What is the main purpose of an elevator speech?
The inspiration came about for writing this article on “what is the main purpose of an elevator speech” after I listened to a TED talk (see video below), about a great way to introduce an elevator speech.
The main purpose of an elevator speech is to open up the opportunity of a conversation. The elevator pitch should be expressed in such a way to spike enough of an interest for the person to want to find out more. An elevator speech or pitch is not for the purpose of closing the deal.
I hope you get something from this article and also by watching Adam Leipzig’s TED talk on “How to know your life purpose in 5 minutes.”
What is the main purpose of an elevator speech?
The main purpose of an elevator pitch is not what many people believe it to be. It’s not to make a sale to the other person, and it’s not to close the deal.
But instead an elevator speech is to open up an interesting conversation between you and the other person. Your elevator speech should be designed and then said in such a way that spikes the other person’s interest. The interest you spike in that person should be enough for them to want to ask questions.
This interesting conversation may then be enough to lead on to them becoming a customer, lending you the money, investing in your business, etc. But only after you’ve engaged in a conversation as a result of what you said in your pitch in the first place.
Approaching the elevator speech in the way Adam Leipzigs demonstrates, makes it much easier to prepare your speech. But also, his method is designed to help you to understand who you are and who you or your business ‘serves.’
I’ve already written an article entitled “Elevator pitch examples for business.” In this article, I talk about where to begin writing an elevator pitch for business, with 30 second and 60 second examples.
However, if you are still struggling with your own elevator pitch, this slightly different approach may work for you.
What is the ideal length of an elevator pitch?
The are many different views on the ideal length of an elevator pitch. Some say 30 seconds, some say 60 seconds. Whereas others even say that the elevator speech should be two minutes long.
Personally, I don’t think it should be any longer than two minutes. But I also consider two minutes to be too long.
If your elevator pitch is more than a minute in length, you are trying too hard. You’ve possibly even changed it from elevator pitch to a sales pitch, rather than simply sparking that interest.
My advice would be the shorter the better. Short enough that it’s not a sales pitch (which it’s not!), but long enough to get your message across that creates interest.
How do you end an elevator pitch?
I think the best way to end an elevator pitch is with silence.
If you’ve created a great elevator pitch and delivered it well, after you’ve said it, the other person should want to ask a question.
The delivery should include passion, integrity and you should always keep eye contact with the other person when it’s delivered.
How do you write elevator pitch?
Basing this new approach to elevator speeches on Adam Leipzig’s method, the steps to take to write your elevator pitch would be as follows:
- Who are you? Write down your name.
- What do you love do; what are you passionate about? I am hoping that the business you do, if this is an elevator speech about your business, you are passionate about. I hope you love your business. If you don’t, this is going to be difficult for you and may be it’s time for you to change what you do.
- Who do you do it for? i.e. who are your customers or potential customers?
- What do those people want or need? this should be your products or services you sell in your business, or your planned business. What is it they want or need when they come to your business.
- How do these people (i.e. your customers) change or transform as a result of what you do? i.e. what is it that you sell or what is it you give them that transforms them after they got it?
You now know who you are, what you do and who you do it for. Plus you know what those people need or want and how they are changed or transformed as a result. You now also have your elevator speech.
Your elevator speech is the answer to the last question on the above list, i.e. no. 5.
This is better explained by way of an example.
Example elevator pitch
Your elevator speech should be about how you change or transform people. For example, if you’re a fashion designer or sell clothes, this is an example of how it could work.
“I help people look and feel their best.” Your elevator pitch – very short and with some intrigue. The obvious question that follows from this would be; “how do you do that?”
You may reply with: “I design clothes for men and women who need affordable choices so they can look and feel their best.”
This approach will hopefully open up the conversation further. After this, and if for example you are looking for new customers or you may be looking for investment in your business, you may explain this in the conversation.
However, if the person you are talking to is your typical customer, they may well already be hooked based upon what you’ve said so far.
This approach to your elevator speech is outward facing
If you look at the five questions above, there are two that relate to you personally, but the rest relate to your customers.
Three out of the five questions are about the customer.
This outward facing approach is the best for you and is best for your business. If you approach your business from the perspective of ‘what your customers need‘ and ‘how they are transformed by what you do,’ this outward facing approach will help you to create a better business.
The most successful people in the world always focus most on the people that they serve rather than on focusing on themselves.
What needs to be in an elevator pitch?
An elevator speech or pitch needs to be brief, as already explained. In the above example, this isn’t even 30 seconds long.
Only include enough and only include what creates intrigue. Enough for the other person to ask a question.
If the other person doesn’t ask the question you are hoping they should ask, you’ve either not crafted it well, you’ve not delivered it very well, or the person is simply not interested in what you do. The last is okay, not everyone will be interested in you.
If it’s the first two reasons that apply, which you may begin to find out after speaking to a number of people, you may look at changing what you say and how you say it.
Adam Leipzig’s TED talk on “How to know your life purpose in 5 minutes.”
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