Why you should come up with a 30-second “Elevator Pitch”


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What in the world is a 30-second elevator pitch you might ask, and why is it important?

Imagine this, you win a competition and first prize is a 30-second advertising slot in prime time on a national television station. You’re a small business owner and this is an awesome opportunity for you to get your company’s name recognized. Think about it, what are you going to say? Millions of people have no idea who you are or what your company does.

Here’s another scenario. Your small business is participating in a trade show. The press is there and a reporter sticks a microphone up to your face. Are you prepared? If not the reporter will be very nice to you but back at the station the editor will cut you out completely! That’ll teach you for standing there all tongue-tied with a red face!

See what I’m getting at here? You should be able to come up with an instant pitch that not only describes what you’re company does, but entices people to find out more about your business using words that will stick in their minds and pique their interest.

I’m not saying this will be easy. People in the advertising business are paid enormous amounts of money to write scripts for this purpose and come up with catchphrases, slogans and jingles designed to build brand awareness. As a small business owner you won’t have the kind of budget that the big boys have, so I’m afraid you’re going to have to go it alone.

Don’t come up with any excuses like “I don’t know what to say”, “I look goofy” or “30 seconds is too long!” The answer to that last excuse is okay make it 20 seconds, but you’re only making it more difficult for yourself.

It’s going to take some scripting and rehearsing, but if you can’t come up with a succinct message that grabs someone’s attention in 30 seconds, what’s going to happen when you have to stand up in front of a couple of hundred people at a convention and give a 30 minute presentation? Just think of this as good practice.

Okay so you look goofy, play it up! Look at some of the characters on television ads, most of them don’t look in the least bit normal. That’s why they’re there!

If you don’t know what to say then you really need to sit down and start figuring out what the most important aspects of your business are that you want to convey.

The words “speech” and “pitch” are somewhat misleading. The first may remind you of some horrible situation in college and the second word has pushy or salesy connotations. Forget them both, they are just words and an elevator speech is just that too – a collection of descriptive words. The difference being to be more friendly and engaging you need to elicit some response from your audience, instantly turning your page into a two-way conversation.

What you might start with is a writing technique called AIDA

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

It works wonders for copywriters and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work when writing your 30-second script.

Gain peoples’ attention by smiling, telling them who you are and what your company does. Tell them about the benefits of using your company’s products/goods/services/ opportunity. You can then ask a quick question that creates a desire; such as “wouldn’t you like to earn some extra income every month?” This draws the other person into conversation and gets away from the whole speech/pitch problem.

The action in this example will be to hand over a business card, get the person’s name and shake hands if you haven’t already done so. Make a mental note of his/her name or better still record it into your mobile device reminding you of when and where you met.

Okay so you’re not going to have an ad half way through the Super Bowl, but if you really want to recruit people into your downline you don’t want to miss any opportunity – whether it’s in an elevator, sharing a taxi or at a cocktail party.

Once you’ve rehearsed and tried it out a few times you’ll probably find yourself polishing it up and adding some fine touches until its perfect, and after a while it will simply come naturally.


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One Response to Why you should come up with a 30-second “Elevator Pitch”

  1. Kat Cooley
    Twitter:
    says:

    Thanks for the reminder! This is a situation I recently found myself in and boy did I blow it! It wasn’t big time tv or nothing like that but I was at a networking event and had people with the ability to take my business to the next level coming up to me and when I was asked what I did, I wound up going on and on and on and lost them in the transition. I had no clue what to say!! Never gonna be in that spot again…
    Great Post!

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