You’ve all heard of the infamous elevator pitch—the three to four sentences that describe the essence of what your company does. It’s the first opportunity to hook in your investor. It’s the entry point that will (hopefully) result in a deeper discussion about your company.
A well-crafted elevator pitch will make people want to know more about who you are and what your company does. A poorly crafted one, on the other hand, could close the door to a potential investor. Because you typically have no more than 15 to 20 seconds to leave a lasting impression, you need to make those seconds count.
Here are the top ten rules of the elevator pitch:
1. Keep it simple.
2. Be engaging.
3. Avoid negatives.
4. It’s not about you.
5. Anticipate the obvious objections.
6. Avoid purple farts.
7. Don’t go overboard with numbers.
8. Maybe it is about you.
9. Is the problem clear?
10. Don’t lie.
Once you craft your elevator pitch, try it out, and continuously improve it. The great thing about the elevator pitch is that it should be effective with almost anyone you know. Start with your spouse and your business colleagues from other businesses. In particular, you should seek out people you know who have good BS detectors and will be honest with you. Then once you have nailed it, make sure everyone in your organization has fully internalized it and can repeat it in emails, at trade shows, on voicemails, in press releases, at cocktail parties – and in elevators.