Tips on how to deliver a perfect elevator pitch


The recent incident where a popular local actor bumped into the President and urged him to watch the telenovela he features in sent tongues wagging across the various social media platforms. Some commended the actor for promoting his work in just under one minute, and others felt he could have done more with that brief encounter with the president. The short speech this local actor gave the president was his elevator pitch. Sales 101 teaches that everyone needs to have a ready and perfect elevator pitch at all times. Chances of meeting prospects at the gym, between meetings, at networking events, and in this case, taking a walk are high. Maximizing on such encounters may just elevate your brand to the next level. An elevator pitch is a must-have, especially where one is looking for a job or looking to position their brand for future opportunities.

An elevator pitch is a short persuasive speech about yourself, your brand, and your offer. It aims to spark an interest in your project, brand, idea, or product. Ideally, an elevator pitch should be 30-40 seconds. It should not last longer than the elevator ride hence the name elevator pitch. While preparing  your elevator pitch, you first need to;

  1. Consider the objective. Do you want to get a job, broaden your network, get project funding, etc.?. these different objectives require different scripts.
  2. Fully understand the product, service, or idea that you are selling.
  3. Know your target market/ audience or fully understand the problem you will solve with your idea, product, or service.
  4. Have a unique selling proposition that differentiates you from others in similar field

With the three ready, how now do you deliver your winning pitch?

  1. Be prepared

It is the only sure way to ensure that you are confident and comfortable about presenting your pitch. Prepare the content particular beforehand. Avoid jargon and fad words and aim to be as simple and clear as possible. Practice before friends, family, and in front of the mirror. Ensure the pitch sounds as natural as possible to avoid sounding robotic. Time yourself to stick to the 30 seconds limit.

How you capture the prospect’s attention should be taken into consideration. Work towards having a great conversation starter to fuel the interaction. This can be done by; referencing the latest released industry report, talking about your academic credentials, publication, or a chat about your current engagement you are involved in. A great conversation will make your interaction memorable.

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2. Know when to stop and listen

While presenting the elevator pitch, know when to pause and listen. Give room to the prospect to present his/her view and feedback. Avoid making the pitch all about you and what you are selling. Purpose to build a genuine relationship. This is made possible by active listening. Listening is a critical skill while delivering ar pitch. It helps one decode the prospect’s verbal and non-verbal messages. Cues such as facial expressions and physical posture can be deduced when the prospect is talking.

Active listening also helps build trust as it shows you care enough to listen. It helps broaden your perspective, especially where feedback regarding the pitch particulars is given, and helps showcase the approachable character in you by portraying patience as a strength. 

3. Consider non-verbal communication

Nonverbal communication is significant in every in-person contact. How you stand, hand gestures, and facial expressions help convey the real impact of your message. In a way, it establishes an interpersonal connection with the prospect. For example, good eye contact will keep the prospect engaged and at the same time make you believable, which is what you need to sell your brand effectively. In most cases, the prospect will mimic your non-verbal cues; if there is no smiling and lacks enthusiasm during your pitch, the prospect will respond similarly.

4. Have proof

Whether it is an idea, product, or service, your brand will be more trustworthy if a proof is presented. It increases the chances of the prospect or audience buying what you are offering to them. Proof can be in the form of testimonials and numbers. It shows the prospect the benefits they stand to gain by partnering with your brand and creating trust. For example, while pitching for a job, ensure you highlight your past achievement or an instance where you reached or exceeded the set target.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.- Senaca

5. Have a clear call to action

What do you want to achieve at the end of the pitch? Let it be clear. Always remember that an elevator pitch is the beginning of a formal relationship. Guide the prospect as to what the next steps will be. For example, if pitching for a novel tech idea funding, you can tell the prospect you will stop by his office the coming week to showcase a live demo. Go ahead and secure the exact date for the demo based on the prospect’s availability. Do not leave the pitch hanging on what the next steps should be. Always end it with how the discussion will continue past the ‘elevator.’

6. Nail it with confidence

When you only have thirty seconds to present your big idea, passion project, goods, or service, your nerves might just get the better of you. Yes, it is an overwhelming task, and yes, you are up to the task. Your skills and character traits are unique, making you the right person to deliver the elevator pitch. Your hard work will be evident when you clinch that contract or close the sale resulting from the elevator pitch. Finetune your pitch and believe in yourself.

Below is a sample elevator pitch to get the hang of it:

Hello, my name is John Doe, a market expert, and writer. I wrote a children’s 
Mtoto soma, which emerged as the bestseller in Kenya in 2010. Currently, 
I write for Kitabu and Maktaba magazine. I would like an opportunity to put my
expertise in your Soko Huru magazine, where I will analyze local and international
marketing trends. Would you mind giving me your email address to send you a 
sample article next week to get a feel of my writing style?

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