What does your company do? How to make an effective elevator pitch

By Sheena Liang

An elevator pitch is a professional introduction that will hopefully lead to a deeper dialogue about the value of what you and your company can offer. Why is it called an elevator pitch? The term comes from the idea that if you ended up in an elevator with someone, what would you say about your company on the elevator ride to start a conversation with them? In the United States, an elevator pitch is essential because people expect to learn about your company in a short amount of time. A successful elevator pitch should spark your audience’s interest and make them want to hear more. 

In general, you can use an elevator pitch anytime when someone asks you, “What does your company do?” An elevator pitch can be instrumental in earning the opportunity to gain meetings with potential clients, partners and investors, start relationships with key co-founders, vendors and team members, and open up more opportunities for your company.

To create an effective elevator speech, you can follow these four general steps:

Step 1: Decide your objective​

The first step to crafting your own elevator pitch is to have a clear and simple goal for the pitch. The goal will define how you should structure your elevator pitch. For example, if you are trying to sell a product or service, you should study the corresponding value proposition carefully and include their special features in your pitch, instead of talking about your own experience. The perfect elevator pitch should have a limited scope and be crafted based on the goal of your pitch.

Step 2: Provide a concise introduction

Once you have decided on the objective of your pitch, you can start writing about the first sentence of your pitch which should be an introduction of your products or business. Make sure you include some relevant details but in a clear and concise way. If you are selling a product, explain the problem it solves and how it functions. When introducing your company, you can mention the goal of your company and what services it offers. This step should include 2 to 3 sentences that lay the groundwork for a sale later on.

Step 3: Highlight the key points of your products and services

Your prospect might have heard of many companies with similar products and services so it is important to emphasize the unique points of your business and attractive offerings to engage your audience. When considering your unique points, it will be useful to be benefits-oriented. People always like to hear about what value you can bring and how they can be benefited. The following questions will help you decide as well: 

  • How does your product or service differentiate from others?
    • Are they patented?
    • Do they use special material?
    • Are they available at an unbeatable price?
    • Are they technologically advanced?
  • Is your company a pioneer in its industry?
  • Is it owned or financed by a well-respected and well-known person or company?
  • Has your company won a prestigious award?
  • Does your service solve a problem that no one else can?

After answering the questions, you should have identified some unique points of your company. Then you can use 2 to 3 sentences to summarize your key features that draw your audience attention.

Step 4: Provide a clear call to action at the end of your pitch

In the end, you should provide the next step for your audience to continue the conversation. After all, the purpose of the elevator pitch is to motivate the listener to take some action. Depending on who is the target audience, the action might be but not limited to scheduling an appointment for further discussion, visiting your business for a tour, or registering on your website. You can also ask a question like “would you like to hear more?” to push the conversation forward. If you are successful in gaining their attention, then you might get some follow-up questions. Be prepared to answer any questions to back up your claim, like how are you achieving this? How are you better than ‘XYZ’ competitor?

Elevator Pitch Template

  1. Your company name (1 sentence)
  2. What your company sells (2-3 sentences)
  3. Your unique selling proposition (2-3 sentences)
  4. A call to action (1 sentence)

Conclusion

Once your elevator pitch is ready, make sure you practice delivering it a few times to make it sound natural and convincing. It is useful to rehearse your pitch a few times in front of different people who know nothing about your business and take feedback and suggestions about your pitch. Also, make sure to educate your team members about the elevator pitch as well, because you never know when they will encounter potential customers or partners. It is always better to be prepared. 

To conclude, we provided some useful tips that could help you improve your pitch.

DO’s

  • Keep it short. Your pitch should be no more than 30 seconds.
  • Use common language. You want to make sure your prospect has a clear understanding of your company instead of confusing them with industry specific vocabulary.
  • Be engaging. It’s important to show the person that you are motivated and invested in what you are pitching.
  • Practice makes perfect. Before you ever give an elevator pitch out in the real world, you should spend ample time honing your message and practicing your delivery at home.

DON’Ts

  • Don’t try to explain a complicated concept in your brief elevator pitch. Simplify complex concepts into a quick, benefit-heavy message.
  • Don’t use the same elevator pitch for every audience. It’s important to tailor your pitch to the current context.

Markentry USA can help international companies define the best strategy to enter the US market, providing support from initial planning to further development. Our team can assist you with tweaking your elevator pitch and expanding business contacts and relationships.