You’re in an elevator and you get chatting to someone. They ask what you do. You’ve got less than 30 seconds to interest them in your product or services.

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This is your elevator pitch. It will inform, explain and capture the interest of your listener in your business.

It’s a precious business tool. Once you have created it, you can use it on your website, in marketing flyers, on social media and at networking events. Here are five simple steps to help you create your own perfect business elevator pitch.


1. Know your goal.

When you give your elevator pitch, know what you want your listener to do. Do you want them to remember your name? Visit your website or blog, or connect on social media? Come to your restaurant? Recommend you to a friend? It’s likely you will have a number of goals and they will depend on each person you’re talking to, but have one key goal in your mind: the one that drives most of your marketing, social media, public relations and advertising efforts. It might be directing people to your website where you have awesome sales funnels operating – or it might be getting ‘butts on seats’ in your cafe. Whatever it is, it should be both a foundation and a framework for what you say in your elevator pitch.

2. Know the problem you solve for your customers.

Your listener will be most interested in what you say if you stay focused on him/her – that is, if you are customer-focused. Describe how you can solve a problem for him/her with your product or services. Try to look at your business from the outside; from a customer’s point of view, focusing on how you can help them rather than what you think you do.

For example, a florist: NOT JUST: I design upmarket floral arrangements. BUT: I make beautiful floral arrangements that people can give to their friends, family or colleagues if they need a gift that really means something.

3. Work out what’s unique about your business

(…or product or service). There is something you do or offer that no one else does. What is it? Are you the friendliest? The cheapest? The most thorough? The neatest? The only one that does it for a certain niche market? The only one servicing a specific area? The most flexible? Is there a special guarantee you offer? Can you turn your services around extremely quickly? Discover what it is that is unique to you because that is your niche. It belongs in your elevator pitch.

For example, a home delivery baker: NOT JUST: I make and home-deliver delicious cakes and muffins. BUT: I make and home-deliver delicious and nutritious home-baked cakes and muffins for busy families in the metropolitan area.

4. Tell a story to put your business in context.

People are much more likely to listen and understand if you tell a story. I ran a social media workshop in my local area this week. When I told the story about how Domino’s Pizza managed a negative comment on Facebook, and then another story about how a US restaurant slammed a customer on Twitter for not tipping and got a serious social media backlash, everyone sat up and listened. I could see them mentally calculating ways to replicate or avoid those practices in their own businesses. (You see? I just told a story. Did this blogpost get a little bit more interesting for you? I bet it did!).

For example, a car hire company: NOT JUST: We hire cars and off-road vehicles out to tourists and business travellers. BUT: We have a huge range of customers – the other day, a family of eight came in to hire an SUV to tour the Northwest, followed immediately by a visiting public speaker on the environment wanting an efficient, small hybrid car.

5. Trial your elevator pitch and improve it.

You can try it out on staff, colleagues, family and friends before you try it out in the real world. This allows you to practice as well as hone it. Then you can try it on real people at networking events, conferences or other gatherings (if appropriate). Watch their reactions. If they look interested, ask questions, request a business card, or say they know someone who needs your services, then you probably have a good strong elevator pitch. If you’re met with glazed eyes, confusion or an immediate change of subject, it might need work!

If you have an elevator pitch already, feel free to post it in the comments area below to get my opinion and that of others!

Read more: How to Write a Ridiculously Powerful Elevator Pitch