The Only Elevator Pitch Guide You’ll Ever Need

It’s time we stop wasting precious seconds on boring details your audience are bound to forget. Today, we’re using neuroscience to hack your audience’s brain and produce more leads for your business.

In an elevator pitch, you have between 15 and 90 seconds to articulate the strengths and goals of your business as well as present a specific and tangible ask. That’s a lot to fit in under a minute or two! So you’re going to need an airtight game plan to make sure you get it right.

Now, let’s talk science. For generations, human beings have depended on storytelling to keep ourselves and our cultures alive. In fact, there’s research to suggest that when we hear a story both the language and experiential parts of our brains are activated and we feel a part of the story. This is precisely the impact we want to have on our audience when pitching so that they feel a part of the problem/solution and are therefore compelled to take action.

People don’t buy what you do… they buy WHY you do it”  

– Simon Sinek

When pitching, this is precisely the angle you want to take. If you can use your story to communicate why you’re acting on your business mission, your audience will be compelled to act. But there’s a catch… 

The average person’s attention span is 8 seconds.

That’s less than a goldfish! So you need to stop wasting that precious time stating what your business does. Your audience simply doesn’t care…yet! Instead, you should fill that time with an interesting or thought provoking hook to kick start your story.

“Eight years ago I was involved in a horrific car accident. I was hit at high speed by a semi trailer… I lost a third of my body’s blood and I spent the next nine months learning to use my legs again.” 

A hook such as this immediately grabs the attention while setting the scene for the business’ ‘why’. Although a dramatic story, may not seem to have anything to do with an elevator pitch, it wheels your audience in and keeps them wanting to know more. You have successfully engaged their 8 second span.

Now that you have their attention, you want to direct their focus toward you ask. You need to lead them to your why.

This is where you set the scene of your problem area. Using your story, you need to tell your audience how you came across the issue while simultaneously alluding to the fact that you are qualified to solve the problem at hand. This is what we like to call ‘the link’. It may look a little something like this: 

“During those nine months of recovery, I felt incredibly alone. Although I had the endless support of my family and friends, I felt they couldn’t relate to the trauma I had faced. As time went on, so did life and I felt like I fell into the background, exacerbating the intense isolation I felt myself trapped inside.”

Here, the speaker combines an emotional anecdote, that elicits an emotional response within the audience with an introduction to his problem space while similtaneously proving to the reader that from his experience, he is a qualified candidate to take on the issue at hand. Now, you can move onto the traditional part of the elevator pitch.

→ Your business name

→ is a (market category) for/helps/etc (target customer)

→ who has (need statement).

→ (business name) (key benefit).

→ Unlike (competitors), our product (key differentiator).

As per our example above, you pitch should begin to look like following…

Healy is a social networking platform for young adults recovering from traumatic injuries and are looking to connect with others in similar positions. Healy aims to lessen the feelings of isolation commonly associated with medical recovery and connect individuals with a supportive community centred around positivity and growth. Unlike our competitors…. (you get the point).

In this concise layout, you’ll outline all relevant pieces of information that your audience wants to know, leaving you a little more time to go over anything further you’d like to reinforce before your final close.

So what should you include if time permits?

  1. The potential opportunities for your business in the future. (i.e although Healy is focused on traumatic injury right now, it has the potential to help others with other conditions, such as cancer).
  2. Some stats on market size (young adults between 20-24 have the highest rates of traumatic injuries with over X injuries per year)
  3. How you intend on making a profit (Healy is free to user platform that uses advertisements to build revenue)

Remember, it’s an elevator pitch! Its intention is not to give investors a detailed analysis of your business. So leave out the pie graphs and boring stats, you can provide that at a later time.

Now that you’ve outlined everything you need to, how should you close?

With an ask and a call to action.

If you’re looking for investment, be specific in terms of how much you’re asking. If you’re pitching for a co-founder, be specific about the kind of person you’re looking for. Back this statement up with how receiving this will assist you to achieve your why. Then, state your call to action, like reaching out via email, meeting you after to further discuss details or investing in your business.

And that’s all! Now you’re really ready to start your elevator pitch!

If you’re looking to learn more about how to grow your business to success, sign up for Fishburners Founders Hub. Gain access to hundreds of resources from as little as $1 a day.

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