The average elevator ride is 30 seconds. Even in the Empire State Building it is possible to ride from the lobby to the 80th floor in 45 seconds. That's plenty of time to send a quick message on your iPhone or finish half of the overpriced, large nonfat, no whip, caramel latte. But is it enough time to deliver a strong, concise brand pitch to a potential business partner? It should be. Whether you're trying to promote your brand, interest a customer in your services, or grab the attention of a reporter, having a strong elevator pitch is critical to a company's success. Like its name implies, an elevator pitch can be delivered in the time it takes to share an elevator ride with a prospect. For this reason it's important to not think of your pitch as a traditional speech resulting in a signed contract and round of applause. Instead, it serves as an engaging jumpstart for an ongoing dialogue of indefinite length. Then, the quality of your compelling content can close the deal for you.
Below are five tips for creating an effective elevator hook:
Include the three pitch essentials:
It must contain the benefit that is most important to your audience, be specifically tailored to meet the needs and solve the pain points for your audience, and contain emotional appeal, since emotion is often remembered even when intellectual information and facts have been forgotten.
Determine your unique selling proposition:
Competition is inevitable for every company. Separating your brand from the pack is what creates the bulk of the hook. "I own a marketing company" doesn't hold a candle to "I own a marketing company that has more than 20 years of proven success in positioning homebuilding and remodeling products as industry leaders." Don't be afraid to let them know how and why you are different, and why your unique capabilities will turn into an opportunity for them.
Avoid the Walt Whitman approach to writing and keep it simple. Time is precious, both yours and your audience's, so respect that and only hit the highlights.
Keep it fresh:
Even after the perfect pitch is developed, your job is not over. Savvy businesses grow and change, and your pitch must follow suit. As your audience's needs and expectations change, make sure you change the way you speak about your business. The language of your pitch, your approach, and what you choose to highlight for a particular audience must change over time.
Practice makes perfect:
The perfect concise, emotional, unique, and simple pitch is created. Congratulations! Now it's time to practice it. Distribute the pitch to your entire team. It's a great brand refresher for everyone. Since each pitch should be unique, memorizing the pitch is often not the best approach, but knowing the key messages inside and out ensures brand consistency and effectiveness.
This form of pitch is an ace in your pocket, and one of the most versatile messaging tools a company can have. Next time you find yourself in an elevator with a prospective client, instead of passing the time idling, you will be ready.
+ + + + +
About the Author: Steve Kleber is founder of Kleber & Associates