The Perfect Pitch: How to craft a killer Elevator Pitch

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Polar Bear Pitching is probably the most chilling startup pitching competitions on earth. Literally! In 2018, the event was conducted in Oulu, Finland. A hole is cut out in the frozen Baltic sea and entrepreneurs are asked to pitch their startups for funding. There is no time limit for the pitch. The only condition, the entire pitch has to be made while half-submerged in the freezing water.

Talk about motivation to cut it short and wrap up faster!

Polar Bear Pitching - The Perfect Pitch: How to craft a killer Elevator Pitch - ScientityImage Source – Polar Bear Pitching

Now we know that the likelihood of pitching a startup in similar conditions for most entrepreneurs is low and while you may not have to stand in ice-cold water, there are numerous situations which demand a quick discussion of your pitch. In your favorite coffee shop, restaurant, while on your way to your office in the elevator, you can potentially end up face to face with a potential investor or client.

That’s exactly what an elevator pitch does. It’s something you can say in a short elevator ride. In that short one minute conversation, you need to share your concept and the business idea. People are busy and hence tend to not pay full attention. Being able to communicate your ideas clearly, effectively and most importantly quickly, will ensure you get the most important aspects across irrespective of the duration of the conversation. There is absolutely no doubt that a chance conversation can convert into real business opportunities.

Elevator Pitches have many applications: First and foremost, to share your ideas with people, say, friends and family, who need not be told of the details, but an overview to keep them interested. Getting them excited about your startup could also potentially lead to sizeable funding at the bootstrapping stage if you manage to get your friends and family to back your startup with an impressive elevator pitch. Secondly, meetings with investors, partners, or employees when you know beforehand that timing is essential. Elevator Pitches are great to quickly share the most important details of your startup keeping the audience hooked.

One can also use the elevator pitch at networking events or mixers. While attending such professional association events, or any gathering, you should have your pitch ready to share with those you meet. Last and the most likely, Email. Lately, in order to optimize time utilization, VCs, investors, and others, ask for pitch decks via email for review. Sending in a full-blown pitch deck may not be the best move. An elevator pitch deck, sort of a trailer version will be ideal. It still leaves a lot on the plate for an in-person discussion later on, yet shares enough to create intrigue and pushes for an invitation to an in-person meeting.

So, the question really is: what do you do to create a killer elevator pitch that hooks the audience?


 The Perfect Pitch: How to craft a killer Elevator Pitch | Scientity

Before you write down the pitch, find the answer to

  • Who are you able to help with the solution?

  • What problem are you trying to solve?

  • What is your solution?

  • How is it different from the competition, if any?

It would be great if there are no competitors yet, the first-to-enter-market strategy goes a long way in setting up your market dominance, however, startups have been around for ages already. It’s almost improbable that you don’t have a competitor. Research well to make sure you find out how your business stands out or if truly you are the first to offer your solution.

Who are you helping?

You can’t generalize the answer by saying things like “ we are going to change the world” unless you truly are. Very often, entrepreneurs do believe that and sometimes it can be true as well. However, to address the question above, its best specify. Narrow down your audience or the group as much as possible.

For example, if you are in the business of helping doctors suggest better medicines, it doesn’t mean you can’t help patients directly. However, the question is: who is your target market? Doctors or patients? Once you fill in this blank, you would be more focused on that market, which is what investors want to see.

Similarly, once you answer all the questions, you will have the frame ready to create your own killer pitch deck

Once the frame is ready, now you need to hack away the extras. Remove everything that is unnecessary and keep only the Crux. Remember, it’s not about how much information you can cram in while keeping it under a minute-long conversation, it’s about value. The pitch should only answer the above 4 questions in the least number of words possible, that’s when you have a killer script.

If we were to write an elevator pitch, it would be something like these…

We solve {Problem} by providing {solution/advantage}, to help {target Group/market} achieve {target’s goal}

If your business improves already existing conditions, you could also use:

We manufacture/provide {product/service} for {Target Audience} that allows them to {your value proposition}

Or if you provide a sales based or subscription based services then you could also use:

We make money by charging {customers} to get {benefit}

In an elevator typesetting, you only have moments to get the audience’s attention. We would suggest keeping things simple. It’s best to craft to create a simple pitch that leads to a question from the audience. And then, for that question, have your material or answers ready.

This is known as a Hook. With a hook in your pitch, you will be able to hook the audience and pique their curiosity, forcing them to follow up with a question about your startup. This is exactly what an elevator pitch needs to achieve. At the same time, anticipate further questions and have their answers ready like:

  • Why you’re different from the competition?
  • Why your target market is worth pursuing?
  • How much traction do you have?
  • Do you have proof of concept?
  • What kind of team do you have in place to address it or scale it?
  • What is your customer acquisition costs?

Ultimately, be yourself. Don’t memorize the pitch. The pitch shouldn’t sound rehearsed. Of course, everyone rehearses to work the kinks out, however, the trick lies in making it look like an on-the-spot conversation, rather than a rehearsed dialogue delivery that sounds fake or generic. One way to make sure you don’t sound rehearsed is that you could also look at creating an elevator pitch deck in a video format.

Think about it. Maybe something like this.

A 30-seconds to 1 Minute duration video with all the good things that not only engage the viewer, it also gets your message across, consistently irrespective of your demeanor, or availability. You don’t even need to be in the same space as the audience. If you want, you could even use digital technologies and spread your message to your audience and beyond via videos.  The possibilities are endless. The benefits too. Every single time that video is played, you can be assured that the message delivered is the same with the same amount of energy, enthusiasm, fervor, and excitement.

Not only do you get the benefits listed above, but you also get the chance to stand out, to be noticed, and get spoken to about your proposition only because a video story guarantees audience attention like none other.

Time and again, we have proved this in action and not just words. Carrier Transicold cold chain study Video is a glaring proof of the concept. Post the video launch, the cold chain business grew 30X in a years’ time.

That’s a 3000% growth in a year!

Now that’s something to ponder about. Read the case study here: Building the case for cold chain technology to prevent Food Wastage – A Design led Case Study

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