How a Great Elevator Pitch Can Win You New Clients
Imagine entering an elevator and finding that the only other person in the lift is your dream client or the hiring manager for your dream job. It’s just the two of you, and you are both riding to the 20th floor. You have about 30 seconds to introduce yourself and explain all the reasons why you–or your business–are the perfect fit for her needs.
You take a deep breath, smile, and deliver your best elevator pitch.
As you reach the 20th floor, the person hands you her card and asks you to call so you can talk more. Success!
If imagining this scenario has you wondering what in the heck an elevator pitch is and how to write one, this blog is for you.
The HireMyMom team has seen firsthand how an elevator pitch can launch a career or change the trajectory of a business. Here we explain what an elevator pitch is, and share our best tips for creating and delivering one that works for you.
What’s an Elevator Pitch?
An elevator pitch is a short, well-rehearsed introduction of yourself and your skills/business. The pitch conveys all the vital information about you in around 30 seconds, using about 75 to 100 well-selected words.
It’s called an elevator pitch as a reference to a time when people generally worked in offices, and catching an executive in the elevator was an opportunity people sought.
Of course, the world has changed. In all likelihood, neither you nor your dream client is riding an elevator up to an office. But, the need for an elevator pitch remains as strong as ever, even if the pitch is delivered over Zoom or at a local networking event.
A good elevator pitch shows that you are comfortable taking the lead in conversations, makes it easy for you to introduce yourself to potential clients and employers, and helps you proceed with confidence when someone asks you to tell them about yourself.
The key is to develop an elevator pitch before you need it and then rehearse it, so you are ready to go when the opportunity arises.
How to Create an Elevator Pitch
Developing an effective elevator pitch is a process, and it takes some work and attention. But, the good news is that you are the world’s foremost expert on the topic of why you are a great find.
Write down some key points you want to include in your pitch to get started. In general, your elevator pitch should:
- Start with an introduction. Include information about yourself. Share your name, add something about your education, and highlight your prior professional experiences.
- Move on to a clear description of the problem your skill/business can solve.
- Mention the customer/business who would most benefit from your skill/product.
- Describe the benefits the customer/employer would enjoy from working with you.
- Ask for a follow-up meeting.
Tell a (Short) Story
Once you identify your key points, start working them into a narrative that feels comfortable for you.
Here’s an example of an elevator pitch that someone launching a Virtual Assistant business might use.
“Hi, I’m Kate. It’s so nice to meet you! I have a degree in business administration and run a thriving Virtual Assistant business helping small business owners free up more time and space to focus on their core business. I do that by taking all the back-office tasks off their plates in a seamless way. I can book meetings, respond to customer requests, or take calls–I offer a fully customizable suite of services based on your needs. I’d love to talk more with you about how I can help make your business run more smoothly.”
Here’s another example of a pitch for a freelance graphic designer.
“Hi, I’m Lisa. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve always been interested in graphic design and recently earned a degree in the field. I’m particularly interested in creating gorgeous e-commerce sites for small business owners. I use my design and photography skills to make your products stand out. I’d love to talk with you about how we could work together if that’s Ok. Let me get your card or jot down your email and I’ll send you some additional information.”
Here’s an example of a pitch that would suit someone looking for a full-time job.
“Hi, I’m Joanna. After several years of bookkeeping, I earned a certificate in Accounting and am eager to find a full-time position where I can use my skills and experience. Your company has a great reputation in the industry. I’d love to join your team to contribute while I continue to learn and grow. Do you have a card to share? I’d love to send you a follow-up email or set aside time to talk about opportunities.”
Once you have a narrative you like, start saying it aloud. Try it out on a friend and make tweaks to sections that don’t feel comfortable. Pick up a pen (or keyboard) and make changes to sections that don’t feel natural or need a little polish.
After your tweaks, get out a timer and see how long it takes to deliver your pitch.
- If it runs more than a minute, sharpen it a bit so you can comfortably deliver the message in under 60 seconds.
- If your message takes less than 30 seconds, look for a way to beef it up.
Practice Make Perfect
Once you have your pitch ready to go, you are confident in the content, and you know how long it takes to deliver it, it’s time to practice. The more times you say it, the more comfortable you’ll feel delivering it.
As you say it out loud, you’ll get a sense of where you might stumble, the words you most want to emphasize, and the cadence that feels most comfortable. To get there faster:
- Deliver the pitch to your spouse.
- Share it with a friend.
- Practice in the mirror.
- Say it to yourself in the car.
- Recite it as you pet the dog.
We’d love to hear about your elevator pitch. Tell us how you developed it, where you used it, and how it worked. We can’t wait to hear about it!