elevator-pitch-newRead any small business branding book and it will demand you craft the perfect elevator pitch. This 60-second summary of your business tells the listener everything they “need” to know about you in one statement. There are many opinions on what makes the perfect elevator pitch. Here’s our two cents on the subject.

There’s only one goal for an elevator pitch – to intrigue the listener enough to ask a question about what you’ve said. A compelling elevator pitch gets the person listening to want more information and to continue the conversation (rather than simply nod and change the conversation to the food at the conference or excessive humidity of Washington, DC in the summer). Nothing more.

Here’s our formula for the perfect elevator pitch:

1.  Simple statement on what you do. No buzzwords. No value proposition fluff. Just what you do – plain and simple.

–> Outcome: The listener gets what you offer.

2.  Who you help. Define what “clients” or “customers” means to you.

–> Outcome: The listener sees herself or someone else she knows as a good fit for your offering.

3.  Quick examples of how your ideal clients/customers use your product or service.

–> Outcome: The listener understands how your offering could apply to her or someone else she knows.

Your elevator pitch is effective when you get the truly engaged eyebrow raise rather than the marginally polite head nod. And when the next comment is, “Wait, you know who you should talk to?” Or, “Really? That’s so great! You’re exactly who I need to talk to.”

Once you’ve secured that initial interest, you’ll have the opportunity to share what differentiates you from the competition, makes your offering worth the investment, and more. The goal of an elevator pitch is to earn the ability to have those substantive conversations rather than lose the sale up front due to inability for the listener to quickly and easily “get it.”