… or you wouldn’t be reading this.
Yes, you. The “small, woman-owned company established in 2008, located in Alexandria, VA, that prides itself on excellent customer service and always striving to do best for our clients“. Because if that sounds like you, you just wasted 20 seconds of everybody’s time for no good reason.
A truly great elevator pitch takes planning, practice, and precision. Especially in government contracting, where industry events are comprised of many companies of similar industries, you need to stand out, or you may as well be invisible. Here’s what I mean:
- Planning. Know your audience. Who is going to be in the room? What is the key takeaway you want them to remember? How will your 30-second opportunity set you apart from everyone else? The point of the elevator pitch is for the listeners to spark an interest. Not to pre-emptively answer all their questions. Naturally, your elevator pitch will be different in an open forum, in a 1-on-1 with a government agency, a potential teaming partner, or a banker.
- Practice. Every time you say “umm” or “you know” or “as I said” – you’re stealing seconds from your allotted time; losing the listeners’ attention; and killing your credibility as an expert. Know what you will say ahead of time. Run it by a few people – a family member, friend, partner, a PTAP or SBDC counselor. Be sure to test on people that don’t know the technical specifics of what you do, because if you’re speaking in code (or jargon), your customers may not understand what you’re saying.
- Precision. What are the key elements you want to convey that would want your listener to want to ask you more questions? Look at a few templates for constructing the pitch, You can start with this guide or this one. A generic, 1-size fits all blurb will fit no one. An appeal targeted specifically for the present audience will be more productive.
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