A clear, concise elevator pitch is essential for your business, as it allows you to summarize your value in any situation:  networking event, trade show or even at a coffee shop, airport lounge or wedding!  (Easy on the wedding pitch, but you never know who you’ll get seated next to, right?)

It's essential that you create a pitch that your potential customer will relate to immediately.  Ideally, it will highlight your unique values, concisely and clearly explaining what you do better than anyone else, day after day.

If you don’t yet have an elevator pitch that you can recite instantly and earnestly, it’s time to create one.   Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re building and delivering an elevator pitch:

Is it simple? 

You have (at most) 30 seconds to engage the prospect – and most products or services require more than 30 seconds to explain properly.  The elevator pitch should be as simple as possible, and usually that requires breaking your product or service down to the bare minimum.

Is it free of industry-specific jargon?

A good way to test “simple” is to practice your pitch with contacts and friends who work outside of your industry.  Quite often we get swept up in the terminology and abbreviations that are used only within our specific niche.  That’s fine at a trade show where everyone knows what that specific term or initialism means, but it doesn’t work at a cocktail party or networking function, and the goal is to create a pitch that easily explains the value of your service.  If a prospect needs to ask for clarification after your elevator pitch, it isn’t a good elevator pitch.

Are you delivering facts or fluff?

Unless you’re carrying around an award that night that declares you “the best”, “the fastest”, “the most comprehensive”, or “the greatest”, those words don’t belong in your elevator pitch.  Get rid of the fluff.  Only quantifiable facts belong in an elevator pitch.  If you’ve been in business 20 years, that’s something to share – longevity is comforting to prospects.  If you’re the only company in your city that does what you do, that’s elevator pitch worthy.  Those are facts.  Fluff is subjective.

Does it invite the prospect to continue the conversation?

The most important thing to remember when you’re creating an elevator pitch is that this is the only the first step in your sales process.  You’re not trying to close the prospect in 30 seconds, you’re trying to interest them enough to consider having another conversation with you.

Does it end in 30 seconds?

Once your elevator pitch ends, a conversation begins.  Remember, you’re a person, not a pitch-delivery-robot.   Your prospect is a person, too.  It’s a whole lot easier to make a follow up call if you’ve had a personal conversation about something you and your prospect find interesting.  Deliver your pitch, but don’t get stuck in it.  Casually turn the conversation over to your prospect after your elevator pitch by asking them questions about something – business, or personal.  They can choose to end the discussion and walk away, chat with you socially, or move the conversation back to business.  People don’t generally enjoy being sold to, but they do enjoy being listened to.  Deliver your pitch, then go ahead and enjoy meeting someone new.