What is an elevator pitch? A formal definition might go something like this: A succinct summary used to define or explain a product, service or organization and its associated value proposition. The name is derived from the concept of delivering one's pitch within the time constraints of an elevator ride. Many consider this to be 30 to 60 seconds — a very brief period of time indeed.

I think shorter is better — most business professionals should target 30 seconds for their pitch as opposed to 60. So, what's your pitch? What can you tell prospects in 30 seconds to whet their appetite, offer a taste of your services and leave them wanting to know more? A great elevator pitch is more difficult than you might think and requires refinement and rehearsal.

Here are a few tips for developing your elevator pitch:

  1. Make it short and simple;
  2. Minimize jargon;
  3. If you focus on a certain niche, such as group benefits, transportation, construction or PLI, "verticalize" your elevator pitch. This will quickly differentiate your agency from the competition;
  4. If you service a specific geographical area, note it. (For example: California, Texas, the Northeast, the Midwest);
  5. Be different. "Save money" and "great service" are things everyone says. What are your top two or three differentiators? Why should your prospect work with your agency?; and
  6. Transfer enthusiasm. You must believe in your solution before your prospect will.

You have 30 to 60 seconds before your prospect steps off the elevator and vanishes forever. But if you're prepared, this moment could turn into a great opportunity. Make it count with a succinct, high impact, statement of value.

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