By Rieva Lesonsky
There are likely going to be many times in your entrepreneurial life that you’re going to have to pitch your business to someone, whether it’s investors, lenders, and potential partners, customers or key hires.
If you’re lucky, at some time you’ll be asked to present a detailed pitch, but chances are, first you’ll need to give a killer elevator pitch to get to that point.
Elevator pitches sound easy—after all, you just need to talk for several seconds—but they actually require a lot of practice to get them just right. To get the scoop on how you can craft a winning elevator pitch, I asked Deirdre Bolton to share some tips. Bolton is the host of Risk & Reward with Deirdre Bolton, which airs daily at 1 pm ET on the FOX Business Network.
On her show Bolton (shown above, left) has a regular feature where someone pitches her in an elevator—and when the elevator lands, several judges weigh in on the pitch. After participating in so many pitches, Bolton has put together her five must-do elevator pitch tips.
1. What does your company do? You need to have the answer and be able to communicate it in one sentence. Craft a phrase at the beginning of your pitch that describes your purpose. That will get all listeners and viewers on the same page quickly!
2. Practice your timing. The Risk & Reward elevator pitch is 30 seconds flat. Practice your pitch at least 10 times in your living room with a stopwatch. Know the elements you want to include, whether it’s more details or an example of your product or service.
3. Be flexible. Write and memorize the two or three elements of what you want to cover in your 30 seconds. You may want to change your pitch around a bit [after you’ve done it a few times]. We tell people who are pitching on Risk & Reward to be flexible until after they’ve talked to the producers. It’s easier if you don’t memorize the speech as one big block.
4. Get constructive criticism. Have some friends who don’t know your company well listen to your pitch and tell you what they understood and what is clear or not clear to them about your company and what you said (or how you said it). Clarity of message is key.
5. Make it personal and have fun! Did you establish your company because you were solving a problem you personally encountered? If so, bring that element to the narrative. For example, “As a former sales executive, I knew how difficult it was to generate good leads, so I founded ‘Connect’ to make it easier for other sales executives to increase sales.” An effective elevator pitch is personal and energetic.
After you follow Bolton’s advice, the best way to perfect your pitch is to start pitching. The more you pitch, the more relaxed you’ll be, and the more natural your pitch will sound.
Photo Credit: FOX Business News