One of the better panels I’ve attended at SXSW Interactive 2011 was about how to improve your “elevator pitch.” It was run by Joshua Baer, an elevator pitch professional.
The elevator pitch is one of the most important tools in business.
Someone asks you “what do you do?” and then you answer quickly and succinctly, as if you were standing next to them in an elevator.
It really doesn’t matter who the audience is – potential investors, prospective partners, even aspiring employees. You have their attention for the shortest of spans and you have to sell yourself or your company.
One of my recent lessons in pitching is to know when it’s time to shut up.
In every conversation, especially in the business world, the other side has either bought or rejected your pitch – and continuing to talk will not help you one bit. So end the meeting and schedule the follow-up.
To showcase how spot-on Baer was, let me copy and paste my notes from the session directly here
Baer’s Five Tips To a Killer Elevator Pitch
1. Focus on the problem
a. People generally start with solution, but you must establish the problem – key to helping people understand. What’s the pain? How does it cost time/money or cause distress? People will pay to solve a problem
2. Tell a story
b. Telling a story makes it easier to tell – which makes it easier to remember for others to re-tell.
c. Listing of features turns people off – VCs and potential clients want to invest in solutions
3. Use 4th grade language
a. Simple words, little jargon or buzz words
b. Imagine a 4th grader as your target audience
4. A killer closing
a. Leave them with a memorable one-liner – its ok to start and finish with the same line
b. Analogies work very well and make it easier for someone to understand
5. Practice, practice, practice
a. 100 is the magic number
b. Video record yourself
What are your tips for selling yourself or your company effective and efficiently?