In his startup’s initial days, a founder always meets different people from different industry verticals, looking for mentors, angel investors, venture capitalists, and more importantly customers. One of the key skills that such a founder must have is to be able to explain his startup in simple words which anyone can understand in no time. An elevator pitch fulfills this purpose.
An elevator pitch is the best way of sparking an interest about your startup in the listener’s mind. It is a concise explanation of your startup. It mainly answers four questions for the listener:
Additionally, having a good elevator pitch helps to answer the question, ‘Why should I invest/collaborate in your startup?’ A good elevator pitch is interesting, engaging and memorable and generally lasts between 30 and 60 seconds. Always remember to keep your elevator pitch short enough so that you can explain it to someone even when you are in an elevator.
As we all know, ‘Opportunity only whispers, it never shouts’. An effective elevator pitch can help you grab such opportunities while you are meeting and networking with new people in the startup community. So it is really important to create an effective elevator pitch.
Here are seven tips to prepare a killer elevator pitch.
1. KISS – Keep It Short and Succinct
Always keep your pitch short and simple. Do not use fancy words to make you look smarter. The listener may not understand, eventually losing interest in your idea. Use words that can create a visual image in the listener’s mind. This will make the message memorable. It is good to add some key statistics/data which substantiates why your product/service is best and why it is important for the listener. Adding data to your pitch gives it credibility and makes it more believable for the listener.
2. Avoid jargon
Never use industry specific jargon in your elevator pitch. This makes the pitch difficult to understand, especially for people who are not from your industry area.
3. Tell a story
A relatable story is a good way of keeping listeners engaged in your pitch. Always create a story about the customer, his pain and struggles and how your product/service is giving a helping hand to him. Always give a personal/emotional touch to your story.
4. Have specialized pitches for different class of audience
It is good to have at least two-three variations of your elevator pitch ready with you. This is because you will probably meet different people from different industry verticals with different business interests. In such a case, your elevator pitch must match their interest in order crack the deal. Make your pitch specific to the audience that you are addressing.
Many times your startup may strive to solve problems which span across different customer segments. In such cases, it is better to create different elevator pitches with slightly different ‘value offerings’, in order to engage customers from each segment.
5. Keep it Goal Oriented
Always know what you want to achieve through your elevator pitch. Is it a new customer, a business mentor or an angel investor to fund your startup? Or is it someone to validate your idea? As already suggested, create two-three goal oriented variations of your elevator pitch.
6. Keep ‘Mind-Hooks’
Hooks are elements of your elevator pitch which seize your listener’s interest and make him want to know more about your startup. Such hooks help you to hit the chord in the listener’s heart. You should always try to add a few such hooks in your pitch.
7. Have a Call to Action
A good elevator pitch contains a call to action (CTA) for the listener. It can be to visit and register on your site, to download and try your app or to subscribe for your service. Be explicit and concisely detailed, while specifying your call to action. Make sure that your call to action is small and one that can be completed in a few seconds.
Once your elevator pitch is ready, the next important thing is to be able to deliver it perfectly. Be confident and passionate while delivering your pitch. Don’t be over excited while delivering it as it is distracting and can put off the listener. Rehearse your pitch a few times in front of different people who know nothing about your business. Always take feedback and suggestions about your pitch, and make respective improvisations.
Feel free to add more such tips in the comments section.