I’ve discovered the incredible value of business networking as a way to promote my design services and work with other like-minded people. But the thing about networking is that you often only get a short opportunity to make an impression. For these situations, it’s important that you prepare a good elevator pitch. If you follow this easy template to write a great elevator pitch, you’ll be sure to not waste those opportunities!
I wrote this post because I see many business owners making crucial mistakes when given the opportunity to share about their business. In fact, I wrote about that in my post 6 Mistakes You’re Making in Your Elevator Pitch, and I strongly recommend you check that out before you look at this template so that you’ll understand the rationale behind this template.
But in short, we are aiming to write an elevator pitch that is (1) brief, (2) clear, (3) simple to understand, (4) has a singular focus, and (5) shows how you add value.
With each interaction, the goal is not just to make a good impression, but the right impression. This goes for whether you’re just introducing yourself to someone new or giving a short presentation. You want the other person to come away having a true understanding of what you do and how you can (potentially) make their life better.
So, without further ado…
Elevator Pitch Template
When we’re done, you’ll actually come away with three slightly different pitches. That’s because each situation is a little different, and it’s not always appropriate to spend a whole minute introducing yourself. So we’ll divide them up into 60-sec, 30-sec, and 10-sec pitches (and you should aim for using as little of that time as possible). I’ll explain that in a moment, but first here is the main pitch:
Hi, my name is [Your Name] with [Your Brand], and I’m a [Your Job Description] …
… Basically, I/we work with [Target Customer] who [the Problem Your Customer Has Before You Work with Them], and I [What You Do] in order to [How You Make Their Life Better as a Result].
… I wanted to let you know that right now I’m offering [Your Free Offering]. If you or someone you know could benefit from this, I would love to talk to you more about that.
This template works best for service-based businesses, but with just a few alterations to section two, it also works for representing products:
Section 2 (For Products):
I/we offer a product for [Target Customer] who [the Problem Your Customer Has Before They Use the Product], and it [What the Product Does] in order to [How It Makes Their Life Better as a Result].
Breaking It Down
So now that you have the template, I’m going to briefly explain each part:
Your Name, Your Brand, & Your Job Description
Ok, your name and brand name are the obvious part. For your job description (by definition) should describe what you do, rather than just giving a job title that is vague. So, don’t say that you’re a business owner, or a CEO, or a Whatever-made-up-name-you-give-yourself. Instead come up with a one-to-two-word job description, even if it’s not your official title.
I know of graphic designers that say, “My name is John, and I’m a storyteller.” So you read books to little kids for a living? It’s just confusing. So, don’t be too cute with it – be descriptive.
For my elevator pitch, I simply say, “Hi, my name is Luke Seavers with One Nine Pro, and I’m a web and graphic designer.”
I’m not going to go into what your target customer is (read this post to learn about that), but rather why you should include it in your elevator pitch. When you say, “I work with young women”, or “I work with corporate leaders”, or “I offer a product for pet owners”, you are making a connection in the other person’s brain. If they identify with that demographic you described, their ears are going to perk up to listen to what you have to say. And even if they don’t personally identify with it, they may start thinking of someone they know who use your service or product.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the other person doesn’t care about “what you do” – what they care about is how they fit into the big picture. Pointing out your target customer positions them right into the story.
Next, you outline the problem your target customer has. In doing so, you begin telling a story – one where your target customer is the protagonist. Every good story begins with a problem or a struggle, and your elevator pitch should too.
What You Do
Here, you describe the way you or your product assists in solving that problem.
How You Make Their Life Better
Now, you paint a picture of the “happy ending of the story”. You describe the end result for your target customer and how their life is better because they used your solution.
Your Free Offering
This is your Call-to-Action (CTA) moment. Your website and your social media posts have CTAs, so why shouldn’t your elevator pitch? If you have the time to do so, it makes sense for you to present an action step for the listener(s) to take. I would strongly recommend that you make it some sort of free offer to rope them.
This could be a free PDF, eBook, consultation, food sample, or whatever works best for your industry. Provide this in exchange for their contact info (preferably their email). If you are presenting to a group of people, then this incentivises them to come talk to you after the meeting.
The End Result
To give you a real-world example, here is my elevator pitch with all three sections:
Hi, my name is Luke Seavers with One Nine Pro, and I’m a web and graphic designer.
Basically, I/we work with successful small business owners who are struggling to reflect that success in their visual brand, and I give their brand a complete overhaul—from their logo to their website—so that their marketing collateral is attractive and effective.
I wanted to let you know that right now I’m offering a free website review, where I’ll sit down with you and tell you what you’re doing well, and what needs improvement. If you or someone you know could benefit from this, I would love to talk to you more about that.
Ok, so I mentioned that you would end up with three pitches for three different scenarios. Heres’ how that works:
When you have a minute or longer to introduce yourself, you should use all three sections of this template. Some networking groups that you may stumble across on Meetup.com will give each attendee a chance to tell the group what they do. You should use your 60-Second Pitch for situations like these.
This one is for similar situations when you’re given less time to talk. All you have to do is subtract Section 3 of the template. Certainly, the CTA is important, but it’s more important that you share about your service.
And as you may have guessed, the 10-Second Pitch is stripped down to just Section 1. You will probably use this one the most because it is meant for brief individual introductions. This is the pitch you share at the bar, in a grocery store, at a mixer, or anywhere really.
The purpose of this short pitch is to provide a clear and succinct answer to the inevitable question, “So, what do you do?” The reason it needs to be clear is it may be the only few words you get to share about what you do before the conversation takes a different turn. And if that person happens to need what you offer, you want to make sure you clearly present yourself as their solution.
Depending on your situation, you may want to alter your 10-Second Pitch slightly if certain clarity is needed. For example, I add to mine “freelance web and graphic designer” just because I want to make it clear that I’m available for hire, rather than just working for a company. Just think through it – you’ll figure out what you need to do for yours.
The hope is that the other person will inquire more about what you do. That’s when you can lead into Sections 2 and 3 of the template.
So, with this template, you should be equipped to create a clear, concise elevator pitch. Now you just need to actually write it out and memorize it. If you have employees, you need to make them memorize it too since they represent your brand.
Once you’re done, comment below with the elevator pitch you came up with! I look forward reading it.