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    27 December 2012

    Love in an Elevator - Perfecting the Perfect Elevator Pitch

    Heads up. Describe your business in under a minute. Was it convincing? Now shorten it to 30 seconds. Still effective? How about one sentence that sums up what sets you apart from your competition? Not so easy, is it? Though you may feel that it’s impossible to capture the essence of your complicated business in a sentence, the fact is that great concepts should always be able to be articulated concisely. An elevator pitch may be an old-fashioned concept, but it’s more important than ever.

    You Talkin’ To Me?

    A great elevator pitch is not a static entity. Though it should always convey the appropriate message, you should have several different versions ready to target different audiences. Have you just met a potential investor in a hotel lobby? Your pitch should address how your new financier will turn a profit quickly. Did you run into a potential customer at the airport? Your pitch should address the consumer’s particular concerns and how you plan to address them. Though your pitch may differ in details, the substance should be the same. It should always contain the underlying unique aspect of your business.

    Carnegie Hall

    Practice your elevator pitch. Take it seriously. You may feel a little silly rehearsing a short speech in the mirror and chatting with a non-existent person. Get over these feelings and practice, practice, practice. Have you ever met a person with magnetic charisma? People tend to hang on their every word. You want to manifest these same qualities, at least for a minute. Write down your ideas in bullet points. Try to blend them together in terse and snappy form. Say them aloud. Record them and play them back. Perform your elevator speech in front of a trusted friend or colleague. Keep tweaking your pitch as your business grows. Remember, your business is evolving; so should your pitch.

    Open, Don’t Close

    Don’t be preoccupied with closing a sale or making a deal with your elevator pitch. Of course, you should always have an eye on the close, but think of your pitch as simply an opener. You want to generate interest and engender excitement. You’re just giving them a sample of the solutions you’ll be offering later. Set the table. Serve the ball. And don’t forget to hand off a simple but stylish business card. Identify the problem and pique their curiosity. If you’ve done well, they will be excited to return the ball and continue the conversation. Even if they’re not personally interested, you never know if they will hand your information off to another interested party.

    Tell a Story

    Your elevator pitch should resonate emotionally with your listener. This is not time to go into detail about the ins and outs of your business. Never try to sway with facts and figures. Try to determine the solutions your listener is seeking and convince him or her you can deliver them. Relate to them personally and communicate an anecdote that tells them of your journey. Brag a little. If you can back it up, you’ll come across as confident, not pompous.

    Matthew Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Adam. Matthew is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.

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    5 Responses to Love in an Elevator (Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch)

    1. Michael Kawula December 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

      This is great and so important. I’ve been doing a ton of “Grubwithus” networking dinners and I’m amazed when we go around the table how many owners don’t have their story down, yet so many have a great business. I also been hearing so many use language that many at the table don’t understand. Its funny typically after a few questions someone at the table will say eventually, “so your business provides ….. “and everyone gets finally what they do and begin to interact. KISS (Keep it Simple Silly) is what I’ve learned!

    2. Kevin Thomas December 30, 2012 at 8:36 am #

      The tell a story part resonates the most with me. Great article man

    3. Meuble salle de bain bois January 8, 2013 at 5:34 am #

      The tell a story part resonates the most with me. Great article man

    4. Matt Brennan January 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

      Good post! Your last point is so important here. You have to emotionally appeal to the person you’re talking to. That means letting them know they’re not alone, and keeping a narrative that they can relate to. You’re the solution to their problem, and your elevator speech is the time to sell them on that fact!

      • Matthew T January 10, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

        @Matt Very good points that you have so graciously provided. Thank you for taking the time to post this info here! Cheers!

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