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7 Tips for Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch

elevator pitch
. / Credit: Elevator Image via Shutterstock

As defined by Investopedia, an elevator pitch is "a brief speech that outlines an idea for a product, service or project. The name comes from the notion that the speech should be delivered in the short time period of an elevator ride, usually 20 to 60 seconds." While we all want to get new business, the goal of the elevator pitch should always be to stir up interest. With that interest can come sales.

To perfect your elevator pitch, there are a few things you can do.

It's easy to say, "We're a gardening company, and we sell pots and plants." But so does the next gardening company and all the others after that. Prior to crafting your elevator pitch, dig into the details of your products and services. Consider what you sell that is unique and what sets your business apart from the competition.

As part of knowing your products and services, understand the problems they solve and where your prospects' pain points are. The better you know your products and services and your target audience, the more confident you'll be when giving your elevator pitch and answering follow-up questions. If you'll be presenting to different types of audiences, you'll want to customize your elevator pitches accordingly.

Most businesses have a lot of moving parts. In elevator pitches, there's no time to tell a long story. Instead, pull out the key points of your business or top-selling product to engage your audience. Think about the big picture: Instead of just listing product benefits, show value.

In the Business Network International group (BNI), we are taught to start and end every elevator pitch with our name, job role and company. For instance, "My name is Marisa Sanfilippo, and I am the marketing director for Priority Payments Local, where we help companies save money on their payment processing." Repeating your name, job role and company helps it to sink in with your audience.

Knowing that you don't have a lot of time to give this pitch, it can be tempting to say it fast to get more content in or simply because of nerves, but speaking too fast is a big no-no when delivering an elevator pitch. If you speak too fast and not clearly, it can be difficult for your audience to make out what you say.

It's also important to be conversational. A good salesperson never sounds like they're selling something, but rather having a conversation with prospects as if they were good old friends. The elevator pitch should be your tool for starting a conversation.

Like the old saying goes, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Your elevator pitch may not lead to an extended conversation the first time or even the third or fourth time you give it. Test out different versions of your pitch as needed. Test it on friends, family and co-workers. Ask them to share what they get out of it and where they think you can improve.

People like to do business with people they like. When you deliver your elevator pitch, it's important to smile and let your personality shine through. Your message should come across in a way that shows that you're passionate about what you're selling and that you're a trusted source.

Marisa Sanfilippo

Marisa Sanfilippo is an award-winning marketing professional who has more than six years experience developing and executing marketing campaigns for small and medium sized businesses with a focus on digital marketing. After graduating Stockton University with a B.A. in Communications and minor in writing, Marisa worked as a freelance journalist for numerous publications, ultimately earning a position as an e-marketing specialist for a credit union. While in that position, she earned HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Certification and helped build the organization’s digital marketing strategy from the ground up. Her efforts helped lead the credit union to success on and offline including: a 200%+ organic increase in Facebook followers, a sales generating blog, and much more. Later on, she worked on a social media campaign that gained recognition by The Huffington Post.