precise same page regarding what your business is and what the key objectives are.
- Allows everyone in your company to give a concise and consistent explanation of your business which leads to more customers.
- Allows investors, lenders, partners, etc., to quickly understand what you do and hopefully get excited to work with your business.
Below you’ll learn the 7 keys to writing a winning elevator pitch with examples from successful companies.
Then you’ll see our elevator pitch template to allow you to skillfully create an elevator pitch for your business.
7 Keys to Writing an Elevator Pitch with Examples
Below are the keys to creating an effective elevator pitch with examples from multiple industries.
1. Make Your Elevator Pitch Short
With elevator pitches brevity and simplicity is the key.
Take for example the introductory statement of the elevator pitch of Sandy Lerner, co- founder of Cisco Systems:
The entire business premise is explained in just three words. A tremendous feat but one that is achievable with practice and patience.
2. Make it Simple
Use straightforward language in your elevator pitch with the goal that someone with very limited knowledge about your industry can easily understand your value.
Celebrated investor Michael Moritz in his book Leading recalls founders of Google- Sergey Brin and Larry Page’s straightforward elevator pitch:
Moritz recalls being impressed with the crispness and clarity of the pitch. The lesson here is that your pitch needs to be concise but with a clear sense of purpose and direction, which makes it memorable and easy to deliver.
3. Hook Them with What Makes you Unique
Your elevator pitch should arouse curiosity and make people want to engage with you to know more about your business and/or idea. It should be creative and distinctive.
Apple’s co-founder Steve Jobs was a star presenter who perfected the art of the hook. At the 2007 iPhone launch he began his pitch with the following statement:
Similarly, Airbnb’s pitch clearly highlights their distinctive offering:
Once you have people hooked you can expand upon your idea, depending on the time you have.
4. Include Numbers in Your Pitch
Instead of industry jargon, incorporate numbers into your elevator pitch. Investors understand numbers and a single relevant data point can do most of the influencing for you.
Consider the premise of The Laundress, a non-toxic fabric care company founded in 2004 that sold to Unilever for a reported $100 million in 2018:
Almost no one understands the specialized textile science that underpins The Laundress’ products. But almost everyone understands that dry cleaning is expensive and uses harmful chemicals. The 90% figure immediately prompts curiosity around how The Laundress will clean your clothes while saving money on dry cleaning and reducing your environmental impact.
5. Prepare Several Elevator Pitches for Various Stakeholders
When getting your business off the ground or trying to scale it you will pitch different stakeholders.
You might find yourself pitching to an investor, coworker or client. All will have a different agenda and need from your business. So, your elevator pitch to each one of them should be slightly varied to account for their needs and prospective benefits.
Consider a fictional startup aerosol disinfectant company and the below elevator pitches as framed to various stakeholders:
- Prospective investor: Aeroclean’s portable disinfecting equipment creates the finest mist on the market and performs twice as effectively at killing bacteria and viruses as the leading competitor. We estimate the market for products like ours will double in the next 24 months and, because we are the best in the business, your $500,000 investment will triple in that same period.
- Prospective salesperson: You will be joining Aeroclean at the front end of a massive market expansion never before seen in the disinfectant space. We expect that your past experience in chemical sales coupled with our competitively priced state-of-the-art product will result in a six-figure commission opportunity over the next 12 months.
- Prospective client: Keeping your common spaces bacteria and virus free will keep your workforce healthier and more productive, but 3 out of 4 companies we meet with haven’t found a solution that works for them. Aeroclean is portable, twice as effective as our competitor and priced at $1,500, payable over six months, and comes with a money-back guarantee.
6. Have a Key Takeaway
Make sure your audience knows what you want from them at the end of your elevator pitch, be that their business, capital investment or endorsement.
Consider Heal, a mobile app that facilitates doctor house calls for patients. Founder and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Renee Dua makes this pitch to potential patients on Heal’s website:
The takeaway here is a bid to you as the consumer to switch to Heal from other alternatives for your family’s healthcare needs.
7. Rehearse Thoroughly
Practice your pitch whenever you can and on whoever you can. Record yourself and play it back to see how you come across. Practicing also fosters confidence so that in an actual pitching situation you do not stall or come across as robotic.
Your delivery must be smooth and conversational. Seeing you entirely in control and confident will automatically inspire the audience’s confidence in the idea and/or business you are selling. The way you deliver your pitch is a great indication of the amount of passion you hold for your business. Hearing a passionate pitch can convince investors who invest in people as much as they invest in ideas.
The Elevator Pitch Template
The following elevator template includes six questions to help you develop the best elevator pitch for your business.
- What does your company do (start with phrases such as: we help, we provide, we manufacture, we offer, etc.)?
- Who does your company serve (who are your customers? teenagers? entrepreneurs, new parents, etc.)?
- What key benefits do you offer your customers? (e.g., higher quality/more success, lower cost, more reliable, etc.)?
- Why is your company better than competitors? (e.g., even faster, less expensive, etc.)? What information gives your firm more credibility (e.g., track record)?
- Is there a clear and clean business sector that your company fits into (e.g., restaurant, CPA firm, etc.)?
- Combine the key information from Questions 1-5 into a 35 word or less statement that describes your business. Say it aloud to make sure it sounds good and makes sense. Tell it to friends to make sure they “get” it. Tell it to employees to confirm that they can repeat it back to you.
Use this template and the examples above to create a winning elevator pitch for your business!