What Is An Elevator Pitch? (And How To Win Everybody Over With One)

When running a small business, networking becomes a skill that you need to get used to. It’s a tool to get new contacts, clients, partnerships, funding, and exposure in all different places. 

Used right, it opens many doors for your business. One of the biggest and fundamental weapons of networking is getting your elevator pitch right. 

Not sure what one is or where to start? Don’t worry. This guide will explain what an elevator pitch is and how you can win everybody over with your own. 

Ready to get started? 

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch is a 30-second persuasive speech that introduces yourself, your product or company. 

It’s named that way because it should be a speech that you can complete in an elevator ride with someone you’ve just met. It’s a short, persuasive networking tool that allows you to be prepared for unexpected encounters and take advantage of opportunities to meet new people, whether you find them in an elevator or not. 

So, if someone asks you what you do, you’ve got the perfect answer that makes them want to know more. 

The goal here isn’t to get an immediate sale or job offer. It’s about making you or your offer sound interesting enough they want a second conversation. 

When should you use an elevator pitch? 

Now that you know what an elevator pitch is, it’s time to learn that they have a variety of uses and can be tailored to suit a matter of situations, including: 

  • Networking
  • Job interviews
  • Securing funding
  • Finding stakeholders
  • And much more

Basically, whenever you’ve got a chance to introduce yourself to someone new that might be beneficial to your company, it’s time to roll out the pitch. It’s through successful pitches like this that you hear success stories, such as this teenager who managed to secure £50,000 in funding to create glasses from recycled fishing nets. 

Just make sure it’s relevant to the business world. I don’t think you need to deliver the speech to your barista or Deliveroo driver as he drops off some lunch. 

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What makes a good elevator pitch?

Essentially, a good elevator pitch is one that grabs attention.

A good elevator pitch is one that grabs attention. It’s something that makes people generally interested in what you’re saying and piques their curiosity enough to continue the conversation. 

Sometimes the best way of seeing what makes a good elevator pitch is to know what makes a bad one. Take a look at these two examples. 

“I’m a business owner. With over 30 years of experience in my company, I’m able to deliver my clients excellent results.” 

Yawn. There’s nothing about this pitch that explains why the other person should care. It’s also vague, doesn’t even tell us about their company, industry and has nothing that makes us want to ask more. 

Deliver a speech like that, and you’ll get nothing more than a polite smile and a quick exit.

“I’m the founder of Nick’s Brews, the only family-fun brewery that’s been home-brewing award-winning beer in the country for over 30 years. After having our most successful year ever, we’re currently expanding our offering to locally made and sourced gin and liqueurs”. 

That’s much better. This time, we actually know what industry they work in, what they do and where our potential involvement might come in with the new range of gins on offer. This pitch also demonstrates expertise without having to bore the other person to death with how many years of experience you’ve had in X position. 

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How to write an elevator pitch 

Now you know exactly what an elevator pitch is, it’s time to turn your hand into making your own. 

But don’t worry, we’re going to guide you through this process step-by-step. 

1. Who are you?

First up, you need to tell others who you are. 

This only needs to be a quick line introduction, explaining who you are and what your role is. Remember, elevator pitches are only about 30 seconds long, so no one needs to know your life story or a list of all your achievements. 

But, they do need to know who you are. So, write your one-line description. For example:

  • “I’m the founder of Nick’s Brews”;
  • “I’m a sales rep at Peptide Pops”;
  • “I’m the best-used car dealer in town”.

That’s all that needs to be said. It’s also handy to always have a business card with you, so after your pitch you can give them a card to remember your name and details. 

2. What does your company do?

In a good elevator pitch, you should give a clear image of what does your company do.

Okay now we know who you are, let’s get down to business and describe your company. Tell them what your company does and what it offers people. If you’re trying to sell a new product or service, tell them about it. 

You need to lay out exactly what you have on offer in just a few words. It can be a difficult task, but it’s not impossible. It’s all about boiling your offer down into one, solid mission statement that portrays your key benefits. 

  • “Our software helps business managers save 2 hours a day on reporting”; 
  • “We provide the fastest internet connections in the UK, no matter how remote your office is”;
  • “We deliver delicious home-made brownies straight to your door”.

Not got a mission statement yet? Find out what they are and how to summarise the key concepts of your business by writing a killer business plan. 

When writing this line, think about what would happen if the elevator doors opened at this moment. If you didn’t get time to finish your pitch, would they know who your company is and what you do? If yes, you are getting very close to knowing exactly what an elevator pitch is!

3. Deliver results and what makes you unique

Okay, now you’ve explained who you are and what you do. Now it’s time for the kicker. What makes you unique? What have you delivered that’s different from everyone else?

The key to getting this one right is to be specific. If you’ve got stats and numbers, use them. If you’re responsible for a 20% increase in sales, wear it like a badge. But remember, you don’t have all day to talk about your achievements, so boil them down and pick the one that packs the biggest punch. 

  • “In 6 months, I increased sales by 40%”
  • “I saved my businesses enough time to take on 4 new clients a month”
  • “I cut delivery costs down by 70%, doubling our profit margins”

For this, think of the PAR formula

  • P = problem
  • A = action
  • R = result 
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4. Create a call to action 

A big part of what is an elevator pitch has to be the call to action!

A call to action is where you tell someone the action you want them to take. For example, imagine you need a new phone, and you’re not sure which one to get. So, after some research, you end up on a webpage showing you all the new features of the latest Samsung phone. Underneath all of this, you’ll be faced with a big button to ‘Buy Now’. 

That button is a call to action. The point of that page is to get you to buy the phone, so they’ll do all they can to point you in that direction. 

Your elevator pitch should have a goal in mind. Whether you’re looking for partners, investors, clients or job offers, there’s a goal you want to achieve. 

Your call to action should help you achieve that goal. Now, you can’t simply go straight to “want to buy” during an elevator pitch. But you can initiate plans to talk again or book in a meeting. 

  • “If you know someone who might want to order a batch, send them my details”;
  • “If you want to hear more about this, why don’t we schedule a call?”;
  • “Tell me, what are you looking for in a sales rep?”.

5. Read and edit

Reading your elevator pitch out loud will allow you to assess whether it sounds natural or like a robot!

Once you’ve got your rough draft down, it’s time to read it out loud and get those finer details nailed. 

It’s important to read it out loud to see if it sounds natural – and get yourself used to saying it. At this point, you may also want to practice with people you know to get feedback and their thoughts on your pitch. 

Once you’re happy with it, it’s time to practice, practice, practice. The more you say it, the more natural it will become to you. 

Elevator pitch examples for every situation 

We’ve gone through how to make a great elevator pitch and the top tips for success. To make sure that you’ve got it nailed, we’ll also finish off with some examples of how you can tweak your pitch based on different audiences and situations, so you’ve always got a pitch that’s ready to go. 

Let’s get started with these 4 pitches that small business owners are likely to need.  

1. Startup elevator pitch 

The startup elevator pitch is used to approach potential business partners and investors with your new business idea and gain support. 

The pitch
Hi! I’m Chloe, CEO of StyleCycle – the clothing rental service that uses AI for stylish fits. Introduction to yourself and the startup, with a short one-liner that gets straight to the point. 
We were tired of having overflowing closets filled with clothes that no longer fit or looked good – and hated the idea of it all ending up in landfills. That’s why we created StyleCycle, a way to rent personalized outfits from eco-conscious brands, saving money and the planet. Unlike any other company, we use AI to create personalised style recommendations, so our clients always look their best. Show the company vision, the problem they are solving and what makes them unique. 
We’re currently seeking investment to launch our AI platform and expand our clothing selection. Are you interested in disrupting fast fashion and joining the sustainable fashion revolution?Call to action designed for investors and to get them excited about being the first into a new and exciting startup. 

For this pitch, you want to rely more heavily on your company’s vision and the problems you seek to solve rather than experience or case studies, as they’re not quite there yet.

3. Sales elevator pitch 

The sales elevator pitch is one that you will use often. It’s the one that you deliver to potential clients and customers and should focus on their biggest pain points to make them want your solution. 

Using the same business as above, let’s see how the pitch changes when talking to a customer instead of an investor. 

The pitch
Hey! Chloe here from StyleCycle. Are you tired of wasting money on clothes you only wear once? StyleCycle offers a sustainable clothing rental service with a secret weapon: AI-powered stylists.Introduction to yourself and the company, framing it around a common customer problem. 
We use your preferences and upcoming events to curate perfect outfits from eco-conscious brands. Think Rent the Runway, but with a personalized stylist in your pocket and a focus on sustainability.Increase recognition of the company’s work by comparing it to a competitor that they may have heard of but showing what makes it unique. 
Subscribers save money on clothes they don’t need to buy, reduce clothing waste, and look amazing – all with the click of a button. We’re revolutionizing closets, one outfit at a time. Add in benefits and reasons for someone to become a customer. 
Are you ready to ditch fast fashion and embrace sustainable style? Let’s talk about your look! Personalised call to action. 

As you can see, a sales pitch is less focused on the vision and potential power of the company – but more tailored to the immediate benefits of the customers and what they would get by signing up. 

3. Networking elevator pitch 

Networking elevators are designed to explain your company and mission without overtly selling your services. It’s there to get you connected with others. This might bring out powerful partnerships down the line, but your goal right now is to form connections – not put people off by coming on too strong. 

The pitch
It’s nice to meet you, [Name]! I’m Chloe from StyleCycle, a sustainable clothing rental company powered by AI. Focus on meeting the other person, while introducing yourself and your company. 
We rent out clothes from eco-friendly brands and use AI to create personalized outfit recommendations. It’s perfect for anyone who wants to look great for events without the commitment of buying new clothes or the environmental impact of fast fashion.A longer description of what the company does and who your target audience is, without suggesting that you’re selling to them. 
I’d love to chat more and see if you know anyone who might be interested – fashionistas, sustainability advocates, busy professionals – anyone who wants a stylish and eco-friendly wardrobe refresh!Call to action designed around talking more, while highlighting what topics you’re interested in talking about. 

The point of this pitch is to be memorable and highlight which parts of the industry or business you would be open to discussing more – not to come on too strongly. It’s an open invitation to connect – not a chance to sell. 

4. Product launch pitch 

This pitch is for when you are ready to launch a product or expand your services and offerings. 

The pitch
It’s time to ditch the guilt and embrace guilt-free style! I’m Chloe from StyleCycle, the sustainable clothing rental service with your own AI stylist.Make it immediately clear in the introduction that you’re launching something new. 
No more overflowing closets or fast fashion waste. StyleCycle curates stunning outfits from eco-conscious brands based on your style and upcoming events. It’s like having a personal stylist and a sustainable wardrobe – all in one app!Focus on the product launch and features rather than the overall company vision to make the launch seem more exciting and groundbreaking. 
We’re launching today with exclusive discounts and a killer selection of designer rentals. Look amazing, save money, and save the planet – all with StyleCycle. Download the app now and join the sustainable fashion revolution!Call to action with information on the timeframe for the product launch. 

The point of this pitch is to focus on the new and exciting release – and let it speak for your company. 

Top tips for writing an elevator pitch

Want a few more tips to create a perfect elevator pitch? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. 

Always know your audience 

What works for one person won’t work for everyone and that is one key take away of what is an elevator pitch. Before you jump in, it’s sometimes good to get people talking first, so you can learn more about them. Once you’ve got a better idea of who they are and what they’re interested in, you can tailor your pitch to suit them. 

For example, say you’ve just met Susan. Susan tells you she’s the head of sales at a company that fits your target audience perfectly. Now you know this information, you can give her the elevator pitch that you use to get new clients. 

It’s also worth putting a few different elevator pitches together, depending on where you can use them. So, no matter what situation you’re in, you pull out the perfect pitch to impress anybody. 

Keep it short and sweet 

Elevator pitches are named that way for a reason. As we mentioned when describing what an elevator pitch is, they were named that for being short, persuasive pitches that you could say to someone even in a short elevator ride together.

Short is the key here. 

When making your elevator pitch, don’t try to include everything about your business. You may love talking about it, and I’m sure there are tons of benefits that you can mention. But now is not the time for it. 

Don’t ramble or go off-pitch. Keep it short and sweet and stick to the plan. 

Lead with a hook

Starting your elevator pitch with a hook is a great way of grabbing attention. Make it interesting and fun and everyone will want to listen to it!

A hook is an enticing statement that grabs attention. It’s called that way because it’s something that ‘hooks’ your audience into your story and makes them want to find out more. 

Instead of going straight for the introduction, try including a hook to capture attention first, to give your pitch an extra wow factor. 

“Did you know that the average salesperson wastes 2 hours a day on admin tasks? I’m David Lemon and I designed the software that solves this problem…”

Questions work well as hooks because as soon as you ask them, the other person is invested in finding the answer. Once you’ve got their attention, everything you say will have a much greater impact. 

Avoid controversy 

Getting attention and delivering a memorable pitch is what you should be aiming for to deliver a great elevator pitch. But, you want to make sure that you will be remembered for the right reasons. 

Although using a controversial hook or topic might get your attention, it’s not worth the risk. If you need any more evidence of that, just read our guide on why you should avoid mixing politics and business.  

What is an elevator pitch? The key points

An elevator pitch is a short, 30-second pitch where you introduce yourself and sell your company, product or offer. They can be made and used for a wide range of purposes. 

Great elevator pitches are designed to make people interested enough in what you have to say, encouraging them to talk back or book in a second conversation with you. Using them wisely, they are the biggest networking tool that can open the right doors for your business. 

Using the tips from this guide, you will know exactly what an elevator pitch is and how you can create one to win everybody over. 
Need more advice or inspiration? Take a look at some more of our top tips and guides to help your business succeed.

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Business4Beginners has been advising new businesses owners since 2013. The founder, Paul Bryant, has created, grown and sold several successful businesses and remains the editor and fact-checker of all content published on the site.
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