*this post was a request from an IPIA member. If you have a topic that…
What is an elevator pitch and why should I have one?
An elevator pitch is a business tool that you can whip out of your pocket to let others in your industry understand who you are, what you are passionate about, and what you bring to the table quickly and effectively. A well-scripted elevator pitch is handy at trade events, job fairs, when speaking to customers, and when making new connections.
How do I write a pitch?
If you have ever written a cover letter, think of your elevator pitch as a boiled down version of your opening paragraph where you are trying to convince a potential employer that your resume is worth looking at. Another way to look at it is to think of all the marketing you see every day. The most effective marketing efforts tell you what you need to know about a product or service in as few words as possible. No reason you can’t do the same about yourself!
A good elevator pitch should include four points:
- A friendly introduction
- A brief explanation of what you do
- What you want out of this interaction
- A call to action/next steps
Let’s put these into action to see what a basic elevator pitch might look like for a pole studio owner looking for a new employee:
(Friendly introduction) “Hi! My name is Susan. Nice to meet you! (Explanation of what you do) I am a certified pole instructor and have owned this studio for five years. I am always exploring innovative teaching techniques with a focus on safety, personal growth, and having fun. (What you want out of the interaction) I would love to have you take a tour of the studio and sit in on some classes to see if you feel like this is the right place for you. (Call to action/next steps) Can I call you next week to set up a time?”
Now, let’s flip this pitch and look at it from the perspective of a teacher looking for work at a pole studio:
(Friendly introduction) Hi! My name is Joshua. So great to meet you! (Explanation of what you do) I have been pole dancing for a decade and have recently become a certified instructor. (What you want out of the interaction) I am looking for a part-time teaching position at a studio that prioritizes safety, personal growth, and having fun. I would love to talk to you more about the teaching position you posted recently. (Call to action/next steps) Can I email or call you tomorrow to talk more about it?
How do I present a pitch?
First, pace yourself. You want your pitch to be conversational, not robotic. Some people might prefer having their pitches memorized, while others might have a bulleted list in mind to make it sound more natural. Practice with friends or in front of a mirror so that it doesn’t sound like you are reading from a teleprompter or racing through to get it over with.
Second, tailor your pitch when needed. Although you will use the same pitch most of the time, you might want to make it longer or shorter depending on the type of event or who you are speaking to. Having a few different versions to pull from will be handy.
Lastly, know your audience. Not everyone wants to hear your pitch, and that’s ok. Gauge their response and pivot when needed. Some folks are just hard nuts to crack, don’t have time right now, or prefer to communicate differently. In any of these cases, it’s ok to change your course of action/next steps or drop your pitch if the recipient isn’t interested.
Think of your elevator pitch as a tool you can keep in your back pocket to help boost your business, get the job, or find the right clients or customers.