The idea behind the elevator pitch is said to have originated from businessmen who needed to pitch proposals to prospective investors as quickly as possible.
Incidentally, it also gives the investors a chance to turn down ideas promptly (especially those that are not that good or do not match their investment profile). The fast paced delivery indeed works well for both parties. If you have a plan to acquire funds from a potential investor, mastering the art of the elevator pitch will definitely work to your advantage.
In his Forbes article, Rick Frasch already provides the eight mistakes entrepreneurs need to avoid in their elevator pitch. Now here are four tips from us on how to get it right:
1. Establish your story
Set aside a time to write your story, preferably without interruptions. When you write, visualize that you’re telling the story to a family member or a close friend. This can help you put your mind at ease.
Write anything relevant to your ideas. Don’t forget to silence your inner critic and not edit just yet.
2. Let it sit for some time
Once you are done with your pitch’s rough draft, go and do something else. You may want to go for a walk or drive around the neighborhood.
The idea is to let the story sit for a day or two so you’ll have a fresh perspective when you read and work on it again.
3. Polish your hook
Start editing down your story to its barest essential. Your goal is to craft a killer 60-second elevator pitch. While you’re at it, think about adding a good hook.
The hook is the part that will let you jumpstart your pitch. It should be about 15 seconds long. This is important because those 15 seconds are your only chance to convince your prospect to listen to the rest of the pitch.
Add an element of curiosity to your hook. You may choose to start with engaging phrases such as “What if…” or “Picture this…” At this point, you should have you prospect intrigued.
4. Explain what’s in it for them
Now that you have the attention of your prospective investor, it’s time to key in on engaging the audience. Persuade your listeners into actually investing by explaining how your idea can bring in profits. P
Prove that there’s a market for it and that your solution is something that customers would be willing to pay for. Close your pitch by creating a sense of urgency.
Whether your product is only available during the Holidays or you’re racing with a rival in filing a patent, use urgency to motivate, not force people to invest.
The Final Word
Spend enough time practicing your pitch. Time yourself as your practice. Make sure that you can say whatever you need to say within the 60-second limit.
The key to a great elevator pitch is not just to pitch in a rapid-fire approach. Even if you can’t deliver a mile a minute speech, you would still be able to impress your audience.
And most importantly, memorize your lines. If you’re using a PowerPoint presentation, do not read from the slides. Investors can sense if you’re not ready and just winging it, so practice extensively to perfect that pitch.
Frasch, Rick. “8 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make When Pitching To Investors.” Forbes. Accessed June 10, 2014.