Elevator Pitch! 44 Tips For The Succinctly Definitive Entrepreneur

AIMCLEAR is thrilled to be in Washington, D.C. to attend the Inc. 500/5000 conference again. Each year some of the fastest growing business players, successful entrepreneurs, headline-making trendsetters, and out-of-the-box innovators come together for three days of community and confluence. We’re picking up the Inc. hardware again, capping another fantastic 3-year period of growth.  Inc. attendees are innovators, not just followers. We’re here to learn, share, cultivate valuable contacts, and gather resources.


Last year at this conference we quickly learned that elevator pitches can be harder than they seem. Amongst such a brilliant crowd, quickly differentiating a company can be a challenge.  We were struck by the awesome reality that many hundreds of focused, high-achieving and innovative entrepreneurs were in attendance. The crowd was comprised of the fastest growing privately held companies in America so it took a lot, more or less, to stand out conversationally in explaining what AIMCLEAR actually does. This year, after hard work and deeper research into elevator pitch theory, we’re more ready to provide a quick summary that succinctly defines AIMCLEAR‘s products and value proposition. Coming to that elevator pitch was more work than one would expect.

AIMCLEAR is an international online marketing agency, dominant in audience targeting and customer acquisition. We wrote the book on social PPC and content distribution.”

In preparation for this year’s event we scoured and curated top publications and blogger-evangelists  to mine contemporary elevator pitch composition wisdom and tips. We’re pleased to share that research with you, in summary. We hope you’ll follow the links for greater detail from the publications we’ve cited and quoted. These posts are all really worthy reads, so do follow the links back to the detail.

Your Elevator Pitch Stinks. Here’s How to Fix It, Marla Tabaka, Inc.

  • Start with a hook: When someone asks, “What do you do,” start with a short statement designed to pique his or her curiosity.
  • Stop Talking: After a successful hook, don’t launch into a sales pitch or commercial.
  • Reel them in: A hook/reel combination like this will normally lead to the question, “what do you mean.” Now you’ve earned the right to give them details.
  • Serve don’t sell: Remain focused on your listener’s needs, not on your needs. The more you give to the world, the more the world gives back.

How to Create an Elevator Pitch, Jody Greene, Forbes

  • It’s OK for it to sound a bit sales-y as long as the concept is clearly communicated.
  • Check for “stop” words, or words that make the person you are speaking to take pause.
  • Avoid buzzwords or corporate jargon whenever possible.
  • Try utilizing a question in your pitch.

6 Tips for Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch, Dwight Peters, Entrepreneur

  • Make them care: introduce yourself and address a problem right out of the gate. Explain the benefits your company can offer, which is ultimately a real solution.
  • Make it easy to join: If you have worked with some big name brands already, or even the competitors of the person that you are pitching to, don’t be afraid to mention that.
  • Leave them wanting more: Confidently broadcast that you know exactly what you’re doing.
  • Have a call to action: You did this pitch for a reason right?  Let them know exactly what you want from them.
  • Be natural: Get comfortable with your pitch. You don’t want to sound like a pre-recorded program.
  • Test yourself: It’s good to get as much feedback as possible.

The Problem With Your Elevator Pitch And How To Fix It, Deborah Grayson Riegel, Fast Company

  • Don’t speak the way you write.
  • Utilize common vernacular (a/k/a, use the simplest language possible).
  • Turn your pitch into a question.
  • Practice saying your pitch out loud, with feedback.
  • Be willing to forgo your pitch entirely.

Give the Perfect Elevator Pitch, Kevin Daum, Inc.

  • Connect with Empathy: Create a specific pain statement for the customers you want. You really only want to talk to people who are willing to pay for the problem you solve. Otherwise you are wasting your time and effort.
  • Offer an Objective Solution: So now they are listening and they just got vulnerable. No need to put them on the defensive. They are thinking you might be pretty smart and insightful. Don’t prove them wrong by trying to close just yet
  • Provide Differentiation: Now they are 90% there. The best way to close is by explaining why only you are the best to provide the solution they need. You have to ready a couple of points that truly differentiate you from your competition.

6 Tips For Crafting The Perfect Elevator Pitch, Adam Stone, BizJournals

  • Be prepared: It takes practice and preparation and self-editing to craft this clear, concise and compelling message.
  • Be different: If the idea you’re pitching isn’t unique, it won’t sell.
  • Back up your claims: Give some evidence that your idea can fly.
  • Engage the listener: Of course, to get started, you need to be a listener. Even the time-constrained elevator pitch is, at heart, a conversation.
  • Calm down: An elevator pitch isn’t a performance. It’s an honest presentation of one’s business, and it needs to come off honest and authentic.
  • Make it real: Authenticity is vital: Few people will want to do business with a partner who seems artificial. The very brief pitch is a chance to let the real you shine.

Creating The Perfect Elevator Pitch, Kerrie MacPherson, Forbes  & CEO Magazine

  • Define your parameters. An elevator pitch should be no more than three or four short sentences.
  • Explain who you are. Credentialize yourself. Explain your professional persona and don’t undersell your role.
  • Describe your business in clear terms. Don’t talk about what your business does or makes but what it does for others.
  • Cut the jargon. Avoid industry terminology.
  • Express your vision: Where is your market headed, and what are the near-term and long-range goals for your business?
  • Leave them wanting more. Don’t put everything in the pitch; just pique their interest enough to get a prompt response.

How to Write a Better Elevator Pitch, Geoffrey James, Inc.

  • What you think is an elevator pitch will actually alienate customers. Instead, have a conversation that creates a real sales opportunity.
  • Position Your Firm: This is a carefully crafted sentence (that’s just one sentence, folks) that describes who you are and what you do for your customers.
  • Differentiate Your Firm: Reveal one or two facts that prove your uniqueness.
  • Open a Conversation: Ask open-ended questions, rather than something that can be answered with a simple yes-or-no answer.
  • Ask for a Meeting: Aim to discuss the matter in more detail–so you can drop the business talk and go back to discussing, say, how lovely the cucumber salad looks.

Six Simple And Irresistible Alternatives To The Elevator Pitch, Carmine Gallo, Forbes

  • The one-word pitch: The ultimate pitch for an era of short attention spans begins with a single word.
  • The question pitch: Research is cited out of Ohio State University that shows, when facts are clearly on your side, pitching with questions is more effective than pitching with a statement.
  • The rhyming pitch: Pitches that rhyme increase processing fluency.
  • The subject-line pitch. This pitch technique is based on Carnegie Mellon research into emails—what gets opened and what doesn’t.
  • The Pixar pitch. This technique is a way to organize your pitch in story form.

So now it’s your turn. Ready? You’re chatting with a marvelous potential business contact.  You’re on fire, excited and thinking, “Wow, I bet we could really serve this person’s company.” The chemistry seems splendid for slightly deeper introductions and the dynamic feels natural. Then, BOOM, she asks outright, “So… what does your company do?” Are you ready for this clarion call to glory?  How organized and thoughtful will your response be?


Image: © Kirill Zdorov – Fotolia

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