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The Power of the Elevator Pitch

marketingWhat do you do?

It’s a simple but loaded question that every entrepreneur needs to nail. Your answer needs to concise, convincing and intriguing, and the audience has to easily grasp it. In other words, it’s not an easy task.

But having a tight and powerful elevator pitch is ultra-important because it’s the marketing vehicle that sparks conversations, generates questions and gets your foot in the door either directly or indirectly. The ability to be clear about what you or your products do and the benefits they deliver can be difference between leads/sales and an empty pipeline, or attracting investors or going home empty.

So what are the keys to an effective elevator pitch?

There’s no secret sauce but here are three most important ingredients:

1. Clearly articulate what you or your product does. Make it simple to quick grasp, so stay away from acronyms, buzzwords and big words. It’s a door-opening statement, not a vehicle to show how market you are or how well you know industry lingo.

2. Explain the benefits it delivers. How does it make a customer’s life better, easier, more productive or profitable? How would it make them look like a star to friends, colleagues or their boss?

3. Describe the target audiences and why they need it. Flip the lens to answer the question “What’s it for me” that potential customers will ask. In other words, what do they get from using your product, as opposed to what you want to tell them about it.

There’s not much to it from the outside looking in, but being able to capture all three elements is a challenge that takes time and many iterations. But there are huge benefits to having a strong and interesting elevator pitch.

A key benefit that doesn’t get as much attention as it should is how a clear elevator pitch can resonate well beyond the person who you tell it to.

In many cases, this person is not a potential customer but there’s a good likelihood that someone within their network may need your product. If someone gets your elevator pitch, it’s a lot easier for them to spread the word to the right person at the right time.

From personal experience, this is how many leads and sales materialize. By telling your elevator pitch to enough people, you can create a large army of evangelists or marketers who start selling for you. When inbound leads from people you don’t know flow into your inbox, it’s a sign that your “sales team” is doing their jobs.

So here’s what you need to do: Go out and test your elevator pitch. In fact, play with different versions of your elevator pitch to see what resonates the best. You want to see if people quickly understand what you do, the benefits and who should be interested.

If you need to explain your elevator pitch because someone doesn’t quite get it, then you have work to do. If, on the other hand, someone gets your elevator pitch, and it sparks questions and requests for more information, you’re definitely on to something.

Any thoughts on what makes for an effective elevator pitch? What tricks have found that work for you?

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