How do I deliver a great elevator pitch?
Sunday, March 15, 2009/
Last week I was at a function full of young entrepreneurs all very keen to meet investors and get a serious discussion going.
But they didn’t quite know how to start.
“What do we do when we meet an investor at a function or conference” was the big question on their minds.
What all entrepreneurs who want to raise money need is a succinct and enticing elevator pitch no longer than a few minutes. You don’t need to tell the whole story. Your objective is to get the investor to say: “Tell me more.”
I’ll focus more on elevator pitches in upcoming postings.
A captivating elevator pitch is absolutely the key to “hooking” an investor and getting to the next step, hopefully more discussion and a meeting.
You are selling your business. Keep that in mind. You never really know who you will be talking to, so having an elevator pitch prepared will give you an advantage.
Here’s a formula that has worked for lots of entrepreneurs…
1. What’s the problem?
A strong introduction will get your listener listening. You will be competing with all sorts of distractions, not least of which will be the next glass of wine and the next conversation.
Start by stating the problem that exists in the segment. Include numbers to demonstrate how big this problem really is. That adds a lot of power to your elevator pitch. Here are some examples:
- “In China, there are over 62 software companies set up every week. They are competing with our local companies at a 10th of the labour cost.”
- “Spam has increased at the rate of 135% over the last year. It costs industry billions to manage spam.”
- “21% of the patients who take prescription medicine for the first time generally get no benefit, but they still suffer the side effects.”
- “Spending on outdoor media advertising reduced by 32% last year. And that trend is increasing.”
Keep this short. It takes just a few seconds to say the examples above. That is not by accident.
You have only a minute or so at most for your elevator pitch and you need to cover a lot of ground. Be economical with your words.
2. Who are you?
Tell your listener what you company does so that he/she can see how you fit into the big picture. Keep this simple.
- “Techmedia offers outdoor advertising displays that are brighter, bigger and more effective that anything on the market.”
- “Medhealth has a website where patients can learn more about the drugs they are taking so that the average Joe can understand the full implications and side effects.”
No room here to talk about your technology. No matter how good you are at explaining your technology your listener will not understand how the technology works. You only have a few seconds and that simply is not long enough to talk about technology.
Whatever you do, don’t take extra time to get an explanation of the technology into your elevator pitch. It will just get boring and your investor will simply go to the bar for another drink.
The idea is to get an investor interested enough to ask about the technology at a later meeting. Your objective here is to get to the next meeting. Assuming, of course, that there is a fit between your companies.
Far too often people think that the technology is so exciting that it will sell itself. That rarely happens. This is a trap that many technology entrepreneurs fall into. Technology is only exciting if it solves a problem in the market. Get that “market problem” message across and you are on your way.
Next time, I’ll cover the other elements of a great elevator pitch.
Gail Geronimos, is the founder of Achaeus, which helps entrepreneurs develop their businesses and she has just started a new site www.pitchingtoinvestors.com with tools and tips about how to develop killer presentations to raise capital.
To read more Gail Geronimos expert advice, click here.