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"The Elevator Pitch"

Your elevator pitch is your competitive advantage, the first thing people hear about you and your startup. It's your 30-second chance to explain what makes your business stand out. The last thing you want to do is waste precious seconds rattling off a list of features instead of explaining what value they bring. If you're struggling to come up with an elevator pitch that works, here are some tips to get you started!

Your product or service is fantastic.

  • Be confident, but not arrogant. Being cocky is a turn-off for many people and will make them less likely to buy from you.

  • Be honest about your product or service. If it is not the best in its field, don't try to pass it off as such. Potential customers want to buy something that they are going to be happy with, so be honest and upfront about any shortcomings the product may have (if there are any).

  • Be proud of your product! This is your baby, so show some love! It's okay if there are naysayers out there questioning its validity—you know better than anyone else what makes this great. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!

  • Be specific about your product or service; explain why it's unique and how it solves problems other products don't address adequately enough for potential customers' needs/wants/desires/etc...

Your special sauce is more than just a checklist.

When it comes to pitching, the purpose of your special sauce is not just to make you sound unique. It's also about making yourself stand out from the competition.

You see, most people make the mistake of thinking their elevator pitch is just a list of product features or benefits. But if you want people to buy into your idea and trust that you can deliver on it, there's got to be more than just a checklist involved in your presentation.

Your special sauce should include:

  • A story that explains why this particular problem exists

  • How many other businesses have faced this problem before and how they've tried solving it (and failed)

  • How YOU'RE going to solve THIS specific problem using YOUR unique solution

You have to know who you're talking to in order to sell anything.

When you're on the phone with a prospect, if you don't know who that person is and what they need, then how can you sell them?

  • Know who your audience is. If you're talking to someone in sales for one of their clients, would that change anything about how you talk to the client? If so, be sure anyone else involved knows those details as well.

  • Know their needs and pain points. Do some research beforehand so that when it comes time for the pitch, you can speak directly to those issues without sounding like an infomercial or coming off like a used car salesman (unless of course that's part of your brand).

  • Know their business—and how they buy things. What kind of decisions do they make? How long does it take them to make those decisions? Are there any specific people at this company who have already bought from this type of product before and might be willing to share some insight into the process? These are just some examples; there may be others depending on what type of product/service we're talking about here but either way these questions are definitely worth asking yourself before making any calls!

An elevator pitch is a conversation opener, not a conversation closer.

You don't want to start with a sales pitch. Instead, think of it as a conversation opener. It’s okay to be the one who asks questions and drives the conversation forward. The idea is that you should be able to get the other person to ask questions and want to learn more about what you have to offer.

The elevator pitch is not meant to close any deals—it's just meant as an introduction so that people will remember who you are and what your company does when they need something later on down the road.

No one wants to be told they have a problem they don't know they have.

Most people don't like to be told they have a problem. But if you can get them to admit that there's a problem, you're already halfway toward the sale.

That's because people are more likely to buy if they feel in control of their own decisions. So instead of telling them what they need and hoping it will work out, ask your prospect questions: "What's holding you back?" "What would make this project easier?" "Why do you think this is happening?" In other words, let them tell you how they see the world - then show them how it could be different.

If your prospect tells you that she has trouble keeping up with her inbox or that she needs better customer service or administrative help in her business - those are immediate opportunities for an elevator pitch! You'll know exactly how to present your solution: whether through software or consulting services or whatever else makes sense for both parties involved in this potential deal.

Don't tell them everything; it's not about your whole product or service.

This is the big one. In order to sell something, you need to know what it is that you're selling and be able to communicate that effectively in a short amount of time. But don't tell them everything; it's not about your whole product or service.

If you're selling a car, don't tell me about how much horsepower it has or how many miles per gallon it gets because those details are completely irrelevant in the context of an elevator pitch. If I'm interested in buying a car, I'll go test drive one and then ask questions about fuel economy and performance later on down the road. If you've got a great story or unique benefit that sets your product apart from its competitors—and this isn't necessarily tied into its features—then do tell me!

The same goes for services: Don't tell me every single thing about what makes your company different from all other companies out there providing similar services; pick two or three things that really resonate with potential customers (and make sure those things are actually true) and focus on those alone during an elevator pitch meeting.

Your pitch should communicate value, not features.

One of the biggest mistakes I see salespeople make is that they focus on the features of their product or service. Features are important—but they're only a part of the story. The most powerful elevator pitches communicate value, not features.

When you talk about how your product or service adds value to the lives of your customers, you're communicating its importance to them in a way that sticks with them long after they leave the conversation.

Practice the way you speak and act while pitching until it comes naturally.

Don't just practice the pitch alone in your room. You must practice it in front of others. The more you do, the better you'll get at it.

  • Practice with a mirror: There's no one around to watch you and give feedback, but if your pitch needs work, it will show in your body language and facial expressions when you're looking at yourself in a mirror. Fix whatever is wrong with these elements before moving on to other types of practice.

  • Practice with friends or family members: This is similar to practicing with a mirror—the people watching can give feedback and ask questions about what they're hearing—but it allows for some more natural conversation as well as time for questions that weren't part of the script (which are good things).

  • Record yourself while practicing: This can be done via video camera or even just audio recording so long as there is some way of replaying what was said later on without needing someone else present; reviewing recordings helps make sure that there aren't any weird pauses or stutters that might have gone unnoticed during live action due to nerves getting the best of us!

Crafting an elevator pitch that sells requires planning and practice.

You need to be prepared and able to sell at any time. You need to be able to speak clearly and concisely, answer questions, adapt your pitch for different people, and sell yourself. This can take practice.

You should consider practicing your pitch for every situation you might encounter:

  • In the elevator with a coworker (or boss) who doesn't know what you do? Use this opportunity as an opportunity to see how well your message holds up in conversation. If it doesn't, what can be changed?

  • At a networking event full of strangers who want to know more about what they heard over the noise? Practice until you are comfortable enough with your elevator pitch that you don't hesitate when someone asks you about it!

Practicing is just one way that even non-professional salespeople can prepare themselves for battle (and win).


You have the power to pitch your business or product in a way that gets people excited and interested. You can do this. It's just a matter of following our advice, getting out there and practicing, and figuring out what works best for you and your target audience. Good luck!

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