I’m Steve Davis and I’d like to talk about creating your perfect elevator pitch. The first thing you have to do is figure out what your goal in giving your pitch is.

Determine a Goal for Your Elevator Pitch

Most startups make the mistake of thinking that they’re going to make a sale in their first meeting. The thing is, statistics show that only 2 percent of all sales occur in the first meeting. So your goal in the first meeting or the first contact is to get the second meeting.

That’s the purpose of the elevator pitch, to generate enough interest that they say “tell me more, let’s set up another time to meet.” The problem is, you have to know what your goal is, just being interesting is not enough. Quite frankly I don’t care about you, most people don’t care about you. Your job in your elevator pitch is to make me want to care about you, tell me why I should be listening to you.

Most groups, when they talk about building elevator pitches, say an elevator pitch should be between one and two minutes long. Really, the ideal pitch should be 30 seconds, maybe 60 seconds maximum. And you only have 10 seconds to catch my attention. I’m from New York, and I’m only going to give you six seconds.

You also have to know who your audience is because your pitch is not going to be the same. Business school teaches you that your pitch is going to be the same no matter who you’re talking to. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Customize Your Pitch

You have to tailor it to your audience. so look at your core message as a plain muffin. I don’t like plain muffins, I like chocolate frosting. Look at it, as my wife says, as  a delivery vehicle for the frosting. Each audience is going to have a different flavor of frosting that they like. So you have your core message, and then you have to embellish it with what frosting or what messages they are going to be interested in. So you have to add the flavor that appeals.

What’s Your Hook?

You also have to know what your hook is? People will buy in on emotion, but they justify their buying with statistics and with logic. You have to understand why they buy. What is going to hook them? What is your hook going to be? Just statistics and just logic will not work. People buy on emotion and justify with statistics. You need to understand their real motivation.

What Motivates Your Client?

If you can identify with them, if you can drive their emotions to your ultimate conclusion, through a story that they can identify with, you’re better off.

Most companies just dryly go into stats – this is the product I do, this is the market we are going to go after, this is what we do, this is what we offer – I don’t care, that’s not enough to get me interested! You have to make an emotional connection. You have to be memorable, and you have to test it. You also have to practice it. The more you practice the better you are.

Pitches Should Be Natural

It has to be like a second nature to you. Second nature to make changes based on who the audience is. You may go into a networking environment, a major conference, and you may meet people that you have never met before in your life, in segments of the market that you’ve never addressed in life, and you have to be able to quickly adapt your core message to what’s going to influence them.