Every business owner will need to deliver a short pitch at some point. This sums up the basics of your business in under a minute. Many people will have heard it described as an elevator pitch — the idea being you could deliver it to someone in the brief time you’re in a lift with them.
The pitch can serve a variety of different purposes. For example, you might be at a networking event, where each attendee is given an opportunity to introduce themselves with a short pitch. Alternatively, you might be a business looking for investment, in which case, a pitch is usually included in your presentation or slide deck to potential investors. It can also be a powerful tool in your marketing.
There are a few basic details which you should include in your pitch. It should tell people: who you are; what you do; why someone should choose you and what you’re looking for.
You should cover all of this within a maximum of 60 seconds. It sounds simple but many business owners get lost in the detail. Eager to let everyone know what they offer, they try to cover everything rather just the salient points and it misses the goal of being something short, snappy and memorable.
Others will quickly throw together an idea and vary it each time they use it. But in doing so, they lack consistency and miss the opportunity to be memorable. A well-crafted pitch will intrigue people and set you apart. In networking, using the same pitch for each event will also help people to remember and recommend you to others.
How to make your pitch memorable
Making your pitch memorable starts with your name. When you first introduce yourself, most people won’t be fully focused. It can, therefore, help to repeat your name and the company name at the beginning. One way to do this is to say your first name, pause for a second, and then repeat your first name along with your surname.
Your opening sentences should also capture attention. There are many ways in which you can do this but piquing an audience’s interest with a question is one effective way. For example, a hotel owner might ask ‘If I offered you a weekend of relaxation, what would you choose to do: fine dine in the restaurant, play a round of golf, or have a treatment or two in the spa?’ Asking a question, actively involves the listener in your pitch and builds rapport.
Another approach might be to use an attention-grabbing sentence which shows why this pitch applies to the audience. This might relate to the outcome you offer. Again, this will build rapport as people relate what you do to how it’s beneficial to them.
A solution to a problem
Most business owners will be familiar with the concept that you don’t sell features, you sell benefits: a solution to a problem. However, it’s common to get weighed down in the details of various problems the product or service solves. An effective pitch is concise in identifying the main pain point and presenting the key solution and outcome. Remember, this need only be a sentence or two. For example, a financial advisor might say ‘I help business owners to sleep at night, knowing that they are financially secure, and able to retire early’.
Leave them with a reason to talk to you
Finally, make sure you leave your audience with a reason to continue the conversation with you. This will look different depending on the scenario. If you’re pitching for investment, you need to ensure that you’ve presented an enticing opportunity. This means including the reason your business is the right investment.
Then again, if you’re crafting a pitch for networking, it can help to include why people should be interested in what you offer. You should consider ways in which you can get people interested in having a conversation with you. For example, you might include a story in your pitch, but hold back on the ending. Or you could end your pitch with a statement that if they want to know the answer to something, then they should come and have a chat with you. Most successful networking is based on having conversations and building solid relationships.
Crafting the right pitch
An effective pitch is a powerful tool in your business. However, it is not always easy to craft. Often, it’s difficult to decipher the important details because you are too close to your business. But help is at hand.
Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce ran a free ‘Writing a great 60-second pitch’ webinar in April, and that can be viewed on the website. It will give you all the tools, hints and tips you need to write a clear and concise pitch.
Find out more about Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce at www.chamber-business.com