Top 25 Elevator Pitch Tips & Examples From the Pros

Cody Cromwell
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Use a Memorable Catchphrase

An elevator pitch is a phrase that succinctly states what your business does and why someone should care. It is the part of your elevator speech that will determine if your target person will invest their time, money and energy into learning more about your business proposal.

An elevator pitch should be short and should be the most memorable thing you say during the conversation (not counting introductions, etc).

I've found elevator pitches to have four parts to be the most successful:

  • a warm introduction -start with a story, anecdote or some other warm up
  • pitch your problem -do you solve business problems for your customers
  • pitch your solution -what can you do and how, and why
  • ask for credibility -what can you do for them

A good elevator pitch also has a tight outline and progression. It is the most concise set of words that does the best job of communicating the idea or problem you're solving. It helps to draw a mental picture of the person's idea of your startup.

It's a good idea to practice your elevator pitch often. Use short set ups to practice. For example,

"Hi my name is John. I'm in the banking industry and I have a startup called ________. I I've been asked to give you an elevator pitch about what I do. Let me know if I'm keeping you from your business."

Send a Clear Message

Providing a clear message of your product or service is very important. If you’ve ever been in an elevator, then you’ve probably noticed the tension build as it rose. Your pitch has to do exactly that – build up suspense and release it. In a crowded elevator, it’s hard to make someone remember why they should care about what you’re pitching.

And so your elevator pitch has to be simple, clear, and to the point.

If you’re not familiar with the elevator pitch, it’s the one-sentence answer to –What do you do?”

You can learn to practice your elevator pitch and get more comfortable with it by talking to a friend or family member. Practice in the car or on the street. Start by gathering information and asking questions, and then ending with the standard reply –I am a [project manager/marketing consultant/accountant/therapist] and I work with [customer/company/agency/date].” See more elevator pitch tips.

Make It Sound Natural

Elevator Pitch is a popular communication method known for its effectiveness to warm up a stranger, making a personal connection and securing your next customer.

The elevator pitch is also a great way for you to help you get a new job or business a new customer or potential employee.

So if you’re interested in learning how to talk with a stranger, make a new connection or grabbing the attention of a potential employer, the elevator pitch is one of the best ways to do it.

The method makes a lot of sense because, you know, we’re in elevators with strangers every single day – or at least we’re supposed to be. Although people get on the elevator looking for a hotel, they are often looking for a comfortable conversation they can have with someone they don’t know yet.

Limit Your Words to 70 or Less

Keep Track of Who You’ve Pitched

Once you hit a certain level and start to get better at selling, you will start to make a lot of pitches. It can be hard to keep track of all of them because they don’t always feel the same. In fact, as you get better at selling your value proposition, pitching to a new target will likely be less of a challenge and you’ll get a better response. But at the same time, it can still be difficult to tell whether you’re getting better or worse over time.

The best way to address this problem is to keep a calendar and write down every pitch you make. Before you do a pitch or meet with a prospect, make a photocopy of the calendar and keep it with your pitchbook. While you’re out prospecting, take their contact information and the date you met

While it’s a little early to start keeping track of the pitches you’ve made throughout the week, you should be keeping track of the pitches you made the previous week. In your pitchbook, you should have an area to list your successes – every pitch that you made that resulted in a new relationship for your business. If you didn’t make a sale on a certain pitch, record that somewhere as well.

Define Your Unique Value Proposition

A Unique Value Proposition (UVP) is a one line statement that identifies why you have an advantage over your competition.

Everything you tell your customers about yourself and your product must be tied back, in some way, to your UVP.

If your UVP is ‘We’re the most eco-friendly company in Europe,’ then the entire story you tell about your company will have to support this statement.

When we land at an airport, the first thing we check are the signs posted at the entrance. No matter how long the flight, the signs are always the same ‒ “Passports, please.” That’s why the signs are so important.

You can define your UVP by answering just a few questions:

  • What’s important to them?
  • Exactly what does they want?
  • What does their life typically look like?
  • When they hear about x, what does it make them feel?

The answers to these questions will be your UVP.

Get Straight to the Point

You can’t expect people to listen to you for more than a few minutes. The elevator pitch is sales jargon’ and it’s one of the most important parts of your conversation. The elevator pitch is short, concise and to the point. It’s an effective tactic to get your message across, and by the end of an elevator speech

You hope to get your listener’s attention and you expect them to want to hear more. Ninety percent of people will hear what you have to say the first time. A great way to start an elevator speech is to share a quick anecdote and tie it in with your message. Just make sure the anecdote you share reflects the points in your message.

You draw their attention with your first word!

The idea behind the elevator speech is to catch a brief glimpse of you and your company. It’s important to remember that your elevator speech is not a sales pitch; it’s a quick 30 to 120 second introduction. Before you start rattling off your company, your product and your credentials, think about what makes you and your company unique. What defines your company?

What sets you apart from your competition?

Make Your Job Title Understandable

The most important factor when it comes to finding a job is elevator pitch. It is the most efficient use of time. Yes, it sounds like a fancy elevator, but it is responsible for helping you figure out how to deliver your job information in a way that will keep your interviewer engaged.

Make your job title understandable. Don't go overboard with a long job description. Real talk: if they can't understand what you're saying, you've already failed.

Lead With a Question

We do this a lot at Morpheus Media. The elevator pitch is extremely important, and if you don’t know where to start, one of the first questions to ask yourself is What problem am I really solving? That helps you narrow the focus of your elevator pitch down to one thing over and over. Around 70% of the people we bring in to our office have a great idea. But only about 30% sell it as well as they could. That’s why the next step is to get good at selling your idea. There’s an art to elevator pitches. The best elevator pitches are short and to the point. But they’re also frequently very smart. Use this great example from CTO Daniel S. Ledbetter of the Australian government to see the difference:

Create the Story Around Your Listener

Almost every investor needs to make at least one investment pitch. The fear of this is what can end up breaking your investment prospecter. As most phone calls will be made on the elevator, you should pay close attention to the elevator pitch process.

The more you will practice your pitch, the better you will feel. If you practice properly, you will be able to tell if you are destroying your pitch or doing well according to what you are doing.

Keep in mind that your pitch can be affected by many external factors. If you are in an elevator with hot girls, they will cause you to panic and think that you need to explain things that you do not need to. If people around you are talking in Spanish, you will not be able to concentrate. Practice should be done at your home when you have no distractions present.

How to create the best elevator pitch is here:

Avoid Using Industry Jargon

Build & Reinforce Your Brand

Paint a Broader Picture

The elevator pitch is a short snippet of information about a company that’s used as a tool during networking. Many entrepreneurs are at a loss for what to say in the elevator. This is where the bumper sticker comes in.

The bumper sticker is a concise summary of the business’s story. The bumper sticker has become the elevator pitch of the 21st century.

The bumper sticker lets you paint a broader picture from a short snippet…without having to think of what to say.

Here’s how it works; ask yourself ‘What’s the one thing you could say in under one minute that’d make the most lasting impression?” The answer is the bumper sticker.

You can create a bumper sticker and make it your elevator pitch to new prospects.

Here are some examples to help.

Focus on the Benefit

One of the most important things you need to do is to focus on the benefit of your product or service. The elevator pitch really shouldn’t be about your product (or combination of products) at all. It needs to be about why you should, as a consumer, buy your product.

Yes, it’s important to identify how your product will benefit your potential customer or client. However, it’s just as important to specifically identify why you should be the one they should be buying from.

Don’t Worry Too Much about Your Language; as Long as You’re Focusing on the Benefits…

and not the product itself, your communication won’t sound like an elevator pitch.

Take Inspiration from Movie Trailers

To be the best in the business, you will need to know how to sell your product, but you also need to be prepared to lose the sale.

It’s important to know when you have the upper hand and how to define the deal. It’s also crucial to have a pitch ready that will capture anyone’s attention.

There’s no one right way to pitch, but you won’t be prepared to show a potential client a great product if you don’t have a product to sell. The best way to get a good idea of what you’re in business for is to read a lot of comic books and view a lot of movie trailers. They’re incredibly effective at marketing a story, a message, or an idea for a video game or a line of toys.

If you’re looking for your own elevator pitch, here are some that you can steal from movie trailers. "It’s Superman meets X-Men!" is a little more complex, but works well for Deadpool. Calling your idea a "Shazam" is so simple and yet is a big hit for that superhero.

Add a Smooth Segue to Your Pitch

When you’re pitching your business idea or asking for money, the last thing you want to do is come off like a crazy person. That’s why a smooth segue, or a natural transition, is a big component of a successful elevator pitch.

A smooth segue can take the form of an easily understood transition phrase, like –and,” –so,” –well” or –as you know””. Easy-to-understand transitions help smooth out the differences in pitch delivery and delivery speed, making the concept more understandable to your audience.

Here’s an example of how a smooth segue can work in a "Who’s your customer?" question:

"Is it big, small? Low, mid or high end? Technical or non-technical? Do you target businesses or consumers? Do you focus on the B2C or B2B market?”

Answer Four Key Questions

What is the problem?

I need more leads for my website” –Yes, but what do you want to get out of it?

What is the solution?

I need you to check out my [insert something with the word ‘email’ in it]”.

Who is the ideal customer?

I’m a [insert the person the customer is targeting with their ideal customer]”.

How big is the audience?

Take Your Time, Don’t Rush

When you’re giving your elevator pitch, there’s no such thing as perfection. Once you’ve done your research and you’ve gotten through the preparatory work you need to do, you’re ready to give your pitch. When you speak to the decision maker, you’re giving them the chance to hire you, so you have to deliver. However, there are no right or wrong answers. The last thing you want to do is to be rushed or show signs of stress. Remember that you want the decision maker to take the time to evaluate your pitch and choose you because you’re the best choice.

Omit Something Crucial

You’re pitching your product in an elevator. Without it being clear, what’s your company, product, market, or service? This can be tricky to do since elevator pitches generally have a time limit of 60 seconds … or less!

Omit something crucial if you can’t get to it in the time limit. If you can’t fully explain a key advantage of your product, start selling the solution as soon as possible. Ultimately you need to appeal to both "Now" and "Later" while leaving them with a great first impression of you and your company.

Most people like to list their benefits, but make sure you lose none of them and include the strength of a key advantage.

Start With an Attention-grabber

To Pitch your business in a compelling way that will pull people in {make people want to listen to your pitch} and get them to want to work with you:

  • Take a look at your elevator pitches and pitches of the pros that you admire. Listen to what they have to say. Ask yourself what works and what doesn’t work for them.
  • Next, think like a customer when you’re creating your simple pitch about what you do. What would you want to know if someone were to approach you about your business? What’s your elevator pitch?
  • Ask friends, family and people you meet if they could understand your business in one sentence. Try your simple pitch out on them and listen to what you’re telling them. What jumps out at them? Do they understand? Does it make sense?
  • Finally, ask yourself what you’d like people to remember after they’ve met you and heard your pitch. Is it too long or not long enough? Does it sound professional enough? Get feedback on your elevator pitch from your friends, family and…
  • Personal Coach
  • Sales Representative
  • Web Design Shop
  • Consultant

Use a Three Sentence Structure

The worst strategy is one sentence without a clear and concise transition into another sentence. If you are pitching or selling your idea in a startup, there is a good chance that you will only get about 3-10 seconds to present your concept and pitch it to the decision makers. The more straightforward and clear you make your argument, the better pleased will your audience be with you. Be direct and concise in your pitch and make sure you get your point across right.

The video below has some great examples for us to look at from the pros.

Include a CTA

''The elevator pitch is the most critical time to get a Meeting together in my mind,'' says YouTube's Casey Neistat. ''I make notes literally on my foot about what ever comes up in the elevator conversation. – So if I recall it I can create more content. Sure if you are fortunate enough to get a meeting in a conference room, be sure to take a note pad. But for me it is better to have that note ready to go because I am always looking into doing one with people.''

As your elevator pitch is the first impression you have on someone; make sure that you do not waste time to provide them an actual upside for spending time going through an elevator pitch and giving you their attention to your presentation.

This is also the time to show your interest in them and to provide a little self-promotional, self-interest factor which will help your presence as you try and meet them in person.

A few very quick notes that you should leave for the person you hope to control the elevator with; would be your name, phone number, email address, your companies name and URL.

I suggest that you also provide their name and a phone number that you can reach them on. This is not only a good courtesy as they will feel like you are taking note of them as this will help them remember you but it is also a good idea to start calling them within your telephone.

Avoid Being Too Intrusive

Have you ever been in a meeting with 1,000 other people and felt like someone was talking to you? Maybe it’s because you don’t have a filter, or perhaps you’re as loud as your breath conditioner. Regardless of why, this fear keeps many people from speaking up in meetings since they feel like they’re being clobbered by the entire group.

Sometimes, being an elevator or group speaker—having your turn to pitch in the meeting—is trying because the crowd is so loud. However, if the meeting is poorly led, they won’t listen to you anyway. It’s also in the meeting leader’s best interest to get action from the group, so you may have to get a little more –invasive” than usual before other people take notice.

Be Relatable

  • most successful pitch is being relatable and easy to like; you’re not talking a hundred or two hundred words but listening instead and having a conversation.
  • most successful pitch is being relatable and easy to like; you’re not talking a hundred or two hundred words but listening instead and having a conversation.
  • most successful pitch is being relatable and easy to like; you’re not talking a hundred or two hundred words but listening instead and having a conversation.
  • most successful pitch is being relatable and easy to like; you’re not talking a hundred or two hundred words but listening instead and having a conversation.

Identify Three Pain Points in Your Pitch

Elevator pitches are an excellent way for entrepreneurs to present their business ideas to prospective investors. In the elevator pitch, entrepreneurs are able to get their ideas across quickly without much in the way of an exegesis. And if you’re good at getting your elevator pitch right, you’re likely to land more investors in your startup.

With this in mind, it’s important to narrow your elevator pitch down to only three pain points. By focusing on only the most important aspects of your business idea, you will present a more succinct elevator pitch that’s much easier to memorize.

As soon as you get pitched, ask your investor to revise the elevator pitch to reflect your three most important points. Then work on making those pain points even more clear to your investors.

Once you’ve nailed your three most important points, write them down on a 3×5 index card. Refocussing your elevator pitch at this stage can remind you of what aspects of your business idea the investors focus on.

If you find that you have more than three points to your elevator pitch, work on finding the three most important aspects of your business idea. If you can’t find any pain points, then you better go back to the drawing board.

The Bottom Line

If you’re not skilled at pitching yourself into situations where you must sell yourself and your product, you’re bound to fail. In fact, it’s likely that you won’t even get invited to speak in the first place.

The reason for this is this: creating and cultivating connections is all part of the world of marketing. Getting the first meeting helps you get more meetings, which helps you get clients, which helps you get opportunities, and so on and so forth. And as the saying goes – you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” That means that if you pitch yourself and your product just right, you’ll actually get more positive responses than negative.