How to Write a Stellar 30-Second Elevator Pitch
When we were young, we were taught various manners and things we should and should not say. We were taught to say, “Please” whenever we asked for something and we were taught to say, “Thank you” whenever we received something from someone. If we forgot to utter the appropriate words for the appropriate act, our parents would gently remind us by asking, “What do you say?” This question prompted us to say what we had been taught to say without taking a moment to think about it.
When we were young, saying the appropriate words at the appropriate time became a habit. This same kind of habit applies to what is called the 30-second elevator pitch.
The 30-second elevator pitch is called that because a typical elevator ride is approximately 30 seconds long. If you are to have any chance of grabbing someone’s attention during the ride with what you have to offer, you need to have a succinct pitch that is no longer than 30 seconds.
You never know who you might meet or where you might meet someone. In fact, your first encounter with someone influential to the success of your career could happen in an elevator. So just in case, you need to be prepared to state in a short amount of time what it is that you do.
Your 30-second pitch must have four short components:
- Introduction. Introduce yourself. Be succinct. Simply state your name.
- Function. Say what you do. But, say it in a memorable way. For example, if you are a salesperson and you sell vacuum cleaners, don’t just say you sell vacuum cleaners. Say something more clever and memorable like, “I sell a device that sucks! Then, don’t wait for the other person to catch their composure before you continue with, “Vacuum cleaners!” You do not need to be overly silly, just find a clever way to say what it is you do.
- Offer. State the brand name of the product you sell or state the specific type of service you offer. For example, if you sell the X29 Turbo brand vacuum cleaner, mention the brand name in your pitch. If you are a buyer for a specific department store, include the name of the store in your pitch.
- Call to action. Ask for a meeting or referral. If you sell products and you have samples to give out, offer the person you are talking to a sample (with your contact information attached). Or, offer to give them a brochure or your business card. If you have an easy-to-remember website address, you could simply say your website address a couple of times.
Here is an example elevator pitch, “Hello, my name is Sarah Smith. I match houses with buyers. I’m an agent at Excellent Realty. If you know someone interested in buying real estate, please have them call me. My website address is www(dot)HouseMeetsBuyer(dot)com! That's HouseMeetsBuyer(dot)com.”
Your elevator pitch should be something you can say any time someone asks who you are or what you do.
Practice makes perfect, so practice your elevator pitch a lot. Practice so that you can flawlessly move through your pitch according to whether a person asks “who you are” or “what you do.” The more you practice, the more comfortable you will become saying it, and the easier it will be to say it without thinking about it. Practice your pitch fast, slow and every pace in between.
You will not always be in an elevator when you deliver your elevator pitch. Remember, the elevator pitch is just the name of the type of pitch you are delivering.
Deliver your elevator pitch according to the situation you are in at the moment. You might encounter someone anywhere from a business conference to a baseball game. Wherever you are, there is an appropriate way to deliver your pitch. Also, whether you or the other person starts the conversation will determine how much and in what order you will deliver your pitch.
What to Say
If you are in a position to start the conversation, start your elevator pitch with an introduction. If someone else starts the conversation, and they merely ask what you do, then answer their question by telling them what you do. Do not start by telling them your name. They asked what you do, so answer their question. You will have an opportunity to tell them your name during the call to action (see #4 above) at the end of your pitch, while you are handing them your sample, or business card, or brochure.
How to Say it
Deliver your elevator pitch at the same pace as the person you are talking to. This is called mirroring. Mirroring is when you match the body language and speech tempo of the person you are speaking to. For example, if the person you are talking to speaks with a slow Southern accent, mirror them. But don’t mimic them: don’t start talking in a slow Southern drawl, because it would appear to them that you are mocking them. To mirror them, you simply need to match their pace. In other words, if they talk slowly to you, talk slowly back to them. It makes them feel more comfortable.
On the other hand, if you are talking to a fast-paced talker, by all means, say that pitch as fast as you can, because a fast-talking person is liable to lose interest in a slowly delivered pitch.
Now, What do you say?
Your 30-second elevator pitch should be succinct, memorable, and at the same time, informative. And, do not forget the call to action by asking for an appointment or referral.
So, the next time someone asks you, “What do you do for a living?” Quick! What do you say?
Here’s to your success!
Video: Tom Ferry Gives Insight to the 30-Second Pitch
Tom Ferry says, "If you're not unique, then you're weak!"
Tom Ferry is one of my favorite real estate coaches. In this video, he shares excellent strategies for for making your pitch stand out.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Marlene Bertrand