You don't need an elevator pitch...you need lots of them!

My understanding of an elevator pitch is a sub 10 second, 1-2 sentence description of your business and the value you offer. Conceptually, it is nothing more than this:

I work for X, and we provide Y, and the value of this to you is Z.

Let's take this one step further. When pitching to board level prospects, it is equally important to concisely articulate all of your points. Senior executives spend their days looking for facts and answers to their questions. Their time is precious and sought after by all, so the last person they will buy from is someone with whom they can't communicate.

I use the same methodology for constructing an elevator pitch to compile concise answers to inevitable questions. This allows me to deliver the most precise, direct response possible.

I start by writing down the points I want to make, picking out every unnecessary word from my sentences. The remaining verbiage is prioritised to achieve the most deliberate two lines imaginable, and then memorised. This is a valuable process, not only to construct how you communicate, but also to help crystallise every aspect of your entire product pitch. What follows is a random, made-up company, with examples of a typical response:

What does your product do? (Say it exactly as it is.)

"My product is a data analytics tool that helps our clients to create simple operational clarity by streamlining information flows and identifying inefficient cost allocations."

What is the value of your product to my company? (First sentence 3 key benefits. Second - more specific, and tee up your case study.)

"It will help you save time, more effectively manage your cost base, and identify areas of your business for improvement. Our customers report tangible results such as X savings by eliminating rogue cost allocations and Y increase in revenues from improving operational inefficiencies."

What experience and examples can you give me to support this? (Back it up and demonstrate you know their business.)

"I am currently working with a Tier 1 client in your industry, and they did X and achieved Y and Z. Your core business is slightly different, so from experience, I would expect to see the greatest benefit from X areas."

Why should I choose you? (USP time - sell your product, your company, your clients, AND yourself.)

"Not only are we the most advanced tool of its kind, but my company has an unrivalled track record for helping our customers achieve market leading results. On a personal note, I work exclusively with the most forward thinking companies in the industry and will use my experience to ensure you get the maximum benefit from working with us."

Why is it so expensive? (Negate client risk.)

"It isn't relative to the ROI described. Give me the chance to prove it, and if you don't see the benefit, then we will build in a contingency to the make the whole exercise beneficial."

Five straight answers to five simple questions.

A key differentiator and often overlooked aspect in any pitch is selling yourself. Notice that half of the Unique Selling Point (USP) was about me. The product, company, and clients were an assumptive side note, despite being the first words out of my mouth. Having clients buy you, above your solution, renders subsequent business a formality, because after delivering on your promises, they won't want to work with anybody else.

In summary, get your elevator pitches in place from the outset, because they apply to all salespeople, in every instance. If you don't use them during the course of the meeting, then do so in closing to precisely summarise, confirm the next steps, and reaffirm why you are best for the job.

We all like a straight answer, and if you are not doing all of this, then you are leaving a gap for someone who will.