Ben Crosby

Imagine this: 

You’ve had a million-dollar idea sitting in your back pocket just waiting for the right time and resources to realize it. 

Then one day, you’re taking the elevator up to your office when the door dings early. Suddenly, in walk Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary (or whichever “Shark Tank” sharks are your favorite). After a moment of disbelief, the door closes and you finally have the captive audience of investors you’ve been waiting for, but there’s only one problem: You only have your business card and a 30-second elevator ride to win them over.

So how do you do it? With an elevator pitch, of course.

Overly literal hypothetical aside, an elevator pitch can be invaluable to have on hand because you know when you’ll have the opportunity to promote yourself or your ideas to the right people. Whether you’re giving a sales pitch, introducing yourself in a job interview or proposing a business idea, having a short speech at the ready can save you from stalling in the moment and propel your career forward.

In this blog, we’ll be diving into everything you need to know about developing and delivering the perfect elevator pitch that leaves a lasting impression and helps you get ahead.

What Is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch, or elevator speech as it’s sometimes called, is a short but persuasive sales pitch for whatever it is you’re trying to sell — whether that’s a skill or professional experience you have, an idea you came up with, or an actual service or product. 

The key word here is “short.”

A compelling elevator pitch only needs about 30 seconds to explain the idea or product, why it’s valuable and why the other person needs it. For reference, that’s about 60-90 words — or about the length of this definition.

When To Use an Elevator Pitch

Despite the name, an elevator pitch can take place in almost any location. While you’re likely not going to run into the cast of “Shark Tank” any time soon, there’s always a chance you could find a potential investor in your day-to-day life. However, it’s far more likely you’ll be able to find your target audience at a networking event for other professionals.

If you’re a job seeker searching for a potential employer, try having a personal elevator pitch prepared for the next career fair you attend. By memorizing a short speech on your specific skills and experience, you’ll be ready to deliver a successful pitch that could land you an interview for your dream job.

How To Write an Elevator Pitch

While the specifics of your pitch will depend on whatever it is you’re trying to sell, crafting the perfect elevator pitch isn’t all that complicated. All it takes is 5 simple steps:

1. Introduce Yourself, Your Company and Your Idea

Before you introduce who you are and what you’re doing, it’s essential to set the stage by establishing the problem you’re going to solve. This is your hook — the primary pain point or problem that’s meant to resonate with your audience and get them to pay attention. As always, be succinct and get straight to the point of why they’d want to listen. Once you have their interest, it’s time to show them how you’ll solve their issues.

2. State Your Value Propositions

Explaining the solution is the most fundamental part of an elevator speech, so it’s essential to spend your time crafting this section. More than just communicating why your solution, company or idea is useful, you’ll need to articulate the key value propositions you’re able to deliver. This will differentiate you from the competition and demonstrate what your audience stands to gain.

3. Define Your Goals and Mission

Whether you’re persuading a potential client or leaving a lasting impression on a potential employer, you’ll want to clearly communicate your personal (or organizational) goals and overall mission. For example, my short pitch example might go something like, “I’m a writer at Brafton. We’re a content marketing agency committed to helping clients unlock their brand’s full potential with high-quality, data-driven content.” This clearly describes who I am and what Brafton does without getting too wordy.

4. Close With a Clear Action or Next Steps

As you close out your elevator pitch, it’s important to leave your audience with a call to action, or at least a question that will leave them thinking about you. It could be as simple as, “Sign up with this QR code,” or “Call the number on my business card.” Ideally, you should come out with concrete next steps, so it’s best not to leave things open-ended. For instance, instead of saying, “Let’s chat sometime!” try saying, “When is a good time to talk in more detail?”

5. Practice, Edit and Repeat

Finally, a great elevator pitch requires practice. Once you have your first draft written, read it out loud to make sure it sounds professional without feeling overly formal. As you practice, try to relax yourself into a conversational tone and continue playing around with word choice and order. After all, you don’t want potential clients, employers or investors to feel like you’re just reading a script to them.

Elevator Pitch Examples to Inspire Yours

To help inspire you to write your own successful elevator pitch, here are a few templates you can use and tweak to make your own:

Example #1: Lead With a Captivating Question

Does your team struggle to manage project workloads? I’m [Your Name], a software expert from [Company]. We specialize in delivering easy-to-use automation solutions tailored to your workflows. With [Product], our all-in-one project management platform, you can boost collaboration, streamline repetitive tasks and revolutionize your productivity. If you’re ready to say goodbye to bottlenecks and missed deadlines, I’d love to talk more about [Product] with you.

Why does this pitch work?

By opening with a question that targets their specific pain points, you immediately pique their interest and get them to pay attention to what you have to say. 

Example #2: Create a Sense of Urgency

Cybersecurity threats are evolving at break-neck speeds with reported attacks increasing year over year. The reality is that your sensitive data could be vulnerable to sophisticated breaches. At [Company], our team is committed to developing a digital fortress to safeguard against these threats. With [Solution], you get proactive, round-the-clock monitoring and support from our leading cybersecurity experts, you can rest easy knowing your data is protected. Don’t wait until it’s too late — let’s talk more about how [Company] can help you.

Why does this pitch work?

This pitch employs a bit of fact-based fear factor to instill a sense of urgency around the solution without being too pushy or resorting to scare tactics.

Example #3: Craft a Compelling Story

Hi, I’m [Name], founder of [Company]. We started back in 2010 as a ragtag group of tech enthusiasts with a dream of transforming the way we connect with each other at work. Over the past decade, we’ve grown into a worldwide powerhouse in communication software, empowering greater collaboration with our platform, [Solution]. Join us on this journey as we continue to cultivate connected, more productive teams.

Why does this pitch work?

Creating a narrative around your pitch is like a cheat code for boosting engagement. Your story doesn’t have to be long — it just has to communicate the key points about your business.

Example #4: Support Your Story With Data

Did you know that switching to solar power can help reduce your electricity costs by up to 80% within the first three years alone? At [Company], we provide sustainable energy solutions tailored to your business needs. Whether you’re trying to minimize your carbon footprint, follow through on your sustainability goals or just cut down on costs, our solar panels could be the answer you’ve been looking for. Let’s set up some time to discuss your energy needs.

Why does this pitch work?

In addition to opening with an intriguing question, this pitch example uses an attention-grabbing statistic that speaks to a specific pain point of the audience.

Example #5: Keep It Short and Simple

Did you know the average data breach costs a company $4.5 million? Don’t let [Audience Company] become a statistic. Since 1998, [Company] has consistently demonstrated our ability to defend our clients against cyberattacks and safeguard their sensitive data. Can we schedule some time to talk more about how [Company] can keep your information protected?

Why does this pitch work?

Not only is this elevator pitch short and to the point, coming in at 55 words, but it also combines all the strengths from the other examples. It opens with a question that presents alarming data, creating a sense of urgency before telling the story of the company and how it can help.

While you don’t have to follow these templates to the T, they can serve as a launching pad for your own ideas, helping you craft the perfect pitch to win over anyone listening.