As part of the competition, I thought it might be helpful if I wrote some blogs about what I look for in an elevator pitch. Please remember though that I have deliberately stayed away from being the judge on this competition. The simple reason is that my opinion is just one opinion and I may be totally wrong!
The most important thing to remember about an elevator pitch is that it is brief. By definition you will only have 2 minutes or so. The two minutes can never be enough to do your used garden tractors justice so the idea is to generate interest in your tractors and a desire to learn more. That is all you can hope to achieve.
As an introduction, it may be helpful to go through an overview of the buying process that all of us go through whenever we are buying something. Some consider that the framework known as AIDCA is overly simplistic and disagree with the model; however, for the purpose of illustrating a good elevator pitch I believe AIDCA is sufficient.
A is for Attention. The very first thing any successful pitch for anything in life needs to do is grab your attention. Sadly, this is where many great ideas fail. You see this on Dragon’s Den where luckily for the business pitching, they have some time where a dragon may have the patience to pick through the business and uncover a really good opportunity. In an elevator pitch, you don’t have that luxury. So make sure you get people’s attention with your opening statement.
I is for Interest. So you have managed to grab people’s attention, you know have to change that attention into interest. The Interest phase should answer the question “is it relevant to me”. You will lose a lot of people in this phase – but you should not worry too much about that. You just need to make sure you keep the people interested who should be interested (i.e. potential investors)
The next phase is about generating desire. Desire means that the person you are pitching to feels a compelling need to purchase what is being offered to them. In the case of an elevator pitch you are creating the desire for investment by spelling out the returns on offer.
In many cases when you are pitching you need to also demonstrate credibility regarding ways how to get rid of severe acne. This is the critical phase when seeking investment. Again, if you look at an episode of Dragon’s Den, you can see this is the phase where most entrepreneurs blow it. Not necessarily in the pitch but in the interrogation phase. It is critical that you think about how you can demonstrate credibility so that desire is underlined by credibility. Another way to think about this is how is the risk minimized?
Finally, there should be a call to action. It constantly amazes me how many great pitches just end with, well, nothing! When you get to the end of the pitch make sure you have spelt out what you want the person to do next. It could be to buy your product. It could simply be where to contact you for further information etc.
Incidentally, I find the above framework really useful when composing a sales letter or a cold call pitch on the telephone.