Nov 13, 2014

Don’t Make Me Think: The Art of the Elevator Pitch

Crafting a compelling elevator pitch is one of the primary sources of brand confusion.

We’ve been taught that a strong elevator pitch has to stand out. It has to catch someone’s attention. It has to get them to say, “That’s interesting. Tell me more.”

And oh by the way, you only have 45 seconds or less — the length of time it takes to ride an elevator — to deliver the pitch.

It’s a tall order, because the desire to be interesting and noticeable gets in the way. Avoid this trap. Focus on the clarity of your message.

Interesting can be confusing

There’s nothing wrong with crafting an elevator pitch that makes you stand out, but often we go too far. We tinker too much.

To find a pitch that pop we play with the words, metaphors, and analogies. We get too creative. We use words and phrases that make people think, and that’s what leads to confusion.

Thinking slows down our ability to retain information.

Most of the time our brains are on autopilot. We don’t focus on every decision, especially with the volume of content thrown at us on a daily basis. The messages that stand out today are very simple and very clear.

Cut the fluff, say what you do

Fluffing up your elevator pitch waters down its impact. Catching a prospect’s attention is secondary. A strong elevator pitch delivers clarity first.

Focus on the facts:

  • What does your company do?
  • How does it deliver value?
  • Who does it serve?

Just deliver the basics: you are, you do, you serve. The ability to describe your business simply and succinctly will immediately differentiate it from the competition. It demonstrates clarity of thought, and that builds credibility in your customers’ minds.

An elevator pitch is a label on a file folder

A good way to consider your elevator pitch is it’s like a label on a file folder.

A label doesn’t have to give a lot of information or be overly creative. It just has to be clear, succinct, and obvious to be useful. And the clearer the label, the easier it is to find and retrieve later.

Try writing your elevator pitch on a label, and see how it works. Can you say what your company is, what it does, and who it serves in a simple, direct way?

That’s the goal. Clarity trumps interesting when you’re delivering an elevator pitch.

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