What are the steps to an effective elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is one of the most important assets for every entrepreneur. It can open up many doors, referrals, and funds, or send them running. Even if you never plan to do any active networking in person, you need one, and a strong one.
Check out these eight steps to really making the most of this tool and opportunity…
1. Realize How Important An Elevator Pitch Really Is
A well thought out and polished elevator pitch is essential. You can live without ever having a business card. Maybe you can show up in your pajamas and still rocking an iPhone.
Yet, no matter how well put together you are with everything else, and even if you have the best product ever invented and the most beautiful code, it won’t matter without this.
From months and even years in advance of launching your startup or raising your seed round, through your Series D and exit, this is going to be your most valuable asset.
Your pitch deck, product or website won’t be seen unless you master the steps to an effective elevator pitch
Storytelling is everything which is something that you will need to master. First, you will do this on your elevator pitch and then on your own pitch deck.
On the pitch deck, this is being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted. Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400M (see it here).
If you want a more robust pitch deck template you can use for free the one I created below which has been used already by thousands of entrepreneurs to raise millions.
2. Know The Most Important Elements Of An Elevator Pitch
An effective elevator pitch should just be one or two lines. It’s literally something you can get through in part of a very short elevator ride, dozens of times in a speed networking, and everywhere else you’ll bump into humans for a few seconds at a time.
When it comes to the steps to an effective elevator pitch remember that you can back it up with another paragraph that goes more in-depth throughout the pitch, but any longer than a sentence or two and your tongue will be tripping over itself or you’ll lose them completely.
Ideally, a powerful and effective elevator pitch should:
- Say who you are
- Say what you do
- State who your ideal clients are
- Convey your value
- Explain how you are different (your USP)
- Grab their attention and get them to ask a follow-up question, offer a referral or want to take action
“I’m the co-founder of venture X, which helps entrepreneurs raise rounds of $100M or more, and structure exits of $250M or larger.”
“I’m the founder of startup X, which helps Fintech startups scale 10x faster by (blank) and (blank)”
3. Write It Out
One of the steps to an effective elevator pitch is without a doubt to write out.
It may sound good in your head now. What does it look like on paper? This will help you keep in concise, hone the words to perfection, and commit it to memory.
You may even want to carry this on a card in your wallet or as a note on your phone or as a screensaver.
4. Test & Get Feedback
Improve it by testing it out. Friends, family, cofounders, your fundraising coach, and your uber driver can all be great initial sounding boards.
Of course, they may all give you conflicting edits if you ask. Though they may give you some valuable suggestions too.
Don’t get too hung up on this initial part out of the different steps to an effective elevator pitch. Do keep improving as you go. Each word you use can make a difference in its effectiveness.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice
One of the most important steps to an effective elevator pitch is to practice it every day. Repeat it ten times in the morning, and keep rehearsing so it is automatic and natural.
It may feel weird to repeat the first few times. Just like any script or pitch. That will pass as it becomes second nature.
6. Use Your Elevator Pitch Everywhere
Everyone you pass or run into is a prospect to try your elevator pitch on. At first, it is practice. Though everyone you meet can be a potential prospect or referral source for some part of your venture from funding to recruiting to customers.
Don’t dismiss your taxi driver, the gas station attendant, the people seriously underdressed next to you, or anyone. You don’t know who they know, who they are or will be tomorrow, what they are working on, what influence they have, or the value you can offer them.
It’s easy. Just ask them what they do, or how they would describe what they do. 99 times out of 100 they’ll probably ask you back. That’s your cue.
7. Keep Tweaking It
What you are working on and what stage you are at will probably be much different in 18 months from now. You may be on a whole new round of fundraising. You may be looking to recruit your next executive team or your next 100 employees. Or you may even be considering exiting your business for hundreds of millions of dollars or at least moving into a new geographic region. You’ll still need an elevator pitch. Keep updating it.
8. Use It Everywhere
Your elevator pitch or at least a version of it may also make a great tagline, slogan, mission statement or other content.
Use it. Use it for seamless branding, social media profile bios, on your website, and as a template for your team.
An elevator pitch can be your most valuable asset as a professional, entrepreneur and startup founder. Recognize its potential value. Get a good one. Use it often and you will be well on your way to mater the steps to an effective elevator pitch.
You may also want to watch the video below where I talk in detail about how to create an elevator pitch.
FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE VIDEO:
Hello, everyone. This is Alejandro Cremades, and today we’re going to be talking about how to create an elevator pitch.
An elevator pitch, at the end of the day, is just what it says. It’s like if you have to go from floor 2 to floor 3 or 4 on the elevator, you need to be able to right away capture the attention of whoever you’re speaking to if they ask you what your business does. And do it with enough power, so that they actually get excited to want to know more about your business.
So, at the end of the day, an elevator pitch is 30 to 60 seconds. You don’t want to go more than that. In those 30 to 60 seconds, you’ve got to make it so powerful that someone is going to be super excited to ask you more questions about the business, about you, about the market, whatever that is. So, let’s get to it.
The first section is who you are. Here, when you’re talking about who you are, you want to talk about what your background is, perhaps the why behind, in first place, you got behind doing this business. I think this is something where you want to also talk about your track record in what you’ve done in the past, and how successful you were. Things like that are some of the areas where you want to highlight and bring it to life in that initial piece of the elevator pitch.
The next part of the elevator pitch is what you do. Here, you want to get into detail into what you’re doing with the business. Who are you serving? Who are your customers? What is the problem that you’re solving that your company is addressing a gap in the market? That is essentially the way that you are highlighting what you’re doing as part of your elevator pitch.
The next part of your elevator pitch is understanding or showcasing that you understand the clients that you’re targeting. When it comes to the clients or customers that you’re targeting with your company, with your business, here you want to get into detail. You want to talk about data like what’s the age of that client? Is it female or male? What is the geographic location? Those are the different things that you want to cover so that whoever you’re telling the elevator pitch to, they get an understanding that you’ve done your homework, and you really understand who you’re trying to go after to be your own customers.
The next part of the elevator pitch is to explain what makes you different. Here, what you want to do is really set yourself apart. There may already be some direct competitors, some indirect competitors, but there is a certain value proposition, or a certain way in which you’re executing that is making you be better, faster, and quicker than any other solution out there. So, this is what you want to highlight here.
The last part of the elevator pitch is to grab their attention — the attention grabber. Here, what you want to do is you want to finish it on a very high note and with the idea of triggering follow-up questions. You want to finish it on a high note, welcoming them to ask you any type of question on your business because the more questions they get to ask, the more excited that they’re going to be. With that being said, let’s throw in an example of what an elevator pitch could be.
In terms of examples, what you could say is, “Hi. My name is [your name]. I am the founder of [your company name]. What we’re offering is [your product or services] to address [your value proposition that you’re bringing to market].” Then, you go into talking about the competition, and you say, “Unlike [competition names], what we’re doing or what makes us really different is that we’ve recently accomplished [whatever milestones you want to throw in here].”
Then, you go into the Call to Action, and you go with something like, “Right now, we’re in the process of raising [your capital amount], and we are welcoming the conversations with any strategic partners that could help us to get things to the next level.” That’s exactly how you close the elevator pitch.
If you like this video, make sure that you click the subscribe button, also hit Like, leave a comment as well, and don’t forget to check the fundraising training that you can see on the link below where we help founders from A to Z with everything related to fundraising. We have templates, agreements, Q&As, a community of hundreds of founders helping each other that I think you will really, really like. With that being said, thank you so much for watching.