6 Steps for Writing a Powerful Elevator Pitch

A woman in a suit introducing herself to someone. Text reads:

The Balance / Cindy Chung 

An elevator pitch is an overview of your business, and, as the name implies, it is delivered in the time it takes to complete your average elevator ride. It can be one of the simplest yet most powerful marketing tools for a small business owner.

When delivering your elevator pitch, the goal is to be short and snappy to entice your would-be prospect to want to know more about your business. The length can vary, but you typically want to be able to present your elevator pitch comfortably without rushing in 30 seconds or less. 

How to Write an Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch goes beyond sharing what it is you do. Instead, the goal is to intrigue your lead so that they want to know more. So, instead of saying, "I'm a virtual assistant," you might say, "I help busy small business owners get more done, in less time, to earn more profits." Any small business owners who heard that would likely want to know how they could earn more by doing less.

Here is a six-step process to help you write an elevator pitch:

  1. Who Are You? Write one sentence about yourself. For example, you might introduce yourself as a consultant to small business owners.
  2. What You Do or Offer? Use your mission statement and product/service listing as a guide, and write a sentence or two about what you do every day in your business. If your emphasis is on time-saving techniques, state briefly how your strategies work.
  3. What Problem Do You Solve? Identify the value you offer to your customers or clients. Avoid listing only your features, and instead, translate them into benefits.
  4. How You Are Different? Use your unique selling proposition (USP) as a guide and write about what sets you apart from every other business owner who does what you do. Perhaps you've had relevant experiences and overcome them yourself or you have an uncommon strategy.
  5. Ask a Question: Elevator pitches are generally delivered in in-person situations, such as an elevator or networking event, which means you want to be social and engage your lead in a conversation. A great way to involve your lead is to ask a question that relates to your lead and your business. Using the virtual assistant question, you might ask, "What business activity do you find the most tedious?"
  6. Give a Call to Action: Once your pitch is done, give the lead something to do next in a call to action, such as take your business card. Briefly let your audience know what they can do to follow up and hear more. Provide a means for further contact or for scheduling a meeting.

Putting Your Elevator Pitch Together

Once you've come up with something for each of the six steps, work with your responses to create up to a 30 second or 80- to 90-word pitch. Add transitions and edit your pitch until it flows conversationally and captures the most important information. For example, it might read something like this:

"Hi, I'm Sally Smith, a virtual assistant who helps busy small business owners get more done, in less time, to earn more profits. What business activity do you dislike doing the most?"

Or

"Hi, I'm Sally Smith, I'm an accountant who helps people keep more of their hard earn money. Last year I helped my clients save over six-figures. Here's my card which lists the top tax deductions most people don't take advantage of."

The above examples are shorter than most, but they highlight your goal which is to give an indication of what you do and how you can be helpful to your lead.

Tips to Effective Elevator Pitches

There is a secret to a good elevator pitch which goes to the psychology of sales and marketing. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Know Your Audience

Get your lead talking first so you can learn something about them and their pain points so you can tailor your pitch to fit their needs. For example, if Sally Smith learned that a small business owner was buried under papers, she could say, "Hi, I'm Sally Smith, a virtual assistant who helps small business owners get their ducks in a row. My clients scan their paper items and I organize and file them for them, saving them time, money, and clutter."

Target Market

Like all other forms of marketing, the more you can speak to your lead's needs, the greater the chance you'll entice them to want to learn more about your business.

Less Is More

There's a natural tendency to want to say everything about your business, but when you start getting into monologue territory, you risk boring or annoying your lead. Be pithy and hook your lead with information that will naturally lead them to ask about your business. Again, this is where describing your benefits, over your features can help.

Consider Leading With a Hook

A hook is an enticing statement that grabs attention. Your hook can be a question, such as, "You know how so many business owners waste time and money because they wear too many hats? I'm a virtual assistant that takes those hats so business people can focus on what they do best...make money."

Or your hook can be a benefit statement, "I help business owners work less and make more." Just saying that alone would likely have a business owner asking how you did that.

Create Opportunity for Follow Up

All marketing should provide you with a means of following up. That can come in the form of a call-to-action, in which your lead is asked to take a next step, such as, "Here's my card with my website where you can get my free guide on working less and making more."

Better yet, improve your chances of a follow up by getting your lead's information, "Can I have your card? I'll email you my free guide on working less and making more."

Call to Action (CTA)

Always end your conversation giving your lead something to do that will allow you to contact them again in the future.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Don't just write and read your elevator pitch, speak it out loud and practice. It needs to sound natural when you say it, otherwise, you'll come off as a salesman. When the opportunity comes, you want the pitch to flow like it's a natural part of the conversation. If you can't flow through the pitch, then rewrite it until it rolls off your tongue.

Like a business card, an elevator pitch is a quick, easy way to introduce your business to people you meet. But beyond just answering the question of, "What do you do," you want to use your pitch to create interest in your business, and turn a lead into a prospect.

Article Sources

  1. Pepperdine University. "Preparing Your Elevator Speech," Page 1. Accessed Jan. 17, 2020.

  2. University of California, Davis. "The 30 Second Elevator Pitch," Page 1. Accessed Jan. 17, 2020.