Developing your elevator pitch

Every business owner should have an elevator pitch. This is the concise few phrases that explain who you are, what you do and how it could benefit the person you are talking to.

The phrase comes from the world of movies: imagine you are an aspiring screenwriter and you find yourself in an elevator with Steven Spielberg. You have until he reaches his floor to convince him that your story idea could be the next blockbuster Hollywood movie.

The same applies in business. You will often find yourself in front of an influential person – or someone who has clients who are influential people – and you only have a few seconds to be memorable and sell your proposition.

Networking pitches

If you are setting up in business, it’s vital to get out and about meeting potential clients at networking events. The best plan is to go to as many as possible in the first few months and then choose which ones are likely to work best for you and your business, then you can build up a strong group of networking colleagues in these groups.

Many networking events include a short pitch – it might be 40 seconds or a minute – and even at those that don’t have pitches, you will be introducing yourself and your business to people you haven’t met before. Either way this can be nerve-wracking and it’s best not to go in unprepared.

Tips for writing your elevator pitch

The best plan is to prepare a few standard phrases about your business that you can use again and again. Here are some tips for writing your elevator pitch:

  • List the benefits that you can bring to potential clients – think of everything from their point of view, not your own.
  • List the key words that describe what you do.
  • List your qualifications/experience for what you do.
  • Use these lists to craft a variety of sparky, memorable phrases.
  • Consider asking questions (Have you ever found that…?) that lead to answers favourable to the products/services you provide.
  • Use news stories or new industry developments to introduce your pitch.
  • Hone your pitch over time and produce several variations on your theme so people you see regularly don’t get bored of it.

Finally, take advice from others on which parts of your pitch they find most interesting/relevant and ask if there is anything you are missing out. When I first starting copywriting, I was told that I should add something into my pitch about having worked as a Guardian journalist, rather than simply talking about the services I provided, as this demonstrated that I had the right background and experience.

Tips for presenting your pitch

Ultimately, whatever you say, you have to back it up with good delivery.

  • Stand up straight and look people in the eye
  • Don’t read from a prepared script
  • Speak clearly and confidently (practice in the mirror)
  • Dress comfortably but appropriately
  • End with a call to action (speak to me afterwards, give me a call…)

With your elevator pitch in place, you will feel much more confident when talking about your business – and more likely to make contacts that ultimately win you business.

Robin making a memorable Christmas-themed pitch wearing a turkey hat







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