Writing an elevator pitch is tricky, even if you genuinely love and believe in your brand. And it’s not any easier if you have a lot of experience riding in elevators.
That’s why I wrote this guide.
In this article, we’ll explore the elements that make for a successful elevator pitch and leave you with a handful of elevator pitch examples you can use as inspiration to write your own.
Table of Contents
- What Is an Elevator Pitch?
- 7 Elements of a Perfect Elevator Pitch
- Elevator Pitch Examples
- How to Write Your Own Elevator Pitch
What Is an Elevator Pitch?
The “elevator pitch” is a concept that’s been around since 1852. Did you know elevators were that old? I didn’t.
But anyway, the term is used in reference to the amount of time you have to talk with a stranger before you get off the elevator. For our purposes? Assume 30 seconds.
Your elevator pitch is a short, persuasive presentation of your company designed to get someone to buy – or at least express interest in – your products.
It’s a great way to introduce your brand to someone who’s never heard of it before.
In the right context, it can be the anchor point for your entire sales campaign.
7 Elements of a Perfect Elevator Pitch
A short pitch about your company isn’t guaranteed to be effective. You have to make it effective with the right writing and tweaks.
A good elevator pitch offers:
It’s an elevator ride. You should be able to give your pitch before the elevator ride ends – that’s generally in 30 seconds or less.
If it’s in written form, it should be only a few sentences. That short, concise phrasing will help you keep your prospect’s attention and effectively communicate what you do and the benefits of what you do.
If you want to make a lasting impression, your pitch needs to be memorable. It needs to get them thinking. It needs to get pop into their mind later – when you’re not around.
One of the ways to get someone’s attention and trust instantly is to empathize with them. At some point, your elevator pitch should express empathy to your prospect.
Tell them you understand their biggest concerns and most significant pain points. Something like, “Don’t you hate it when you lose hours because of a simple miscommunication?” or “Hate dealing with unqualified leads? I’ve been there.”
Your prospect might be a Stephen Hawking-level genius. But you should still make your elevator pitch simple.
Use plain, easy-to-understand terms and skip the jargon. It’s going to read as more authentic and appeal to a wider audience. Trust me on this.
Some people get crazy and fill their elevator pitches with grand promises to make themselves look as good as possible.
For example: “This tool’s going to completely change how you work and live. It will save you 39 hours of work each week, so you only have to work an hour, it will help you lose 10 pounds of fat, and then it will make all breakfast food taste better permanently.”
It just doesn’t sound realistic. Your pitch needs to be believable and grounded in reality – otherwise, nobody will take you seriously.
Your elevator pitch should be focused on the benefits of what your product provides. What are you helping your prospects achieve? What problems does your product solve?
You can note all the bells and whistles of your product if you want – but if it doesn’t achieve something measurable, it’s not going to land.
7. A call to action (CTA).
Finally, your elevator pitch should have a call to action (CTA). The pitch should end with something that spurs the listener/reader to take action.
For example, you could invite them to see a demo or tell them to check out your website for more information.
Elevator Pitch Examples
Okay. Let’s dig into some elevator pitch examples.
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I’ll speculate about an imaginary company. It offers time tracking software, and it has built-in emoji-based feedback tools for employees – so they can report on their mood and productivity throughout the day. Let’s call this company “TT”
I’ll present the idea for this company in multiple elevator pitch examples, each of which has a different goal or approach.
1. The problem and the solution.
Do you know how many hours your employees are spending on critical projects? What about meetings where nothing gets done? Do you know if your employees are happy with their work or if they feel like they’re wasting time? TT is designed to give you all the answers – so you can step in, resolve productivity issues, and keep your employees happier at the same time. Want to see how it works?
This pitch is all about presenting the problem and pitching the solution to that problem.
2. A brief history.
Our founder, Travis Timeson, was working 65 hours a week and didn’t understand why it felt like he couldn’t get anything done. That’s why he made TT – a product that helped him analyze his own productivity and figure out where he was wasting hours. That product is available to everyone today. And it does a lot more than just help you stop wasting time – find out more with our interactive demo today!
This one focuses a bit on the history of the company, explaining how it started and what it hopes to achieve.
3. Trust and credentials.
I’ve been an HR manager. I’ve been a project manager. I’ve been a team leader. All across more than 25 years. My colleagues and I created this tool because it’s something we’ve always wanted – an all-in-one solution to employee productivity. Want to learn how it works?
In this elevator pitch, you’ll establish your own trust and credentials to make your message more effective.
4. The unique spin.
Time tracking is a practical necessity these days. But most tools don’t go far enough; they don’t give employees the chance to give subjective feedback or describe their own work. That’s where TT comes in. It’s designed to improve both productivity and employee retention with time tracking, employee feedback, and more.
There are a lot of time tracking tools out there, so this pitch focuses heavily on what makes TT unique.
5. Empathy and a turn.
Are you sure you’re billing clients with the right number of hours? Do you know if your employee workloads are balanced? It’s super stressful to manage everything – especially when you feel blind to all the facts. With TT, you’ll never have to worry about making big decisions without information again. It tells you everything you need to know about hours worked, employee disposition, and more.
Here, the goal is to express empathy and then transition into the presentation of the core product.
6. The twist ending.
How long do your employees spend in meetings? Do you think it’s more or less than 5 hours a week? How long will it take you to figure it out? If you had TT, you’d be able to tell me in less than 30 seconds. Would you like to see how?
This is a short setup to an ending that highlights the value of the product.
7. A good joke.
Alright. I can tell you what my company does in 30 seconds. You know why? Because I timed it. I time everything now. Takes me 10 minutes to eat breakfast. 15 to get to work. 10 for the daily meeting. And only 5 to complain about traffic – but I’m cutting down. TT helps me compartmentalize everything and get more done every day. Now I can waste time in completely different ways. You should check out our website to see it in action!
Even in a professional environment, people appreciate humor. A good joke, with an original premise, can – if you’ll forgive me – elevate the pitch to new heights.
8. An appeal to emotions.
How would you feel if you had 5 extra hours to spend every week? Would you play with your kids? Go for a couple of long hikes? Go out to eat with the wife? Your life could look a lot different if you could cut out some of the time waste. And you can do that with TT. It’s a time tracking and productivity tool designed to help you find bad habits that waste time – and eliminate them. Check out our whitepaper to learn more.
You can also use an elevator pitch to appeal to your prospect’s emotions.
How to Write Your Own Elevator Pitch
These elevator pitch examples should serve as solid inspiration for your elevator pitch.
You can follow a general formula for the outline of your elevator pitch, follow one of the examples above as a loose model, or come up with your own structure.
I recommend something like this:
Problem > solution > trust > value > CTA
Start by introducing the problem at the center of your business (like low productivity or high expenses). Mention how your business solves that problem. Establish your credentials and build trust. Then offer your final unique value proposition and close with a call to action.
These questions can help you prepare:
- What does your company do? If you don’t know the answer to this one, the elevator pitch shouldn’t be your biggest priority. But seriously, think about what your company does and how you can explain it to people.
- What makes your brand unique? You probably have a bunch of competitors. So what makes your brand unique? Why is your company different?
- What is your value proposition? What value do you add to your customers’ lives? Why would someone want to work with your organization? Package this together with what makes your brand unique for your unique value proposition.
- What will get your prospect’s attention? Think about your prospects and what makes them unique as a demographic. What kind of phrases or structures are going to get their attention? For example, do they care a lot about bottom-line profitability? Are they more concerned with effective teamwork or collaboration?
- What’s your style? It’s a subjective question, but hey, it’s worth thinking about. What’s your style as a salesperson? Are you friendly and excitable? Or are you more laid-back and uber-professional? Your elevator pitch should suit your personality.
After you’ve got an introductory elevator pitch written down, it’s time to revise, revise, revise. Your first version won’t be pretty – I can almost guarantee it – so you’ll have to cut the awkward phrases, add new material, and generally tweak it to perfection.
You’ll also need to practice the pitch if you plan on giving it in a live environment. You should be familiar with it, but don’t rehearse it so much that it sounds… robotic.
Wish you had a better pitch to start your email interactions with?
Don’t worry. We’ve all been there.
It takes a long time and a lot of effort to get the right strategy down. You have to experiment. You have to be persistent. And most importantly, you need to measure and analyze your efforts – so you know what to improve.
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Jayson is a long-time columnist for Forbes, Entrepreneur, BusinessInsider, Inc.com, and various other major media publications, where he has authored over 1,000 articles since 2012, covering technology, marketing, and entrepreneurship. He keynoted the 2013 MarketingProfs University, and won the “Entrepreneur Blogger of the Year” award in 2015 from the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. In 2010, he founded a marketing agency that appeared on the Inc. 5000 before selling it in January of 2019, and he is now the CEO of EmailAnalytics.