An elevator pitch is a very succinct means of stating what you are all about. The concept is that if you had just a few seconds to make your case to a stranger in an elevator before the doors open, what would you say and how would you say it? It is commonly referred to as a “sales pitch” but more and more, people are catching on to the sentiment that the best sales pitch is no pitch at all.
So, as stated, I think of it as a succinct means of stating what you are all about, rather than a succinct sales pitch. Meanwhile, several books, articles and TED Talks have become very popular, encouraging us to emphasize “why” rather than “what.”
For example, Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “How Great Leaders Inspire” urges us to communicate our ideas, goods and services by starting with why anyone should care, how it satisfies the “why”, and finally what “it” is, rather than the reverse order we commonly see.
Creating a succinct message can be far more difficult than creating a lengthy one. There are many schools of thought on the subject but here is one more that I stumbled upon in my own work. Just as the best sales pitch is no pitch at all, the best way to write an elevator pitch may be to not write one…at least not directly.
Here is a process to explain what I mean.
Step 1 – Write a vision statement
Your vision statement should be simple. A sentence or two that looks in to the future and defines what it is you see. There is no right or wrong because it is your vision. There is “more effective”, but there is no “wrong.”
Amazon’s vision statement is often used as a good example and is as follows – “Our vision is to be Earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”
My own vision statement is – The vision for Business is ART is that small to medium sized businesses (SMB) are dramatically more successful – improving their odds by at least 30 to 50 percent.
Step 2 – Write a mission statement
There is a difference between a mission statement and a vision statement. The vision statement is what you see in an ideal world, sometime out in the future. The mission statement is what you do. Not why you do it. What you do.
As an example, my mission statement is – To provide entrepreneurs, businesses and organizational leaders with the easy to use tools that they need.
Step 3 – Write a Purpose Statement
Now write your purpose statement. Your purpose is different than your mission. Purpose is the emotional hook. It’s why you follow your mission. I know, I know. Simon says, “Start with Why,” and here I am including it as Step 3, but stay with me for a minute.
My purpose statement is – To help others to feel less overwhelmed, get organized and focus.
Step 4 – Write the Elevator Pitch
Now you have everything you need to write your elevator pitch and it becomes a very easy task because all you need to do is mash together the vision, mission and purpose statements you just wrote. The difference? We’re going to start with why.
In other words, we will create the elevator pitch from the purpose, mission and vision statements in that order.
In my case, that becomes:
“I help entrepreneurs and small to medium sized business and organizational leaders to feel less overwhelmed and be dramatically more successful.
By providing simple to use tools, information and the experience they need to get organized and focused, Business is ART can help them increase their odds by 30 to 50 percent or more.”
Why, How, What
Now, using Sinek’s approach, let’s break it down:
- Why? You are overwhelmed and would like to be more successful (purpose).
- How? With simple to use tools (mission).
- What? Business is ART (vision).
Hopefully the response is, “Gee, I DO feel overwhelmed and alone at times. And I do want to be more successful. 30% to 50% you say? Tell me more.”