Master the perfect pitch and you’re ahead of the game

We’ve all been there. You’ve met a person at a private gathering or networking event and it gets to the “what do you do?” part of the conversation.

If you’re a small business owner, one of the best skills you can hone is the ability to tell your story quickly and with passion. Tell it well and they’ll be asking for more. Do a poor job and their eyes might glaze over.

Perfecting your elevator pitch not only makes networking a breeze – it could that could also lead to new customers, clients and advocates for your business.

Robert Gerrish, who founded the online business support network Flying Solo, says getting your elevator pitch to sing can make or break how a business is perceived.

Gerrish says business owners need to make sure they don’t focus too much on themselves, but convey how they can improve the life of people listening to their pitch.

“The ability to talk in an engaging way about what you do and who you do it for is vitally important if you are a small business,” he says.

He says the pitch needs to pique the interest of the audience – whether in a one-on-one conversation or in front of a room.

“You want people to be saying ‘how do you do that? Can you tell me more?’” he says.

Gerrish’s top tip: put yourself in the shoes of your customer.

“When crafting an elevator pitch, business owner’s often concentrate on writing about how brilliant they are, when all the audience cares about is how is it going to help me?” he says.

“People listening to your pitch want to know whether they are going to feel healthier, live longer, and lose weight, or whatever, by using your service or product.

“What is the pain you are going to solve?” he says.

 

Small business mentor Bruce Hall says it’s surprising how many people haven’t given their elevator pitch any thought.

“It can be very powerful tool,” he says.

Author and small business expert Valerie Khoo agrees the elevator pitch is vital.

The founder of the Australian Writers’ Centre and author of Power Stories, Khoo says people underestimate the importance of the elevator pitch.

“You only get one chance to make a first impression, whether you’re at a networking event, or if you have to get up and speak,” she says.

Valerie Khoo, founder of the Australian Writers’ Centre

“People know what they do, so they haven’t bothered to articulate it in an inspiring way. An elevator pitch is not a verbal version of your LinkedIn.

“They have not put thought into it. They start going through their job description and talk about how they started off as a PE teacher and now they are selling chiropractic beds. We don’t need to know the background if it is not relevant.”

She says it’s important to remember that in a networking environment your pitch isn’t a presentation, it’s a conversation. It needs to be a two-way street, and if you strike the right chord people will ask questions.

How to prepare the perfect elevator pitch

 

TELL people what you do, not what you are.

REPEAT key information.

BE authentic.

TRY to get an idea of your audience and tailor your pitch to them.

REFLECT on what you do for people.

DRAFT it a number of times.

LEAVE it and return to it later.

RECORD yourself delivering your pitch.

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