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How to write an elevator pitch your audience won’t forget

How to write an elevator pitch your audience won’t forget

Key takeaways

  • An elevator pitch tells people how your business can make their lives easier and fulfill their needs
  • Effective elevator pitches cover relevant information in about 30 seconds
  • Engage the listener by asking questions and finish with a call to action

It happens almost on a daily basis: You bump into someone and have an opportunity to tell them about your business. However, simply explaining your products or services isn’t always compelling enough. To make the most of this encounter, you need to spark their curiosity and show them how you can make their lives easier. That’s where an elevator pitch comes in.

An elevator pitch is a simple way to describe your business mission and get people interested in your products or services. A good pitch will entice potential clients to ask follow-up questions, visit your business, and eventually become paying customers.

Perfecting your pitch can turn chance encounters into clients. Use this guide to learn how to write an elevator pitch that will boost your networking game, leave a great first impression, and land new leads.

What is an elevator pitch?

An elevator pitch, or elevator speech, is a brief, punchy overview of your small business. Think of it as a way to explain your startup or business in casual conversation to anyone you meet, including potential customers, partners, or investors.

The perfect elevator pitch tells people everything they need to know about your business in just a few sentences. An effective elevator pitch explains your personal story, your products or services, the problems you founded this business to solve, and what sets you apart from competitors.

As the name implies, you should be able to deliver your pitch in the same amount of time as a short elevator ridearound 30 seconds.

Why do you need an elevator pitch?

Woman sharing an elevator pitch to a potential client

An elevator pitch is one of the most important tools in your marketing arsenal. As with other forms of word-of-mouth marketing, it encourages people to seek out more information about your business, share your story with friends, and become paying customers.

Your elevator pitch can be used in nearly any scenario, from a casual conversation at the grocery store to pitching a potential client at a networking event. You can even incorporate it in messaging on your website and online profiles. However, it’s crucial to cater your pitch to each situation. Some leads may be more interested or receptive to hearing about your business, so you should adjust your tone, pace, and overall approach accordingly.

On the other hand, not everyone wants to hear a pitch. You should identify when it’s appropriate to pitch and when you should avoid the subject.

Gauge interest by first mentioning the problem your business solves. If the listener acknowledges the problem exists, ask if it’s a problem they’re facing. If they answer yes again, pitch your business or service to them. Abandon your pitch if you encounter people who don’t recognize the problem you solve or if it’s irrelevant to them.

How to write an elevator pitch for your business

Creating a good elevator pitch is like telling a story. You want to share enough information about your business to be memorable while still piquing your audience’s interest for more.

Following these four steps can help you hone your pitching skills and write the best elevator pitch for your business.

1. Brainstorm what makes your business special

Before you start writing your elevator pitch, take a step back and identify what makes your business valuable to potential customers. Are you fulfilling an obvious need in your community? Are you improving upon an inefficient or inaccessible service? An elevator pitch is the time to highlight these unique strengths. 

Consider these questions when brainstorming the key points to cover in your pitch:

  • Who are you, and what is your business? Introduce yourself if you’re meeting someone for the first time. You can add that you’re a small business owner and give your business name and location if relevant.
  • What does your business offer? Briefly tell listeners about the products and services you provide. You can use your mission statement as a guide to come up with one or two sentences. A mission statement tells people what you do, how you do it, and why you’re in business. For example, a yoga studio may say “Everyone needs to disconnect from their bustling everyday lives. Our highly experienced instructors put your mind and body at ease, leading to a more peaceful community.” Use some of this verbiage as a starting point for your elevator pitch.
  • What problems do you solve? Show customers you have the know-how to solve their pain points and make their lives easier. For example, when advertising an auto repair shop, an owner might say they provide high-quality service with a quick turnaround so customers can get back on the road in less time.
  • How are you different from competitors? Provide your unique selling proposition, which explains how your business operations and services set you apart from the competition. Highlight your company’s specific benefits and how they uniquely solve your customers’ needs. For instance, Full Spiral Salon specializes in wavy, curly, and kinky hair. It’s the only company in Santa Barbara that focuses on accentuating these natural hair qualities.

2. Ask your audience a question

Every great elevator pitch involves its audience. Instead of leading a one-sided conversation, tailor your pitch to your listener—and if possible, get them involved. Maybe they’ve experienced a problem you can solve or have an experience that aligns with yours. For example, when promoting a dental practice, the owner might start by asking, “How many times have you gone to the dentist and had discomfort during your visit?” Then, they can follow up by sharing how they make patients feel more comfortable at their own practice. 

3. Add a call to action

Ideally, your elevator pitch will not only get people interested in your business but will also inspire them to take the next step and interact with your business. To encourage this, end your pitch with a call to action—a statement that prompts people to respond in a specific way, like visiting your website or calling your business.

Your call to action will vary depending on your desired outcome. What do you want people to do after hearing your brief elevator pitch?

If you’re looking to collaborate, you may ask if you can set up a meeting with a potential partner and offer to exchange contact information. If you’re focused on increasing sales, you might invite them to stop into your shop. In this case, share a business card with your location or a link to an online profile or website. 

4. Practice your delivery

Your delivery is just as important as the elevator pitch itself. You’ll need to rehearse your pitch out loud as often as possible and get feedback from family, friends, and colleagues.

An effective elevator pitch is delivered organically in conversation without feeling invasive or like a hard sell. If you’re using your elevator pitch in a social situation, gauge your listeners’ interest first, and keep it conversational.

The more you use your pitch, the more natural it will seem. Before you know it, you’ll be pitching potential clients without even trying.

5. The final result

You’ve followed all of the steps above, but what does an effective elevator pitch really look like? Here are a few examples:

Realtor elevator pitch example

“Are you having trouble buying your first home in this current market? It’s not your fault. The paperwork and legal processes are daunting. Our company simplifies the buying process for hundreds of homeowners every year. I can personally email you properties that align with your preferences if you’re interested.”

Barbershop elevator pitch example

“Are you seeking a quality cut without spending half your paycheck? We believe haircuts should be accessible for all. Our professional stylists give top-notch service at a fraction of the price. Take a look at our social media page to see our most recent satisfied customers.”


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Tips for improving your elevator pitch

Once you’ve got your elevator pitch down, start seeking feedback to help tailor your approach. Understanding your audience and keeping your pitch brief but informative will help you improve your delivery.

Understand your audience

As with all marketing channels, an elevator pitch is only effective if you understand your audience and can address their specific needs. Rather than talking over someone, listen to your potential customers’ needs, desires, and even complaints, so you can explain how your business might help. 

For example, when advertising a landscaping business, it might have different target audiences: homeowners and commercial clients. When speaking to homeowners, you might emphasize accessible prices, but to commercial clients, your strength may be high-quality service that makes their property shine. These two segments would require different elevator pitches.

Keep it brief

If you approach an elevator pitch as a one-sided conversation, you’ll likely lose people’s attention. Avoid boring your listeners by keeping your pitch as brief as possible: You don’t need to explain every detail of your business, but instead share just enough to get people interested and identify how you can fulfill their needs. 

Creating an elevator pitch that converts conversations into clients

Elevator pitches can be used in a wide range of scenarios to get people interested in your business. To make your elevator pitch as impactful, brief, and informative as possible, ensure that it’s relevant to your audience’s specific needs.

Once you’ve perfected your elevator pitch, you can build on your marketing momentum and explore additional ways to attract new customers and other ideas to grow your business.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.