Your elevator pitch is a 30-second verbal presentation of your product or startup.
Use it to generate interest with potential investors, customers, and business partners.
Have your elevator pitch ready at all times. It will help you make the best of brief encounters at parties, business events, or elevators.
Think of your elevator pitch as the 30-second version of your 30-minute pitch deck. With that in mind, your elevator pitch should answer the following key questions:
Time yourself delivering your elevator pitch. If it takes more than 60 seconds, trim it down until you get it down to 30-60 seconds.
Start your elevator pitch by covering your key points first. Then pause and assess your audience's engagement. If you sense interest, continue. If not, you might want to cut your losses and move on.
If you think you might only have 20 seconds with someone, make sure you have a 20-second version of your elevator pitch. Again, start with the basics — what you do, who you do it for and why anyone should care. People care about traction, so if you have any, use it.
The goal of your elevator pitch is to compel someone to take action. Make sure you end your elevator pitch with a simple ask. For example, ask if you can email them your investor deck. Or schedule a product demo. Or request their feedback on your product or company.
There are two situations where your elevator pitch serves as a great introduction to you and your startup. The most obvious example is the in-person meeting. The other case is when emailing those same people. In this scenario, your elevator pitch serves as a quick introduction and acid test. If you provide a compelling elevator pitch, your reader is more likely to open your pitch deck or request a meeting.
You need to sell yourself as well as your startup. So have an elevator pitch for yourself too. Here's mine as an example:
My name is Malcolm Lewis. I'm a marketing leader for SaaS software companies. I've been a founder or executive at 8 software startups that have produced 6 exits, including a $1B IPO.