How would you describe to a stranger what your organisation does? When you meet someone at a social or networking event and they ask about your company what do you say? Take a moment to write down how you would portray your organisation in one sentence. Many people give very bland statements or quote from their company mission or advertising tag lines.
The elevator pitch is a phrase coined to describe the situation where you meet someone important in an elevator and have just the duration of the elevator ride to tell him or her what your business is and why it is special. It was originally used for start-up companies who needed to explain to venture capital investors just what they did in very simple and memorable terms.
Here is a handy formula to help you construct an elevator pitch:
For xxxx (target customers) who want xxxx (key need), we are a xxxx (type of organisation) that offers xxxx (main products or services). Unlike other xxxx (type of organisation) we xxxx (key differentiating factor). You just fill in the blanks. So for my company you might get:
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I believe that this formula came originally from Geoffrey Moore. It starts with the target customer and their needs. It explains clearly what kind of company you are and what you offer. Then it delivers the key difference that makes you special. So people can very quickly understand what you provide, who you sell to and how you are different. They get a comprehensible and useful picture.
This statement can be very helpful in all sorts of contexts including networking meetings, business introductions, on airplanes, at parties and of course in elevators.
Why not try it with your team? It gets everyone focused on a clear message about your business, your target customers and why you are special.