The Elevator Pitch
Learn to sell your business in just seconds...
Think of the best tv ad you have seen. It was memorable. Be it because it tapped into your emotion or sentiment, appealed to your logical side or was just “different”, the ad stood out above the rest. Your business needs to stand out above the rest. In the same way an advert sparks interest and hooks you in, you need to be able to sell your business to people in a way that will spark interest and leave people wanting more…the only catch is you don’t have a lot of time to do that.
Many business owners go to network meetings or events and have to introduce themselves in less than a minute. These same individuals find themselves fumbling for words, or boring people to death with unnecessary details when given the time to talk about their business. They have simply not learned the art of the Elevator Pitch: A concise, persuasive introduction to their business and what their business does. Learning and mastering the elevator pitch skill could mean the difference between closing a million rand deal or having someone throw your business card in the trash. To help you avoid the latter, here are 3 important things your elevator pitch needs to include:
Who are they talking to? Include your name and surname in the elevator pitch. Avoid going into detail about your family background or sharing information that has nothing to do with the business. Follow the KISS method of delivery (Keep IT Short & Simple).
Your competency is the difference between a potential client saying “thank you, please excuse me I need to rush off to a meeting” and the client keeping quiet and continuing to listen. Your competency could include your qualifications or your successes. Your competency legitimizes you; it makes people take you seriously. For example, “Hi, my name is Rethabile Matsie and I am one of the top 50 ICT entrepreneurs in South Africa to be recognised by MTN” vs “Hi my name is Rethabile Matsie and I own a printing shop”. Why were you recognised by a big corporation and others weren’t? What is it about you and your business that is a cut above the rest? Immediately the first introduction to the elevator pitch makes people curious about you and makes you seem more credible and competent vs the second one wherein you are presenting yourself in a forgetful and boring way. You want to make an impression, choose to stand out and share details that will make you appear to be competent.
3. Problem Solving
You’ve heard it said before; business is about solving problems. As an entrepreneur, you are solving a problem, use your elevator pitch to not only state a problem but to also share how you have or are currently solving the problem. Avoid talking about what you are going to do, speak in the present; claim it: “this is my business, this is the problem I am solving and this is how I am doing it”. Customers, clients and investors want to see results, and an entrepreneur who is solving a problem vs one who going to solve a problem are two different things.
To put this into action here’s an example: “Hello, my name is Tshepo Mantswe, I am a graduate of the EBL 2022 ICT programme and the CEO of Robotics Inc. I bridge the digital gap in Southern Africa". Firstly, is there a digital gap? Is it a problem and if it is, is it a problem worth solving? Yes, to all 3 questions. The next question becomes, how… and once you have them asking that question, wanting to know more, you have achieved your goal.
The keys to creating a successful, memorable elevator pitch can be summed up in 3 words: clear, concise, convincing. An elevator pitch can do for your business in 1 minute what a long presentation might never do. In the fast-paced world we live in, you need to learn to communicate about your business in a clear, concise and convincing manner. Start with the basics, identity, competency and problem solving once you have mastered the Elevator Pitch skill, you’ll be able to sell your business to almost anybody.