Three Tips for Delivering the Perfect Pitch in 30 Seconds
By Jennifer Craig | May 31, 2012
How many times have you been asked to tell about yourself or your business only to stumble over your own words or hem and haw? It is embarrassing to say the least because who knows us better than ourselves? Yet, being caught off guard can cause the most elite, confident speaker to falter. It’s natural to get nervous when addressing what is considered a large group (four or more, for most of us). But what about one or two people on an elevator? Why does it make us stammer or lose our train of thought?
An elevator speech is exactly that. It is a speech an individual can give in the amount of time it takes an elevator to move from one floor to the next. Most people have anywhere from 30 seconds or less to tell someone about their business within that amount of time.
Elevator speeches (perfect pitches) should be clear, specific, concise, and presented in a way that the other person receives a good understanding of who you are, what you offer, and what are the benefits. In essence, you want to provide a “hook”, something that leaves the person asking for more information. For example, “Have you ever asked for a miracle? Well, my name is Jane Doe and I own Miracles, Inc. We create miracles everyday for individuals like you.” That hook gives them just enough information to ask, “How?” “What kind of miracles?” Delivery should always be with enthusiasm, sincerity, and confidence.
Unfortunately, most of us are not fully prepared. We know our businesses and all the various aspects of it. We discuss it in great length, daily with staff or customers; yet, we don’t know how to summarize everything wonderful in a few sentences. If this ever happens to you, do not kick yourself or retreat into the woodwork. You can easily overcome your awkwardness in three easy steps:
- Take a deep breath
- Smile with confidence
- Deliver an awesome 30-second pitch
The first two steps are relatively easy. They require that you relax, be sure of what you are going to say and say it. Now we’re going to cover what to do to make number three as easy as numbers one and two.
Write down the key points about your business by:
- Introducing yourself and your business
- Tell what you (or business) do
- Give a couple marketing points (benefits for the customer)
- Deliver with a hook
The best attack is to write several descriptive sentences for each category (being deliberate in your choice of words and phrases but not too wordy). After polishing the phrases and combining them, condense those sentences into a clear, concise presentation. Select a “hook” that is impressive like “We won national acclaim with our product’s performance;” “Our master mechanic was awarded his six excellence award;” “We can stop migraines instantly;” and the list goes on. The hook needs to be truthful and it can as simple as, “Our phrase, ‘don’t stay upside down’ refers to our ability to help people turn their finances around.” Practice your speech over and over (in front of a mirror or friends and family) until you feel totally confident. (Feel free to download this “Perfect Pitch/Elevator Speech” tip sheet)
Once you have perfected the elevator speech, use the same method in describing products or services, listing their major advantages and benefits. These additional speeches will be ready when someone asks for more (from your elevator speech). Again, the method can be used for marketing points as well.
What usually makes us uncomfortable or frustrated are the things we don’t do well or when we are caught off guard. Once you are prepared to always put your best foot forward (so to speak), the process becomes easier. Being in business is challenging enough. Make it easy on yourself when marketing your business, because “you’re not in the business you think you’re in, you are in the business of marketing it.” Good luck, and remember to relax, smile and breathe.
About the Author
Jennifer has over 30 years combined experience in business consulting, human resources, training, organizational development, and entertainment. In the past, she had worked for a variety of organizations including NMSU, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and Universal Studios before joining WESST in 1995. Her BA is in Journalism and Mass Communications, and her graduate work is in Training and Development. She was on the founding Board of the local ASPA (SHRM) group, was named SBA’s Small Business Advocate of the Year in 1997; and has illustrated two books. She enjoys writing and painting.