An elevator pitch is a 30- to 60-second description of your business – the points you’d make if you were lucky enough to take an elevator ride with an ideal prospect. It’s short and sweet, it’s professional, and it can boost conversion ratios if that elevator pitch is constructed properly.

An elevator pitch should be carefully prepared and rehearsed. You may not deliver it in an elevator. You may pitch a prospect at a conference, a business meeting, a trade show, or even at a social gathering. You never know when you’ll have the opportunity to explain the benefits your company delivers, so work on your company’s elevator pitch before you actually need it.

The elements of a good elevator pitch include a number of important pieces, and a rigid structure. Why? It’s short messaging – delivered quickly – so include what should be there and exclude what isn’t necessary.

  • An elevator pitch must be short. People don’t want the whole story. Just what’s important to them. And they want it quickly.
  • A good elevator pitch is highly targeted at the needs of the listener. Describe the benefits your company delivers. Benefits sell.
  • An effective pitch avoids insider jargon and broad generalities. Skip buzzwords like “state of the art” and get specific in 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Your elevator pitch should create visual images that stick in the mind of the listener. One way to do this is to tell a brief story about your company’s products or services.
  • Avoid anything negative. If you disparage the competition, you may be disparaging a friend of the listener.
  • Finally, provide the listener with your business card, and if you have a company brochure, hand it out. The entire message may not sink in right away, but your elevator pitch may spark something in the mind of the listener – a spark that leads to business engagement.

Sell your business. It’s fine to toot your own horn in an elevator pitch. That’s part of what the pitch is all about. “Our company has been the leading marketing company in the widget sector for 10 straight years” builds trust, and it isn’t bragging if it’s true, so add a little sizzle to keep attention focused on your elevator pitch.

Ask a question in your pitch. Asking a question elicits a response that engages the listener quickly. “Sure, I’ve purchased lots of copiers for our company” opens the door for you to tout your copier leasing company, and all the benefits you deliver beside hardware.

Write out your elevator pitch and rehearse it. Know the key points by heart and be prepared to make your pitch anywhere.

Be prepared for a question or two. You have to know the company and industry behind the elevator pitch to effectively answer any questions a listener might ask once your pitch is over. “I’ll have to get back to you on that” doesn’t have the impact of a knowledgeable, clear, concise answer to the listener’s question.

Don’t wing it. Don’t improvise an elevator speech. Prepare for it so it does what it’s supposed to do – intrigue the listener enough to give you a call, or better yet, set up an appointment to learn more.

Now that’s an elevator speech that’s likely to get your business to the top floor – in 60 seconds or less.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank. Nevada State Bank is a division of Zions Bancorporation, N.A. Member FDIC