36 Ways to Create a High Impact Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a necessity in any networking scenario, whether you are speaking to a prospect or potential partner by phone or face-to-face.

You’ve got about 10 seconds to make a lasting impression and therefore, want to bring your “A” game. Crafting an elevator pitch that grabs someone’s attention can be a challenge, and we wanted to hear from those of you with top tips on the subject, and asked -

What is your single best tip for creating a High Impact elevator pitch?

I am excited to share 36 amazing elevator pitch strategies from our experts this week, to help you put your best foot forward in any networking scenario in the New Year. The most important things to keep in mind are planning, focusing your message in the right direction and practice, practice, practice. Enjoy!


1. Say It Again, Sam

The best elevator pitch advice is the most obvious: say it out loud.

If you practice delivering your elevator pitch verbally, not only will you become good at delivering it naturally when necessary, you’ll also see immediately which words or phrases are too long or too awkward, and you’ll end up creating something that targets exactly what you need to communicate.

We all add in unnecessary verbiage when we’re writing: saying something requires you to be clear, succinct, and to the point. Which is exactly what an elevator pitch should be!

Our example – “Customline Wordware writes and/or edits whatever you need written or edited, whether you’re a Fortune-500 company or a sole proprietor. Want content? Think Customline!”

Thanks to Jeannette De Beauvoir of Customline Wordware

2. Practice Makes Perfect!

Once you have created a short pitch about your idea or business, it is key to practice! If you come across the perfect opportunity to give a potential investor or buyer a pitch, your nerves will kick into high gear. However, if you have practiced your pitch to perfection, it should roll off your tongue effortlessly and you’ll be in it, to win it!

My example – “I am the founder of Teach My, makers of award-winning learning kits for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Five years ago, I filled a gap in the marketplace by creating all-in-one learning kits that provide parents with modern, high quality coordinated tools to teach little ones the basics, in just 20 minutes a day. Requiring no batteries or DVD’s, the kits encourage one-on-one time in our busy world and have quickly become top sellers with big box online retailers and specialty stores across North America.”

Thanks to Christy Cook of Teach My

3. Blow Their Socks Off!

Start your elevator pitch with a statement that really makes them pay attention. I start mine this way…. “hello, my name is Linda Pond, inventor of The FAB Light – which was named best gadget of the summer by PC World Magazine”.

Be creative with your claim to fame. It will always prompt questions from a curious audience.

Thanks to Linda Pond of Linda Lee Pond

4. Believing Is Achieving

As a business coach, I speak with many small business people about how I can help them start, grow and/or exit their business.

My pitch is simple. – “If you have passion for what you do in your business and are willing to put the time in, I will keep you focused and accountable…never judging your decisions, but requiring you to stand up for them. I will never tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear. I will motivate you to believe in yourself and your power to achieve success.”

Thanks to Vicki Donlan of VickiDonlan

5. Highlight The Key Points

To make sure you say your piece in a few seconds, make sure you know the strong points you want to convey. Knowing 2 or 3 go-to responses will show your ability to articulate and impress.

Thanks to Emily Carter of Grass Roots Marketing, Inc.

6. Tell Them What’s In It For Them

Your elevator pitch should be short, pithy, and meaningful to your audience. How will your product or service help them? What’s in it for them? Don’t go on about how fabulous you are – no one cares! They want to hear how, by hiring you or buying your product, their personal lives or businesses will benefit. And for heaven’s sake, keep it to 30 seconds at the most; in the time it takes you to go from one floor to another in that elevator, you should be able to deliver your message.

My example – “I write promotional copy that helps small businesses and solo-preneurs market their messages through advertising, marketing and public relations. Website content, ads, press releases, and expert byline articles are just some ways I work with my clients to get them noticed and boost their business. Whether print, broadcast, or digital, StarrGates Business Communications helps get your word out!”

Thanks to Caryn Starr-Gates of STARRGATES BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS

7. Tell ‘em What You Can Do

In my experience, one of the most effective techniques in crafting an elevator pitch is to focus on the benefits of doing business with you.

Example: I own a PR firm; therefore, my elevator pitch is, “I help my clients earn visibility and recognition for the great work that they do.”

Thanks to Jane Blume of Desert Sky Communications

8. A 10-word You-focused Tagline

For years, I’ve used this tagline, “I make the world insist on knowing why YOU’RE special.”

I think it works pretty well as an elevator speech, too–the idea is it gets people to say “tell me more about that.” And then I talk about the marketing and publishing consulting and copywriting, the in-person training, and so forth.

Thanks to Shel Horowitz of Green And Profitable

9. Genuine Excitement

I am always genuine with a touch of excitement. I hook into what a person may feel challenged with in their business, especially if they are a new entrepreneur. A lot of the time, it is getting some exposure, and how to gain attention.

My pitch is, “I help new women entrepreneurs with businesses in lifestyle brands, who are uncomfortable talking about themselves, get brand recognition, and to see how fabulous they are in the same way the public and the media would.”

Thanks to Donina Ifurung of On High Heels

10. 10 Seconds Or Less

Be able to say it in 10 seconds or less and make sure it rolls off your tongue. I found nice big words that captured what I do succinctly. It doesn’t always mean that people would have a full grasp of what I did, but it would usually open up the conversation. If you can get them to ask more than your elevator pitch just because a coffee conversation. So have one or two lines that wraps up what you do but still leaves room for questions. Remember you are trying to start a conversation not end one.

Thanks to Lauren MacEwen of SM Cubed Consulting

11. Are You Bigger Than A Breadbox?

My best tip: Please explain your work in clear language. Avoid annoying, ambiguous statements such as, “I provide solutions for the small business owner!” I don’t want to play “20 Questions” to figure out what it is you actually do for a living.

My own 1-sentence pitch: “I’m a resume expert with ResuMAYDAY and when I do my job well, my clients come to life on paper!”

Thanks to Lauren Milligan of ResuMAYDAY

12. Lead With Your Value, Not Your Name

My best tip for a short “elevator” pitch – if asked about yourself – is to lead with one sentence about the value that you bring to your customers/clients, rather than leading with your name or title or name of your firm.

My shortest line is, “I help my clients become better known and better understood by their target audiences. I accomplish this through public relations and communications strategies.”

As a “solopreneur” and a former staff member of a chamber of commerce, I have been participating in networking events for about eight years and have garnered business for myself and given business referrals as a result of making connections in this manner. The listener can more easily refer business to you when they understand the value you can bring.

Thanks to Suzanne Fulton of Soarings, LLC

13. Don’t Deliver It Deadpan

You should be able to explain succinctly who you are, what you do, who you serve and how you benefit them without rambling on, but don’t memorize and deliver your information deadpan. Get to know yourself and what you do, jot down thoughts on how to describe it, experiment with friends you trust, and ask them be HONEST in their feedback.
Strive to deliver the information naturally and in a way that fosters conversation. It’s okay to be intriguing, but don’t be too cutesy or clever.

My sample (I prefer several short sentences to one long one – easier for the listener to digest): “Hello, my name is Patti DeNucci. I’m a business networking and referral expert, author, speaker and consultant. I teach business people how to attract more powerful relationships, referrals & results in business.”

Thanks to Patti DeNucci of DeNucci & Co LLC

14. Don’t Let Your Elevator Pitch Stand Alone!

An elevator pitch is an important part of your networking kit – and while it’s critical, it doesn’t stand alone. To make your elevator pitch even more successful, you’ll want to back it up with some materials.

In person, have your business card ready. It should look fabulous, and tell them how to get in touch. For bonus points, make an offer of free information for them on the card – so that they can continue learning about you easily.

By phone, have a PDF that you can email or a web page that you’ve made especially for these conversations. You’ll want to design a special page that takes that introductory conversation deeper. Let them know how they can work with you, that you’re available to speak, what you’re looking for, and how they can learn more.

Thanks to Erin Ferree of BrandStyle Design

15. Seven Seconds Or Bust!

I love to say that in the South, we don’t have a lot of skyscrapers so you really have just seven seconds for your “elevator” speech (unless you jam the elevator door and keep folks hostage, hon, something I don’t recommend.)

The framework I teach people is this, “I, [your name or the name of your business], help people _____, _____, and ____.” [here you list the 3 big and best benefits you give your clients] by/through/with [you choose your proposition] ______ [here you give a JAZZY adjective plus what you "do"]. Note: If you specify which groups of people you work with, that’s even better.

Example: “I, Barnsley, help business owners, busy professionals, & women relieve stress & create balanced, prosperous lives through energizing coaching, motivational presentations, & Reiki seminars.”

Thanks to Dr. Barnsley Brown of Spirited Solutions Speaking & Coaching

16. A Quick Anecdote Is Appreciated

The single best tip for an elevator pitch is an anecdote. If you’re quick with a story that is relatable to the subject matter, you will be able to hook the person you are talking with and create a contact. Tying the two together is the hardest part. You must be a savvy thinker and have some stories cued up in your mind as you begin having a conversation.

My example: “We run prize giveaways on Facebook, and last month, one of customers got 2,000 new likes in one week on Facebook by running a contest through our website, and now we have a bunch more that are waiting to get on board.”

Thanks to I. Aronovich of Awardable

17. Hit Em’ With A Joke!

Jokes kill it. Having humor in your repertoire can be your ticket to success when making an elevator pitch. If you are a known funny guy around the office, you shouldn’t be hesitant to use your humor to enhance your pitch. People love jokes—and if you have a good one, people will remember it and you.

Here’s an example: “We earned so much commission from the Black Friday deals we posted…we’re renaming it Green Friday”

Thanks to Elik Aaron of SaleRacks

18. You’d Feel Better If You Talked About It…

Tip–Your elevator speech/question must include an uncomfortable question or scenario that they can relate to. That will spur further conversation, remember interested is INTERESTING.

My example, “Remember when you were a kid in the store and lost Mom? What about losing your wallet?

Losing your business data is right in the middle of those two fears for most people.

How do you TEST your disaster recovery plan?”

Thanks to Michael Bremmer of Telecomquotes.com

19. Find Ways To Quickly Build A Relationship

It’s not about you. It’s about saying something that will turn off a prospect from hell and turn up the ears of your ideal clients. At events, you want to spend time with people who can become prospects or who know them in bunches. The fact that you do what you do, your title, is not important. But what is important is who you do it for and the major benefits they will receive from working with you. I challenge you to create an elevator speech without your title.

The basic concept can be expanded, but make a difference to your business by starting with “My name is ___ and I help (your ideal clients) and help them (reach this major goal)”.

Thanks to Maria Marsala of Elevating Your Business

20. Your Elevator Pitch Is About Them!

What’s everyone’s favorite topic of conversation? Themselves! So grab your prospect’s attention by talking about them. Here’s the tip: Instead of starting your Elevator Pitch with your name, start with your most compelling business result.

Here’s my one-sentence example: “Business professionals hire me to craft a 30-Second Elevator Pitch that instantly differentiates them from any current or future competitor.” Happy Networking!

Thanks to Andrew Winig of Your Elevator Pitch Coach

21. Take A Peak At Your Classmate’s Paper

My elevator pitch is “I write a photography blog for people who didn’t read their manual, like me.”

This is something that I can say to people who are interested in what I write about, and it gives them enough information to spark a conversation. I worked on my elevator pitch for a month and the best advice I can give is (1) take a look at the sites of the companies in your niche to see what their pitch is, because this will provide you with a lot of inspiration when you sit down to write yours. (2) Run it by people (not friends and family) who will give you honest feedback. I started a discussion in a blogging forum and received fantastic and direct feedback from other bloggers. (3) Don’t let someone else write it for you; this is your pitch, so write what makes sense for you.

Thanks to Kimberly Gauthier of A Novice With Moxie

22. Elevator Pitch For People With Difficult To Pronounce Names

My professional background is research and writing. While I worked on reporting for GAO,
and currently in my consulting position, I wanted to emphasize my fast-paced demeanor and unique name. My first name is Mehrunisa, and it’s an unusual name for many people as well as difficult to pronounce. The same goes for my last name, which is Qayyum. The tip that has worked for me, as a second generation American, who has a Persian name, is to weave my name into a familiar American expression.

For example, I say, “Hi! My shortened name is Mehr, which sounds like ‘I “Met ‘her” today–but without the “t”!’ This also applies to my last name: “It’s Qayyum–think as if it rhymes with Kazoom” as in I’m very speedy in my work ethic and fact checking.

Thanks to Mehrunisa Qayyum of PITAPOLICY Consulting

23. Wasting Time Leads To Failure

The best tip for creating a high impact elevator pitch is time management. If you know you have an allotted time period with one person, you shouldn’t take your time pitching anything. Make only your main value proposition, and do it quickly and clearly. There is nothing worse than having someone ramble on about nonsense when you have your right foot already out the door.

This is a great example of a quick pitch: “We aggregate information about live and online government auctions of seized and surplus property where everyone can find just about anything they can think of, only cheaper.”

Thanks to Michael Pesochinsky of GovernmentAuctions.org

24. Don’t Say It, Don’t Say It! Pause For Reaction.

Hmmm, the 10 sec. pitch is completely doable, as long as you don’t tell the prospect what you do!

To bring your “A” game you should be thinking about what you can do for them, not how great a customer they will be for you. Think about it. When is the last time someone showed complete interest in you, not just what they could get from you? I’m sure your service or product is authentic and top-notch. But they don’t care. So, tell them a little something like this:

“I am passionate about linking businesses with whatever they need to reach the next level.” I know, I know, it’s vague. But it compels conversation and that’s what you want. Besides, isn’t that true? Your job is to give businesses what they need, not what you decide they need! Try it, I bet you’ll get past the 10 seconds.

Thanks to Mys Palmer of Heritage Calls Compositions

25. Get To The Point!

The best elevator pitches start with an old journalism trick called the inverted pyramid. The point is, you don’t know how much time you’ll have to make an impression. Get to the heart of the matter on “the first floor” – lead with what’s distinctive about your business and your value proposition. The higher the floor, the more detailed and thorough the information. If there’s time to get to proof points, ROI data and your amazing team, great. If there isn’t, you’ve still gotten the important messaging out.

Thanks to Andrew Stanten of Altitude Marketing

26. The 30-Second Sell

Milo Frank says we have less than a minute to make a good impression. You can maximize your verbal impact with an elevator pitch that takes you straight to the top. It’s as simple as 1-2-3.

1. Start with a question.
2. Be sure to use the “you” pronoun repeatedly.
3. Cite a statistic.

Example: “Did you ever wonder why you don’t have time to do it right the first time but find the time to do it over if a customer complains? You can avoid complaints/recalls if your team focuses on meeting its goal. My company can show you how in six easy steps. Results guaranteed or your money back.”

Thanks to Dr. Marlene Caroselli of Center For Professional Development

27. Line Of Inquiry

Answer a question with another question. When someone asks you a challenging question, you might want to pitch them with a follow-up question that will have them thinking about the answer for the next few hours or days.

Example – “Yes, I did hear that interest rates are inanely low right now, but did you know could also own a foreclosure home you can find for FREE at ForeclosureMagic for pennies on the dollar?”

That’s a great example of a follow-up pitch question as a response to someone else’s initial questions.

Thanks to Eli Israel of Foreclosure Magic

28. Make It Short And To The Point

Quick responses are essential to hitting the ball out of the park during an elevator pitch. Keep in mind that you only have a few brief moments to get your pitch across—so you need to make the best of your limited time. If the person you are speaking with has a comment, you should fire back immediately with your response pitch.

Here’s how we would do it—“It’s a shame that your car broke down last night…too bad you weren’t the guy who won a 2009 Escalade for a few thousand dollars through an online government auction that he found through our website.”

Thanks to Max Aronson of Government-Auctions-Guide

29. Ends With Benefits

It all starts and ends with benefits. Lead with what’s exciting, or what’s in it for your audience and you’ll have them.

And make it impactful. Don’t be afraid to be bold. If you want someone’s attention, then reach out and GRAB it!

Our elevator pitch…

“We help retailers and distributors free up millions in cash and add 50% to their bottom line with inventory aligned to increase sales while minimizing inventory investment.”

When you’ve got a good elevator pitch, you’ll know it. For instance, I have monthly gatherings with fellow tech CEOs and I can’t tell you how many times one has said…

“You do that? We’re just in software.”

You aren’t your features, you are your results!

Thanks to Greg White of Blue Ridge

30. Give Yourself Permission To Self-promote

“What do you do?” is the hardest question to answer. Before I could create a successful elevator pitch, I had to give myself permission to promote myself — it’s not bragging, it’s letting people know that I make a really cool product that they might be able to use. Once I gave myself permission, I had to decide what to say.

I decided on the straightforward approach. I say, “I make handmade beaded tassels.” And then I watch people’s eyes light up. They want to know all about my tassels and what to use them for, and where I get my beads, and where to buy them.

Thanks to Elizabeth Cogliati of Lizbeth’s Garden

31. Don’t Try To Sell Anything!

My best tip for creating a high-impact elevator speech is to build curiosity by referring to benefits you provide rather than naming your company or type of product. Your goal with an elevator speech is not to sell anything. Rather it’s to get the other person to want to learn more. When they express that interest, you’ve earned the right to ask for their contact information and work toward qualifying them and, if appropriate, giving your presentation.

When people ask me what I do, my reply is this: “I help people, who are in sales, to greatly increase their incomes in less time than they’re working now.”

Thanks to Tom Hopkins of Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

32. Use What You Say Every Day

Instead of diluting your pitch with jargon and words you wouldn’t usually say, convey your message with language that you use every day.

For instance, “I am a career coach that helps people in creative jobs that want to see themselves get the recognition they deserve, hear about themselves in their industry and finally feel satisfied when they have previously felt stuck.”

Notice how I don’t use industry jargon either from the coaching industry or creative industries. Easily I could have exchanged simple words for ones found in a thesaurus. The word “deserve” would then be, “get comeuppance” or “procure.” See how using words in your elevator pitch that you normally wouldn’t speak makes you come off as either trying too hard or silly? Simple words said properly make the most impact.

Thanks to Angela Martin of DEFINING SUCCESS COACHING

33. We Get You Out Of Tough Situations Before You Get In Them

The best tip I have is to create a great opening sentence.

Example is my title: “We get you out of tough situations before you get in them”, says much more than “we help our clients manage the media”. From that one sentence, most people would ask, “what do you mean?” and your conversation is started.

One other tip that goes hand-in-hand with a great elevator pitch, is you must deliver it with passion. If you’re not excited about what you do, who else is going to be?

Thanks to Marilyn Gordon of Mediatude, LLC

34. The Need For Speed – Crafting Your Best 118

In the days of 3 martini lunches and black & white TV, salespeople had in their arsenal something called an “elevator pitch.” The idea was that they had to sell themselves and their product or service in the time it took to ride an elevator from the ground to the top floor. Every good salesperson had an “elevator pitch” and they could perform it flawlessly at a moment’s notice. Today, elevators are much faster and attention spans are much shorter, so you’ve got to amp your pitch up to the speed at which business moves in the Internet era. You’ve got to have a 118.

The first 8 seconds are the most important part of your entire pitch. That’s when you grab the attention of your prospect. If you do not connect in the first 8 seconds, then you probably will not have their attention for the remaining 110. (i.e. You won’t stay on the bull for 8 seconds and you’ll probably get trampled.) This is a great time to compliment something the prospect has done recently and show how your business complements theirs. At the very least, you should show that you know what it is that they do.

“In less than two minutes, I will tell you how the use of [me, my company, my service] will grow your development department 115 percent.”

You may have your own reasons for creating a 118 that go beyond a sales pitch. But, whatever your company may need to achieve its goals, a 118 is always a good first step to getting there. Remember, nobody knows more about your business than you do.

When you finally arrive at a 118 that best suits your business, you’ll know it. The vibe will be there. It’ll feel good rolling off your tongue. You’ll wake up in the morning reciting it and go to bed at night doing the same thing.
You’ll believe it.
After all, if you don’t, nobody else will.

Thanks to Jeffrey Hayzlett of The Hayzlett Group

35. Show Excitement, Passion And Authenticity!

To deliver a compelling elevator pitch, show excitement for your work, let your passion shine through, and be authentic. Passion and enthusiasm are contagious, and sincerity will make others feel at ease with you.

An effective elevator pitch always comes from your heart and your head. It must be interesting and intelligent, and it should follow other guidelines as well. It must:

-Show excitement for your work.
-Express interest in others.
-Sound natural.
-Share examples and testimonials.
-Use consistent body language.

Elevator pitches take time and practice. Be patient and understand that the tenth time you give your elevator pitch is going to be a lot better than the first time.

Thanks to Lida Citroen of LIDA360

36. Catch Their Attention With An Interesting Fact Or Statistic!

I did a great elevator pitch workshop with Barbara Lopez of http://www.brightfarm.com and her brilliant advice is to catch someone’s attention with some statistics or an interesting fact rather than simply opening with your name.

Here is what we came up for me: “Did you know that over 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety and panic attacks, and that the incidence is on the rise? Hi, I am Trudy Scott, Food Mood Expert and Nutritionist, and I help women find natural solutions for anxiety using food and nutrients.”

Thanks to Trudy Scott, Author of The Antianxiety Food Solution




Thanks so much again to all our wonderful contributors for sharing your best strategies for creating high impact elevator pitches! We hope to hear from you again. And to all our readers, if you have an innovative idea to share, we hope you will leave it in the comments below.

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10 Comments

  1. Posted January 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great post! I really appreciated all the suggestions and examples.

  2. Posted January 6, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Shannon
    What great tips! I learned so much from everyone!
    And I really appreciate you sharing mine!
    Thanks
    Trudy

  3. Lisa LaMunyon
    Posted January 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    These are great tips that I plan on using for my interview tomorrow.

    • Posted January 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for sharing, Lisa! I wish you great success and would love to know how it goes. :) Shannon

  4. Posted January 3, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Those are excellent tips. Thanks for putting this post together!

  5. Posted January 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    One thing to remember–practice until it becomes second nature to you. Very very good comments.

    • Posted January 2, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Randy. Yes, I agree that you need to work on it to make it natural and smooth. :)

3 Trackbacks

  1. [...] 36 Ways to Create a High Impact Elevator Pitch by Dr. Shannon Reece [...]

  2. [...] Stanten frequently speaks to small business organizations on the importance of a high impact elevator speech, including the Chamber of Commerce and Lehigh University’s Small Business Development Center. Stanten’s contribution can be found here. [...]

  3. [...] http://blog.drshannonreece.com/2012/01/02/36-ways-to-create-a-high-impact-elevator-pitch/ Related Posts:10+ Women-Only Resources for Business Building10 Questions You Must Be Able to Answer Before Going to a Networking Event10 Ways To Develop Confidence In New SituationsSale of the yr. ends 10/31/10 at midnight PST!Are You Willing To Give A Lifetime Of Experience Away?Be Sociable, Share! Tweet [...]

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