Every business needs an elevator pitch

How to make people notice first time around

To you, it’s obvious why your offering is going to change lives. But you don’t have time to talk every investor, partner or potential customer through all the reasons why. This is where an business elevator pitch makes all the difference.

Most Founders are beleaguered by the ‘curse of knowledge.’ You know everything there is to know about your product or service, so it’s easy to forget that other people don’t. It can be easy to start listing features without making the practical benefits clear – simply because they’re intuitive to you.

A memorable, inspiring business elevator pitch quickly paints a picture of the Founder’s Vision. Stakeholders can see who your target market is, why they need your product/service and why only you are placed to offer it. Most importantly though, it puts all of this into a language that anyone can understand, regardless of their knowledge level.

What they’re for

Elevator pitches could be used in a 20-second elevator ride (think 40 words or less) with a potential client. But they’re most useful in helping the client’s senior team to express the broad outlines of what they do in everyday language, with just enough emotional tone, so that people understand what they do and why the world needs them.

They are designed to be spoken in real situations.

Who uses them

Anyone in the client’s company, whether they’re talking to investors, helping employees understand what they do, briefing journalists… It’s useful for talking to anyone who doesn’t have the in-depth technical knowledge about their industry that they do.

What goes in one

Hook: catch someone’s attention, but also frame what you do.

Insight: show you understand their business, but express it in a way that reveals a deep understanding with a unique view. It should prompt the thought: Oh, I never thought of it that way.

We do: this shouldn’t be technical, but having framed how you look at the world, you should be in a position to express this in a simple, compelling and relevant way.

So you can: this is a thought, preferably a visualizable situation, that lingers in the listener’s head once they’ve stepped off the elevator and walked away. It’s like a tattoo — memorable and short, it captures what’s important.

How did Elon Musk do it?

“Why does Tesla exist? We have record CO2 levels in the atmosphere resulting in a steadily increasing temperature. And, it’s still climbing. … What can do to change this? How can we make a difference? What we’re trying to do with Tesla is accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport. At Tesla, we make great electric cars. This is really important for the future of the world.”


Some ways to start thinking about business elevator pitches


Wow: Start by saying something intriguing, or puzzling. Something that would make a person stop, engage, question.
How: Answer the (unspoken) question you just prompted.
Now: Shift into storytelling mode, of a concrete example, which begins with the phrase, “Now, for example, we’re doing…”


Situation: Create conflict. Illustrate the pain the customer faces.
Impact: Escalate the conflict. Explain the overall impact of the conflict – how it affects a company’s profits, market share, customer loyalty, or anything else important.
Resolution: Explain how you solve the problem, in terms of benefits matching those needs, (not products and services).


Verbal Identity works with national and global brands in the luxury and ultra-luxury sector, helping CEOs clarify their Vision and align the leadership team with it, often in less than 16 weeks.

We have developed our own proven methodology which has led to the successful investment of more than half a billion dollars. More than this, it has produced teams who are aligned and committed to the guiding Vision.

To learn more, talk with our Senior Partner, Chris West.

Read more about brand optimization here.

About Verbal Identity

We are writers, strategists and linguistics experts: super-specialists in the magic and mechanics of language. We know how language creates thinking. And how – if you shape the language of your company, your comms and your customers – you shape what people think and do, read more…

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