Imagine a mosquito buzzing incessantly near your ear. Your instinctive reaction would be to snap your hands at it. To silence it. Contrast it to the sweet rendition of a Mockingbird. You would pause to hear it.
As an entrepreneur, your elevator pitch needs to take the mockingbird route. An effectively delivered elevator pitch could make you an overnight millionaire. During your pitches, you are selling your great idea to a bunch of investors who would willingly part with their money for the next great startup idea.
Most fledgling struggling startups, which later became unicorns, roared their way to success banking on two factors – a great product idea and a persuasive elevator pitch. Both are indispensable for each other’s survival.
Yet, plenty of founders are unable to master this crucial art linked to the survival of their startups. They melt into background noise as other better crafter pitches make their mark.
Not all great startup pitches result in funding, but it sure increases chances of catching the attention of investors. It helps build networks, it helps your product gain awareness and traction.
Here are a few simple steps to consistently deliver the perfect elevator pitch!
1. Creating the perfect pitch deck
Simply put your pitch deck is your prop. It complements your elevator pitch speech. It is used to make your message more impactful to the audience and aids in memory retention. It is a well-known fact that visual memory sticks far longer than the auditory memory in humans. Our brains are wired to let information flow in from one ear and throw it out of another. But visuals stick, especially the good ones and leave a lasting impact of your brand.
Which would be more impactful? Someone saying that 95% of the Indian population does not have Electronic Health Record or someone showing you the same in a visual.
The number of slides in a pitch deck depends entirely on the length of the elevator pitch. Ideally, for a 2-minute pitch, there should not be more than 3 or 4 slides on your deck.
The information on it should be clean, simple, to-the-point and add value to your brand. The slide on the screen should resonate with the content of the elevator speech.
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A startup pitch deck is only as good as the elevator speech you have prepared. Else it will just be a set of beautifully designed slides with no lasting impact.
2. Writing The Perfect Elevator Pitch Speech
There are many components in preparing the Elevator pitch:
I. The Opening Statement
“The new Tesla Roadster is faster than a Ferarri and more efficient than a Prius.” – Elon Musk, Founder of Tesla Inc.
This kind of opening statement by Elon Musk while pitching the Tesla Roadster is designed to pique the interest of the audience immediately. Remember, generally, elevator pitches do not last more than a couple of minutes. Thus, it is essential to reign in the audience’s attention immediately.
Nothing better than a provocative statement to cause the audience to sit up. You might not have Musk’s profile, but a stirring opening statement will induce curiosity, most likely skepticism, and some eye rolling. But, your statement has done its job. It has awakened even the most droopy-eyed investor in the room.
II. Back up Your Opening Statement
Now it is your job to back up what you have said in your provocative opening statement to avoid embarrassing yourself and looking like a fool.
Your content should address:
- What your product does
- What is the existent problem your product/service is going to solve
- Why your product is different from other existing solutions (current market scenario)
- What impact has your product already made in the market (Data and metrics related to revenue, number of clients, number of units sold etc.)
- The goal, specific targets, and vision of the company going forward
- The ballpark figure as to how much funds you hope to raise from investors and what you are going to do with the money
3. The Deck should be a Complement, not a Distraction
This is where your props or slides help you a lot. The slides should illustrate all the above points in sync with your speech. But remember do not embed too much textual information on the slides. Have the numbers, data, and images on the screen.
At all times, you need to ensure that you are the subject and not the slides. You need to guide the audience’s attention to the slides when you want them to go there. At all times, their attention should be focussed on you. You, your product, and your vision are the heroes of your story here, not your slides. You need to make the investors believe in you. For that, they need to hear what you have to say and their attention should be solely focussed on you.
Have a look at one of the Airbnb slides from its pitch deck illustrating this perfectly:
4. Perfect Your Delivery
What do all the best speeches have in common? Apart from great content, the speaker’s delivery flow appears to be natural, unflustered, and unhurried with pauses at the correct time. The pause is important because it gives the audience the time to digest all the information that you are throwing at them. Especially, if your audience is a room full of investors whom you are trying to pitch, you better give them that time to digest your great idea.
Elevator pitches are short 1-2 minutes affairs. Yes, time is a premium so you need to speak fast to get all your content across. But there is a difference between speaking fast and hurrying through the content.
When you hurry through the content you sound incoherent, expressionless, you will definitely miss out on certain words and your sentences sound incomplete. Your body language goes for a toss, you sound flustered and do not evoke any confidence in your audience who are now bored. No investor is going to part funds for your idea.
However, you can still speak fast and be crystal clear about your goals and ideas and keep your audience invested.
Check out this investor pitch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6O98o2FRHw
This is in many ways the perfect elevator pitch. He does not have a pitch deck because he does not need it. Instead, he uses a prop, the coffee cup on which they help clients advertise. He speaks at a rapid rate but at no point does he seem to lack coherency or flow. Overall, he speaks fast, but there are moments when he slows down to emphasize for impact.
For example when he especially emphasizes that their client’s advertisements are exposed to their customers for “ Two Thousand (short pause) .. Two Hundred (short pause) and 20 seconds on an average.” The bait has been laid successfully. The audience is eager to know what kind of advertisement gives such massive exposure to a prospective customer base.
He effectively plays around with his choice of words as well. He could have used 37 minutes instead of “Two Thousand Two Hundred and Twenty Seconds”. However, the latter is way more impactful because it allows him to emphasize with pauses, driving home his point further. His follow-up statement, “We put your brand in their hands” is the powerful pivotal moment of any great speech which emphasizes that he is in total control mode at the moment. The speech is a winner already. He uses the words “37 minutes” later in his elevator speech when his audience is lapping up every word that he says.
5. Practice Practice Practice
The way you construct and deliver the elevator speech is vital to the success of getting funding for your great idea or product.
Every entrepreneur has to furnish and hone his/her public speaking skills. While some people might take to it naturally and have a flair for it, most have to deal with stage fright and nerves. How do you overcome this? We all know the answer. There is only one way. The time and tested trusted method since the birth of civilization – Practice Practice Practice!
The fear of public speaking is fairly common. In fact, it would be abnormal not to have it. Most people fear public speaking even more than death! So you are not alone.
The only magic solution is to practice your elevator pitches in front of the mirror, in front of your friends, your co-founders, and record yourself to see if you are improving on a daily basis.
Maybe you are pressed for time and you might feel that daily practice is an awful waste of time. Think again because you might be loosing out on a great deal of funding capital!
Think of the elevator pitch in dollar terms. Every time you practice, you increase your chances of delivering a perfect elevator pitch on the D-Day resulting in huge investment rounds. This could be the launchpad for the next unicorn in the making. And all it takes is a bit of daily discipline and freeing up your calendar a bit for public speaking practice.
So great cracking now and follow these 5 steps to craft your perfect pitch and win more business and investment for your brand. Are there other strategies that have worked for you when it comes to designing and delivering the perfect elevator pitch? Feel free to pitch it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.