- Jen Glantz is an entrepreneur and founder of the company Bridesmaid for Hire.
- She says having a short, strong elevator pitch is key to networking your small business successfully.
- Start your pitch with what you do, detail who you do it for, and close with what makes you stand out.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
When most people hear the term ‘elevator pitch,’ they think they have at least 30 seconds, maybe more, to showcase who they are and what they do. But they’re wrong.
When I first started my business, Bridesmaid for Hire, I’d find myself gushing about what I do and all the services I offer. I even tossed in a few big accomplishments and business wins. But although what I do is unique and odd to some, even I couldn’t hold people’s attention after the first few sentences.
The truth is, humans have short attention spans that are easily distracted. This means it’s time to significantly cut down your elevator pitch. Here’s exactly how to craft a stand-out and memorable elevator pitch to grab attention and avoid dragging past the eight-second mark.
1. Start with what you do
It’s important to start off with a clear statement about what your business does. As the owner of your business, it can be tough to figure out what to include since you truly see the business from so many different angles.
Instead of cramming in a bunch of buzzwords and key points, limit the answer of what you do to maximum three things. Try thinking of categories to summarize the different parts of your business or pick one general statement that encompasses the “heartbeat” or the main purpose of your business.
For example, rather than sharing: “We provide services that include marketing, social media, email strategy, social advertising, search and more.”
You can shorten that to say:
- “We provide a suite of digital marketing services….”
- “We provide digital marketing and social media services…”
2. Dive into who you do it for
In order to help the person listening to your elevator pitch clearly understand what you do, they also need to know who you do it for. Be clear about who your main audience is by referencing the types of businesses, individuals, or industries that are your ideal customer.
You don’t have to go into a ton of detail here, for example, there’s no need to share:
“Our clients are usually people in the northeast, who are between 35-36, and make $75,000 to $100,000 dollars a year.”
You can instead model your audience information around a statement like these below:
- “We usually work with the fashion and beauty industry”
- “Our main customers are people who are just starting a small business and looking for funding.”
- “We work with both customers who have an existing business and those who are just getting started.”
3. Explain what makes you stand out
The final part of your elevator pitch is usually the most memorable because it will linger in people’s minds, so it’s important to include at least one detail that makes your business different and showcases your unique value.
Create a list of the main differentiators between you and competitors, and select no more than three to include in the final line of your pitch. Make sure to pick something that’s valuable to your audience, and focuses on a value of the service, product, or the backbone of the company, such as:
- “We offer 24/7 customer service to make sure our customers are always supported.”
- “We donate half of the profit of each sale to a local nonprofit.”
4. Write the long story
When you’re beginning to figure out what to include in your elevator pitch, start off by writing out longer answers to each of the sections above. Don’t worry about being short and to the point just yet. Get all your ideas out on paper, and then work on cutting out filler words or details that aren’t as important to include.
As you’re working on your pitch, share it with people who might not know about your business. Their feedback will help you determine if what you’re sharing is clear and engaging.
Examples of strong elevator pitches:
- “We provide digital marketing and social media services to fashion and beauty companies. We offer 24/7 customer service to make sure our customers are always supported.”
- “We provide a suite of digital marketing services and we work with both customers who have an existing business and those who are just getting started. We donate half of our profits every year to a local nonprofit.”
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