Ever watched a rom com?
If you have, then you’ve definitely seen the “meet cute” trope in action.
Two characters bump into each other in a fateful coincidence, spilling groceries / office documents / drinks / what have you, all over the place.
Flustered and embarrassed, the protagonist mumbles barely-coherent apologies and tries to help with the mess. Against all odds, they manage to come across as endearing enough to spark the love interest’s, well, interest, and get a date later.
Well, being an entrepreneur is not like being a character in a romantic comedy. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the two are dramatically different in many ways.
When your trajectory collides with a prospect, a potential investor, or a networking connection — hopefully in a non-destructive fashion — you’d better come prepared.
Because if you can’t explain to a prospect, a potential investor, or a networking connection, what exactly you do AND WHY THEY SHOULD CARE, ideally in 30 seconds or less…
…there won’t be a “later.”
You might think that you know your business and your value like the back of your hand — well enough to wing it.
Trust me: you don’t.
I mean, I bet you’ve tried that before, and the results were less than ideal.
Pitching is not something you should wing. Ever. Mumbling, improvisation, and vagueness are out of the question. A crisp, crystal-clear, and compelling elevator pitch is what you need.
So today, let’s create one. Actually, let’s create three!
In this week’s article, I’m going to give you three stealable elevator pitch templates you can use in three different scenarios:
- To captivate a potential buyer, so you can leave them hungry to learn more about your offer.
- To intrigue a potential investor until they chomp at the bit to be among the early supporters of your company.
- And to build rapport with a networking connection, so you can forge a lucrative partnership later.
Plus, I’ll break down the strategy behind each template, so you know why they are constructed the way they are, and can tweak as you see fit.
And now, let’s dive right in… by setting some ground rules!
Here are the 3 key principles to help you create a truly unignorable elevator pitch that inspires action — every time.
The effective Elevator Pitch 1-2-3 punch
No matter what you’re pitching, only a fraction of your success will come down to what you say.
How and when you choose to pitch matters just as much, if not more, as the substance of your offer.
Even the greatest opportunity of all time can get ignored if presented at the wrong time, or the wrong way — e.g. don’t bring your grandma’s apple pie to someone 3 days deep into a green smoothie cleanse!
To that end, these 3 principles will help make your elevator pitch both welcome and persuasive…
Principle #1. Permission > interruption. Can we all agree there’s nothing worse than people pitching you on their “stuff” completely unsolicited, while you’re peacefully existing doing your own thing?
Don’t be that guy / gal / person.
Instead, take a page out of Seth Godin’s playbook (this one, “Permission Marketing“) and only pitch if the other person shows interest.
“But Summer, how will I know if they’re interested?”
Great question! It will vary. Maybe the other person will ask, “What do you do?” — and you will dazzle them with your pitch. Or maybe YOU will ask them what THEY do, and then they will return the favor. Or perhaps you’ll ask a smart, strategic question to pique their interest (more on that later).
Bottom line is, always start by getting permission.
Principle #2. Don’t sell — intrigue. Your goal shouldn’t be to get the proverbial goods right then and there. Remember: it’s just a 30-second pitch.
Chances are, it’s not enough to seal the deal by itself. And that’s OK.
Because your real goal is to spark enough interest, enough curiosity, enough desire to create a connection… and an opportunity for a longer, “warmer” pitch later.
(To stick with my rom com analogy from earlier, don’t worry about getting married before you’ve even had your first date!)
You want to leave your prospect, your investor, or your networking connection wanting more. You want your elevator pitch to get in their head so bad that they leap at the opportunity to talk to you again, so they can learn more about your company or your offer.
To that end, we’re going to keep all our pitch templates low on pressure and stakes… but HIGH on curiosity and emotion.
Principle #3. Treat it like a conversation (because it is one). The best pitches are not the ones where you rattle off prepared talking points for 30-60 seconds and hold for applause at the end.
The best pitches always leave room for the other person’s input and reactions, and they flow like a real two-way conversation… because that’s what they usually are. Even when written down, great pitches and great copy read like one side of a real conversation written down (the other side is happening in the reader’s head.)
Make your pitch dynamic and conversational, and it will instantly become more compelling and persuasive.
…Oookay, time to get stuck into the good stuff, AKA the pitch scenarios and templates!
Scenario #1. Knocking a prospect’s socks into orbit
The Strategy: you always have a limited time to capture someone’s interest with your pitch… but it’s 10X more important when dealing with a sales opportunity.
Prospects have near-zero tolerance for pitches that don’t immediately establish what makes your offer relevant and valuable FOR THEM.
Forget 30 seconds: you want to vice-grip and hold their attention in 5!
That’s why we’re solving this by leading with a capital-P problem your customer is struggling with. This will help us earn their attention — and also position your product or service as THE solution.
(We are also countering an early objection, as you’ll see in the template, “stacking the deck” to help the offer look even more unique and irresistible.)
Here’s how I’m going to structure these templates… The parts in italics like so are the script you can repeat as is; the parts [in square brackets like this] are instructions that you’ll have to fill in in your own words; and the parts “in quotes, in italics, and in red like so” are example sentences you can use for reference or inspiration.
Sound good? Then let’s get cracking! Enter Pitch #1:
Let me ask you this:
[Ask a question that speaks directly to the prospect’s pain point, for example…]
- “How much did you pay for your glasses, if you’re OK sharing that?”
- “What’s your close rate right now? Out of, say, 10 leads, how many end up buying?”
- “If you absolutely had to write a book in one month, how would you do it?”
[Listen to their answer and empathize.]
- “$300? Oof, I feel you — that is outrageous.”
- “That must feel really great to close 50% of leads. You’re crushing it!” / “1 in 5 is above industry average — nice! I bet you’d love to grow that number even more, though.”
- “No kidding, it’s hard! I wouldn’t wish writer’s block on my worst enemy.”
What if I told you… / How would you like it if… [present them with an alternate scenario they wish were true]
- “…you could snag a pair of prescription glasses for just $50, in any style you want?”
- “…you could start closing 70% of your leads by next quarter?”
- “…you could finish your manuscript in the next 30 days?”
And also: [head off a potential objection]
- “…they’d ship right to your doorstep, AND you’d be able to try on a few models and choose the one you like best.”
- “…you wouldn’t need to hire any new sales reps, or retrain your team.”
- “…you could make it happen without going off-grid to write in peace, pulling all-nighters, or neglecting your kids.”
[Introduce your solution as follows…]
That’s exactly how [Product / Service Name] can help. It’s a new [4-5 word description] that helps [target audience] [problem they want to solve / goal they want to achieve].
- “We’re a new prescription eyewear provider helping glasses wearers get top-quality, stylish glasses without breaking the bank.”
- “It’s a new done-for-you referral marketing solution that helps financial advisors close more clients without chasing leads who won’t buy.”
- “It’s a new dedicated writing gadget that helps established and new authors achieve flow state and create inspired prose with zero distractions.”
Here’s how it works: [summarize how your solution works in 1-2 sentences]
- “You can pick out up to 5 frames you want to try on our website, fill in your address, and we ship ‘em right to you. Return shipping is completely free, and you only pay when and if you choose the frame you like.”
- “My team will work with your sales & marketing people to implement simple referral processes into your existing funnel, generating at least 2 referrals per new customer.”
- “Our device handles and works like a futuristic typewriter with all the functions of your fave word processor… but no online features or extraneous “fluff” that could distract you from doing your best work.”
That way, you can… [restate the core benefit of using your product or service]
- “…rock a pair of prescription glasses that bring out your best features, help your vision, and cost a fraction of what you’d pay at a store.”
- “…have high-value, high-probability prospects come to you ready to buy, essentially doubling your business without any extra work.”
- “…spend more of your ‘writing time’ actually writing, produce higher-quality work, and finish your manuscript on deadline.”
[End with an extremely low-pressure, open-ended call to action or question.]
Is this something you’d be interested in? Happy to discuss details if you want to learn more. Do you?
Scenario #2. Making investor jaws drop all the way down
The Strategy: to construct an investor-focused Elevator Pitch, ask yourself… what is it that investors look for?
The answer is, opportunities. People who invest in companies are constantly taking swings and making calculated bets about whether or not a business venture is worth their capital. So to even be considered by a potential investor, you want to present them with something that’s too promising to miss.
That’s why this pitch template relies on two key elements:
- The “problem + opportunity” dynamic duo, where you start with a problem your company / offer solves at the macro level of your market / industry — and then pivot into the big-picture opportunity for your investor…
- The USP behind your business, product, or service. What makes you uniquely different from every single one of your competitors that could be the foundation of growth and success?
With all that in mind, your pitch can look something like this…
Let me tell you something pretty wild: [share a shocking stat or a surprising fact]
- “Did you know that 1 in 10 Americans who need glasses can’t afford them?”
- “91% of customers say that they happily give referrals… but only 11% of sales people ask for them!”
- “The average author spends less than 30% of their dedicated ‘writing time’ actually writing. Even the ones with manuscript deadlines to worry about!”
Here’s why this matters: [pivot from the problem into an opportunity]
- “With the market dominated by expensive providers charging up to $1,000 for a pair of glasses, there are millions of people happy to pay for affordable eyewear who are not being served.”
- “Helping business owners leverage the power of referrals can unlock exponential growth, and become a premium service entrepreneurs happily pay 5-figure fees for.”
- “There are countless writing productivity solutions on the market, but almost none of them address the root cause: distractions.”
This is where [Company Name / Offer Name] come in. I created it to help [target audience] overcome [problem] and [achieve result].
- “I created it to help glasses wearers overcome the inflated prices and own stylish, high-quality glasses that cost 2-3X less than the competition.”
- “I created it to help business owners overcome their marketing challenges and tap into the simplest, most underrated engine of exponential growth.”
- “I created it to help writers overcome creative block, kick distractions to the curb, and produce visionary art with predictable consistency.”
Thanks to [describe the unique mechanism behind your solution], we have carved out a unique niche in the [market / industry].
- “Thanks to our online-only sales model and our risk-free “try it at home” value proposition…”
- “Thanks to our done-for-you process that implements referral marketing systems into the client’s existing funnel…”
- “Thanks to our beautiful, portable, and functional writing gadget that works like a ‘sci fi typewriter’…”
Since our founding, we’ve [share a significant result or milestone]. And with a total addressable market of [share estimate], there’s plenty more room to grow.
- “Since our founding, we’ve achieved a net profit margin of 20% and sold over 2,000,000 pairs of glasses around the world.”
- “Since our founding, we’ve helped our clients attract a total of 24,628 referrals — and counting — for an average annual revenue lift of 250%.”
- “Since our founding, our device has been adopted by 11 NYT bestselling authors, and our customers have written over 2 billion words with our help.”
Our next biggest goal is to… [share a big-picture business goal investors can get excited about]
- “…hit 100,000,000 total sales by 2025.”
- “…productize our referral marketing service and launch a digital course by next year.”
- “…grow beyond North America and ship our first 10,000 international orders.”
[Close with a low-pressure call to action to learn more.]
If you think we might be a fit for your portfolio, I’d be happy to talk more. If you’re interested, let’s get a meeting on the books for next week.
Scenario #3. Charming new connections like a pro
The Strategy: networking might just be the single greatest way to find opportunities for strategic partnerships and joint ventures. But only if approached with grace and tact.
My approach to networking boils down to this — which may be the greatest, simplest, clearest quote I’ve ever heard on the topic, by the way…
(Original quote by: Charlie Hoehn. I literally read this 9 years ago and I still think about it sometimes.)
So that’s what you’re going to do with your Elevator Pitch — you’re going to make friends, and you’re going to help people! And you’ll do that by trying and finding common ground with your connection, and figuring out some way you could help them in the future.
In other words, you will:
- Identify the “gap.” Reveal something they or their audience needs… but would struggle to achieve without external help.
- Extend a low-pressure standing invitation to help them when they’re ready, and “bridge” that gap with your expertise.
And that’s it! Now, let’s see what this might look like in an Elevator Pitch template…
I’ll be honest with you, the exact content of this pitch can vary wildly based on what you sell, who your new connection is, what they do for a living, and what you are prepared to do as part of a joint venture / business partnership.
So in lieu of making a super-detailed template with a few examples, I’ll just give you the step-by-step structure. Sound good?
Awesome. Then let’s go — here’s Pitch #3.
[First, ask your new connection about themselves.]
“So, what industry are you in?”
[Next, home in on what they or their audience might be struggling with… that’s also your area of expertise.]
“Nice. Can I ask you something, just because this is my bread and butter? What’s the #1 thing you want to learn about [your area of expertise, e.g. referral marketing]?” / “What’s the #1 challenge your audience is having with [your area of expertise, e.g. productivity]?”
[Listen to their answer and come up with a compelling promise based on it.]
“OK, I totally empathize with that. Tell you what: I can actually help you / your audience [achieve result, e.g. generate 1-2 referrals per existing customer]. Would you be interested in that?”
[Extend a simple invitation to help them or their audience.]
“I’m happy to do a free guest workshop for your email subscribers sometime this quarter.” / “I’m happy to hop on a call with you and strategize together, at no charge.”
“Would you be interested in that?”
[If the answer is yes, end with a simple and low-pressure call to action.]
“Awesome! What’s your email address, so I can follow up with you this week and figure out the details?”
Let us make you an evergreen Elevator Pitch that promotes your business for you
An Elevator Pitch doesn’t have to be something you physically speak in front of a prospect, investor, or new business buddy.
It can be a totally hands-off powerhouse marketing asset that you produce once, but reap the benefits of again and again, 24/7/365 — for as long as you keep putting it in front of new people.
An Elevator Pitch asset is designed to cut through all the distractions and grab your prospects’ attention as fast as possible. It’s a single, memorable statement about your business that you can deliver in 30 seconds or less. And it has ONE job — getting potential customers excited enough and curious enough to say the 3 all-important words…
“Tell me more!”
I know what you’re thinking, “There’s no way I can hook people on my business in 30 seconds unless I talk to them face to face!” I disagree. My team has already helped dozens of businesses formulate an irresistible Elevator Pitch — and we want to create one for you, too.
All you need is to hop on a 30-minute consultation with one of our messaging experts here at The Draw Shop. They will help you define the problem you solve, how you solve it, and the life-changing results your customers will see from working with you.
Then we’ll transform your input into a unique Elevator Pitch for your brand — a powerful 30-second statement scientifically designed to stand out, delight, persuade… and convert.
And we’ll top it off with a one-page, one-of-a-king infographic that makes your pitch into an engaging visual story! That’s going to be a valuable marketing asset in its own right — you can use it to…
- Share it with your team
- Feature it on your website
- Use it in your email signature
- Put it on the back of your business card
- Spread it on social media