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Elevator Pitch:Why You Need One and Six Rules For A Killer Pitch


Elevator Pitch:  What Is it?​


Being able to deliver a good “elevator pitch” is probably one of the most important marketing skills that a business person can possess in today’s competitive market. A strong elevator pitch will make you much more likely to attract new business or capital, while a lousy one is almost certainly going to lose you that potential. Yet for some reason, this powerful tool is often under-utilized and misunderstood. Here are some guidelines for developing a powerful elevator pitch. 


An elevator pitch is essentially a short and concise summary that explains your business, product, or service and its potential value to the modern consumer, client, or investor. The idea is that you should be able to deliver this pitch within the duration of an elevator ride, and thus you typically want to limit it to no longer than 90 seconds to two minutes in length. You should begin with a hook that sparks your audience’s curiosity, and when they inquire further about your business, you need to explain how your product or service satisfies a demand, what sets you aside from the competition, and why they can expect to see you succeed in the future. 


Some Simple Rules: 

1. Start with a hook 

This is something to catch their attention. If you do not, they will tune you out, think their own thoughts, or even worse, chose to concentrate on the elevator music, or the freckle on your nose, rather than you and what you are saying. Work hard to come up with a great hook. Here are some ideas for a hook: 

•Ask a gripping question (for which you have the answer) - example: Will All Cell Phones Be Obsolete in 2014?  

•Debunk a Myth - example: Sugar is Not Bad For You

•Create Controversy - example: Women Are Too Emotional To Run A Business 

In doing this, you are thinking about what the problem is that you are the answer to and what people will lose by not listening to you. 


2. WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) 

When crafting your elevator pitch, think about who you are speaking to, and what’s in it for them. Why Do The Care? Although the story about how you invented your idea or product might be fascinating, they do not care. So, if you are speaking to a potential customer, concentrate on the benefits and value of your product/service for them. If you are speaking to a potential investor, talk about the growth potential, money-making potential, proof, and ROI. 


And in all cases, focus on what you want and don’t forget to ask for it. Never talk about what you don’t want. Only say what you want your audience to know and remember. 


3. Speak in 20-second sound bites 

Neuro Science says we can only process 20 seconds of information at a time. So, if your total pitch is 90-seconds, break it up into digestible chunks, make eye contact as you deliver your sounds bites, and pause for a second before launching into the next chunk. (You most likely will get a nod or an “I see” during your pause.) 


Further, our attention spans are shrinking. The Associated Press, in statistics released April, 2013, says the average attention span in 2000 was 12 seconds, and in 2012, it was down to 8 seconds. (Did I mention that the average attention span of a gold fish according to The Associated Press is 9 seconds. How do they know?) 


4. Smile and be likable – always 

In 3 seconds, people have already formed an opinion about you; whether they like you, trust you, believe you and want to buy from you. In 3 seconds their initial decision is made. You need to make those seconds count. 


5. Practice, practice, practice 

Give your pitch to yourself in the mirror 20 times a day until you have it down cold. Give it to everyone in your family, all of your friends, on the phone to everyone you talk to. Give it to the mailman and the check-out person in the store. 


It should be second nature for you to say it so that you can say it with meaning and concentrate on the person you are speaking to, rather than fumbling around for the words. 


6.  Groan

Oh no, now here’s the one rule to make you groan. You need more than one elevator pitch. I hinted at this in Number 2 above. You probably need 5 or 6. Think about your different potential audiences. You have one chance,,, only one. You must have the ability to say the right thing to the right person at the right time to get what you want. That’s a fact. You have to work to get what you want… So, my advice is, put in the effort. Write them down, memorize them, practice all of them. 


And remember, your elevator pitch is not just for the elevator. You should memorize it and practice it so you can deliver it on the spot no matter where you are. This way you will be prepared next time you meet a potential client, investor, or business connection, even if you weren’t expecting it. 


Once you’ve created your elevator pitch, we’d love to see it, and/or hear it. Call us and leave a voicemail at 760-452-7668 (please be sure to speak slowly and clearly and leave us your contact information so we can get back to you) or email us a copy of it at And we’d love your comments and feedback on this article, so please comment. 


For more help on crafting your elevator pitch, and on all of your marketing needs reach out to us for a free consultation at

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