Elevator Pitch

Elevator pitch - ToolsHero

This article explains the Elevator Pitch in a practical way. After reading you will understand the basics of this powerful communication skills tool.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An Elevator Pitch, sales pitch or business pitch is a short and enthusiastic way in which an idea for a product, service or project is presented. The name reflects the time it takes for an elevator to go from the ground floor to the top floor, which is approximately 30 seconds to two minutes. Entrepreneurs first used this term when they attempted to convince a venture capitalist that their idea was worth investing in. Venture capitalists use the quality of the Pitch as a way to judge the quality of an idea and the team behind it.

An Elevator Pitch is also used for other purposes today, for example in networking situations. It may concern the sale of a product, seeking employment, speed dating or making a point quickly in a conversation. It is important to have an eye-catching presentation with ideas, comparisons and examples when delivering an elevator pitch, as presented in the AIDA-model (attention, interest, desire, action).

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A successful Elevator Pitch is not just about presenting information and facts but it is also important to establish an emotional connection.

An effective Elevator Pitch should answer the following questions:

  • What is the product/service or project?
  • What is its use to the buyer/user?
  • Who are we?

Furthermore, it is important to take the following elements into account:

  • The content of the pitch
  • Verbal communication
  • Non-verbal communication

In addition, it is possible to target the goals of the Elevator Pitch such as the relevant market, the target group and the unique selling points of a product which set it apart from that of the competition.

Seven tips for a successful elevator pitch

1. Keep it short

An Elevator Pitch means that you are able to introduce your idea, product or service in the time it takes an elevator to go from the ground floor to the top floor. Your Pitch should be no longer than 30 seconds.

2. Study the target group and the situation

Each situation requires its own Elevator Pitch. Apart from preparing a general pitch you should prepare a number of specific pitches depending on the situation. An investment conference requires a different pitch than a purchasing conference or a conference where you are looking to find new customers.

3. Make an intriguing and powerful opening statement

Make a concise statement in which you solve a problem or fulfil a need. If you do not solve a problem or meet a requirement, it will be difficult to sell your product.

4. Promote the benefits

You are not pitching your idea, product or service. You are pitching the benefits of your idea or product.

5. Make it tangible

Do not say “ we are going to install your “Linksys Wireless router” but tell them that you will make sure that the wireless internet (of the Linksys brand) will work without a problem.

6. Be passionate

Investors also like to invest in people. Show them your enthusiasm, your passion.

7. Call to action

Finish your pitch with a so-called “call to action”. Tell them that you will call them, or plan a meeting or accompany them to their office to continue the conversation. Make sure there is a follow-up – If you say you will call a prospect to make an appointment, then do so within the next one or two days.

It’s Your Turn

What do you think? What is your experience with the Elevator Pitch? Do you recognize the content written above or do you have add-ons? What are your success factors for a good Elevator Pitch?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

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More information

  • Diaz, C. S. (2009, July). Teaching the techno-pitch: Taking student innovators beyond the elevator pitch. In Professional Communication Conference, 2009. IPCC 2009.
  • Faust, B., & Faust, M. (2002). Pitch Yourself: Stand Out from the CV Crowd with a Personal Elevator Pitch. Pearson Education. IEEE International (pp. 1-7). IEEE.
  • Pincus, A. (2007). The perfect (elevator) pitch. Bloomsberg Businessweek.
  • How to cite this article:
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