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3 Quick Ways to Shorten Your Elevator Pitch

Thanks to Gail who read this article and posted a new attempt at her Elevator Pitch:

“I partner with business owners, leaders and their teams to reduce the hidden cost of conflict in their business by improving communication and performance – which results in happier more productive teams and a healthier bottom line.”

She’s on the right track.

Now it’s time to tighten it up a little.

So here are 3 quick ways she can shorten her Elevator Pitch:

1. Drop the ‘And’

Any time you say “and” in an Elevator Pitch it loses all its punch.

So the first step is “I work with business owners to reduce the hidden cost of conflict by improving communication which leads to better performance.

But that’s still too long and way too generic…

2. Be More Specific

“Hidden cost of conflict” sounds like something she would say, not her clients. Because I bet that no one has ever approached her to solve their “hidden cost of conflict” problem.

So why do they approach her? What is the hidden cost? Absenteeism? Stalled projects?

How about “I work with business owners to restart stalled projects.”

You’ll notice that this defines “better performance” as “restart stalled projects.” The more specific the better!

3. Focus on the Problem

She’s still giving away too much of her secret sauce. People care more about what she does than how she does it. She improves communication, sure. That’s how she solves their problem.

But she wants her Elevator Pitch to be about the problem itself.

For example: “I eliminate conflict from the workplace.

“Wow! How do you do that?” someone will ask. That means that they are clear on what she does. Now they want to know the how. And this is when she can talk about a particular team she worked with that used to be in conflict and now is a finely tuned, high-performing team.

That starts a productive business conversation.

Want a shorter Elevator Pitch?

40 comments on “3 Quick Ways to Shorten Your Elevator Pitch

    1. Great start!

      3 observations:
      1. I don’t like the phrase “financially frustrated” because it’s hard to define and I don’t think people will naturally self select into that group.
      2. Employees and entrepreneurs are very different creatures. You can certainly work with both, but I would only market to one.
      3. I’d like to see you be more specific about “income goals.”

      Here are some ideas:
      I help business owners afford a vacation home
      I help new parents save for their kids education
      I help entrepreneurs retire at age 40

      Let me know your thoughts!

    1. Hi Ravi,

      This is a great start!

      The next step is to focus more on what you offer than how you offer it. In other words, you are using an offshore virtual team to do something. That something they are doing is more interesting than the type of team they are.

      I took a quick look at your website. How about:

      We convert legal case management systems from Windows to browser based applications.

      Let me know your thoughts.

      Andy

  1. In Lean Finance course, I work with the business owners to improve efficiency and speed by enhancing value-add activities and eliminating wastes.
    or
    As a Business trainer, I guide business owners to shape their companies into sexy ones!

    1. Hi James,

      You’ve got a good start here. The key is to be more specific.

      First, in terms of sexy, I encourage you to be more specific about what that means. Does it mean that their business is growing, is more profitable, is a great place to work, …? The more you can name the particular problem that’s on their mind right now, the more interested they’ll be in talking to you.

      Second, “efficiency, speed, and value-add” are too vague. Instead, your Elevator Pitch should answer one or more of the following questions:
      1. How does the business define efficiency and speed?
      2. What’s an example of a value-add activity?
      3. What’s the biggest way businesses waste their money?

      Here are two examples I made up. Feel free to modify them to reflect the success you’ve had with one of your clients:
      “I help non-profits streamline their accounting to free up more money for their cause.”
      “I offer training programs that encourage small businesses to promote from within.”

      Let me know your thoughts!

  2. Hi Andy, I have just found your website – what an amazing resource. Thank you for helping so many people.

    I am struggling as I do a lot of things for people but it all boils down to:

    “I help my clients to solve their business problems”

    Is that too vague? I know this is only a conversation starter and that I can add specifics in the next couple of sentences.

    Thank you for any help you can provide.

    1. Hi Joanne,
      Thank you for the kind words.
      Your goal with the Elevator Pitch is to differentiate yourself and attract referrals.
      “I help my clients solve their business problems” doesn’t do either of these.
      1. Everyone solves business problems. That’s the definition of business. So it doesn’t differentiate you in any way.
      2. With no specifics about who your clients are or what kinds of problems you solve, I could be talking to a perfect client for you and not have any idea that they are a perfect client.
      The real issue, though, is that specifics are what start the conversation. If you’re too vague, you won’t even get into enough of a conversation to have the opportunity to clarify. Which is why I like to be very clear and concise right up front.
      A good place to start is with a specific customer that you helped. I looked at your website and came up with:
      “I lead projects in the highly regulated Water and Local Government Sectors that integrate client and consultant teams.”
      Let me know your thoughts!

  3. Hi there,

    I’ve been working on my elevator pitch for about six months, it keeps changing as I grow into my business. Here’s the scenerio I teach creative people and or artists art and leadership through workshops in the studio or through webinars.

    My elevator pitch: I help creative people walk in their own power.
    OR
    I help artistic people walk in their own power.

    My Company: Is a small business, I am Native Studio Art training artists to think art in business through leadership workshops with an artistic touch. I’m happy to report that I used knowledge of the economy of my city, principles of John Maxwell for leadership to identify my workshops and courses that I provide.
    My name is Barbara and I love working with people in the arts, and sharing the impact leadership has in building of self confidence.

    What do you think?
    Much work, or what would you do to fix my elevator pitch? I still think its vague.

    1. Thanks for posting your Elevator Pitch! I took a look at your website and it looks like you are at an exciting time in your business.

      The testimonial from Jorg Schlagheck says it all. He sees “measurable results in [his] business.”

      So it sounds like you help artists with the business of being an artist.

      How about:

      “I help artists make money from their art.”

      I might even take it a step further:

      “I help sculptors make money from their art” or
      “I help painters make money from their art”

      The more specific you can be, the better.

      In terms of your longer Elevator Pitch, it feels vague to you because you’re focusing on the how (leadership workshops, principles of John Maxwell) rather than the what (artist is now selling more art).

      Something like:

      “I was working with a very talented painter who was having trouble booking herself into art shows. After going through my “Business of Art” workshop she now averages two shows a month and has tripled her monthly sales of her paintings.”

      Let me know your thoughts.

      1. Hi Andy,
        I reread an article you wrote a cold call solution to a networking opportunity, some really good examples of a lady wanting to do “lunch and learns” when her target market was “moms.”

        I’m having similar problems, while I “help artists sell more artwork” I have this distraction about art and how it fits into business. Still on a tight budget here but I’d like to know what a 30 or 60 minute consultation would cost me? I’m all over the board on the target market. Inbox me, and thank you for your expertise.

  4. Hi Andy,

    I am glad that I have found your incredibly useful website. I would like to use an elevator pitch efficiently and effectively that it spark the interest of the listener and I not only get a job but also gain people trust and respect.I have gone through your blog and based on your online questionnaire, please find below my answer.

    Answer to “What do you do”

    I am a huntsman. I hunt for investment opportunities especially in equities and real estate sector.

    Elevator Pitch
    I have identified many investment opportunities for my client – let me share an example of a successful investment.

    As a Consultant at Company name I was responsible to identify best investment destinations.

    I am happy to report that I used knowledge of the economy of cities, principles of mosaic theory and on-ground research to identify destinations to invest in and our clients – marquee developers – was quite appreciative of the findings.
    My name is HVG and I’m interested in prospect to work on identifying investment opportunities.

    Andy, request you to review it and suggest changes so that it feels like a music to the ears of the listener.

    Thanks

    1. Hello!

      You’ve done some great work on your Elevator Pitch using the material on the website.

      First I would say that you do not want something that is music to people’s ears. You want something that starts a conversation and teaches them how to prospect for you.

      I have just two observations to strengthen what is already a solid Elevator Pitch:

      1. I wouldn’t say you’re a huntsman. It’s a clever metaphor, but I think it’s an unnecessary distraction. It’s better to just say what you do and for whom.
      “I help marquee developers identify good investments in equities and real estate.”

      2. You have some great specifics in your success story, and I want a few more. I can understand if you don’t want to share the actual company name, but if you can at least share the industry that would be better. Also, if you could name a couple of the investments (instead of just calling them destinations to invest in) those specifics would help too.
      For example: I was working with a hotel chain to identify good investment opportunities. I’m happy to report that I used knowledge of the economy of cities, principles of mosaic theory and on-ground research to identify several distressed properties and undeveloped lots that met their requirements.
      My name is HVG and I’m love identifying real estate investment opportunities.

      Let me know your thoughts.

      Andy

  5. Hello,

    I ran through the Elevator Pitch Creator a couple of times. Read through the helpful “3 Quick Ways to Shorten Your Elevator Pitch”. Restructured the two results provided (shown above) to resulted in the following edited version , because you’re right “it did not make much sense” for my needs and the position I will be interviewing for in the coming days with a Director and CEO with an organization that varies greatly from my diverse marketing communications background.

    My restructuring of both results combined resulted in:

    Answer to “What do you do”

    Elevator Pitch:
    As a marketing communications professional, I have a lot of experience in trade show and event management, public relations, creative direction, internal and external communications, so let me share an example of a successful trade show from my last organization.

    Charged with event management for the position, I discovered early during the planning stages that while we had partnered with another Parker division to have a booth at the PowerGen trade show, so too did Parker Corporate Headquarters.

    I am happy to report, my trade show management skills devised a public relations campaign, which I pitched to both teams that ultimately brought the teams together for weekly event meetings. Resulting in increased booth traffic for both booths included increased booth leads, as well as reduced any possible confusion on show floor for attendees.

    1. Sharon, you’ve got a great Elevator Pitch here. Thank you for sharing your thought process and your approach to using our material.

      If you want to shorten it further, how about: “I help coordinate trade show events for multiple teams within the same company.”

      Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

      Andy

  6. Answer to “What do you do.”
    I help patient education companies teach their clients good self care.

    Elevator Pitch
    We offer a broad range of solutions, so let me share a recent client success.

    An Internet patient education business approached me through my website because they were searching for a writer with medical expertise.

    We served their needs, and our company was retained for ongoing projects maintenence that addressed their need for an writer or medical expert. Retaining my services gives them long term continued and consistent patient compliance.

    My name is Shirley Ulbrich, owner operator at Shirley Ulbrich, and if you want to avoid the 7 biggest mistakes we see when companies need medical expertise and writing, just hand me your business card to receive our white paper.

    PS. This particular project entails training immigrant nurses for nursing homes in Australia. (Language barrier) – I normally write for blogs, and provide medical-themed content in a “mostly” conversational, layman’s style & format. Are you seeing this in the elevator speech I gave? Should I add more? Thanks so very much for your help!

    1. Hi Shirley,

      Your P.S. is your Elevator Pitch. It’s not about adding more. It’s about stripping away everything that isn’t about you writing medical themed blogs.

      Answer to “What do you do”
      I write medical-themed content that patients can understand.

      In terms of your 30-Second Elevator Pitch, I’m not clear on what you did for the nursing home (was it writing manuals? in person training? curriculum development?). If that project isn’t a good example of what you normally do, (i.e. writing medical-themed blogs) then I suggest picking a client success story that’s closer to your core programs.

  7. I help businesses teach nurses good patient care in various settings.

    I do several things for business, so let me give you an example. I am currently working with an Australia firm, training newly hired immigrants to learn to communicate in an nursing and hospital environment. I help keep the environment safe for all.

    1. Hi Shirley,

      This is a great start. I want you to be more specific about the type of business, the type of patient care, and the setting.
      I help hospitals teach emergency room nurses how to take better care of the patient’s family.
      I help outpatient clinic nurses set up their stations more efficiently.

    1. This is great! Thank you for doing such important work.

      You can shorten it to: “We help blood banks track blood requests online.”

      Or, how about “We help blood banks manage online blood requests.”

      Thanks again!

  8. Hi Andy,

    I am so happy that I have found your incredibly useful website. I would like to confidently answer an elevator pitch swiftly that will spark the interest and raise eyebrows. Per your online questionaire, see my answer below.

    Answer to “What do you do”
    I help Community Based Organization-Non-Profit companies fix working with clients who were initially unwilling to change their status quo..

    Elevator Pitch
    I have a lot of experience so let me share an example of a successful project.

    I joined the project because Community Coordinator with my dad’s non-profit organization. to help a Community Based Organization-Non-Profit solve their working with clients who were initially unwilling to change their status quo..

    I am happy to report that I used my persuasive communication via direct marketing phone calls, and letters to immigration officials, landlords. The results? tenants, clients were granted face to face appointments with immigration, clemency with regards to housing, job prospects. and Motivation, encouragement, relating to their issues and concerns. to roll out the project on time and our client now Satisfaction in witnessing the gradual transition from homelessness to productive members of society..

    My name is Joy McClendon and I’m interested in opportunities to work on working with clients who were initially unwilling to change their status quo..

    1. Thanks for posting an awesome question.

      The key to a short Elevator Pitch is to specifically name the group of people you work with, and the action you want them to take.

      You have a lot of great information in this pitch, and while I’m certain you’re doing incredible work, I’m not sure exactly who you were working with and for and what your role was.

      Here are a few options:

      ————–

      1. I help homeless people transition to productive members of society.

      2. I help non-profits get their clients through legal roadblocks

      3. I help immigrants become legal and find jobs and housing

      —————

      Let me know which one is closest to what you do, or feel free to suggest another if I’ve taken this in the wrong direction.
      Thanks again.

      1. Here’s Joy’s response:
        Your timely response is appreciated. I am presently interviewing for positions working as a Community Coordinator-Aftercare Specialist. I will be responsible for helping the less fortunate reconnect in society and become productive once they are discharged from shelters. I included my dad’s organization, since the tasks were the similar.

        The job will consist of ensuring that clients are assisted with apartment searches, talking to landlords and or brokers, education, training, job development and placement assistance. I will also work to connect with them with available government resources such as insurance (Medicaid), mental and or physical health screenings, etc. This is the primary reason why I included the (3) key points. (Thank you for your help). I just want to include everything that I do which will correlate with the job with the ultimate goal of showing the employer how I can assist with changing lives.

        1. That sounds good.

          It’s a good idea to limit what you talk about in your Elevator Pitch, because you can’t possibly cover everything you do in just a few sentences.

          You’ve got a good pitch right there in your first paragraph:

          I help the homeless become productive members of society once they are discharged from shelters.

          Though I think you can shorten it even further:

          I help the homeless become productive members of society.

          The goal is for someone to say something like “Oh, how do you do that?” and then you can provide all the other details.

  9. We offer a broad range of services in bookkeeping, payroll, and tax preparation to small businesses, which enable them to achieve significant improvements in profitability. In addition, we also advise clients on financial strategies by providing advice on methods for lowering a client’s tax burden and also ensure that our clients are aware of regulatory changes.

    1. The key to shortening your Elevator Pitch is to pick one thing (one type of client, and one result for that client) to talk about. I’m not suggesting that you stop offering products. I’m suggesting that you pick the product that’s most engaging to the people you want to talk to.

      Something like:

      We help non-profit animal rescue leagues put more money towards caring for unwanted pets.

    1. That’s a great job getting it shorter! The next step is to make it more specific. Think about a specific kind of client and what healthy means to them.

      I help mothers have more energy for their children.
      I help employers cut the number of sick days in half.

      Notice that while you may get results through hygiene and cleanliness, the focus of the Elevator Pitch is always who is getting what results.

  10. Here is what i am starting with. I need some help!

    I’m a Production Manager with 20 years experience driving growth in manufacturing. I’m a transformative leader who loves making companies better by leveraging my ability to identify opportunities and then find solutions through innovation. My passion is helping people discover their innate talents and applying them to help reach higher levels of individual and organizational success. I strongly believe that by understanding the critical value of inspiring people, and by investing in and focusing on their talents, you’re able to boost employee and customer engagement. This enables an organization to achieve significant improvements in profitability.

    1. Hi Jason, First step is to head over to the Elevator Pitch Creator. It takes less than a minute to answer a few questions and it will get you headed in the right direction. Any questions just email me the results from the Creator and we’ll take it from there.

  11. I am a Performance-focused executive, C-Level relationship builder, with more than 15+ years experience leading direct sales and Channel Partners in targeting and winning high-impact sales deals, for example, closing the “first-of-a-kind” $2,000,000 Product and Services contract with IBM Semiconductor, which became the catalyst for the creation of a $30,000,000 Business Unit

    1. Your post here combined with your Elevator Pitch Creator results are all you need to be very clear about what you’re looking for:

      “My favorite project was the one that had the biggest impact on my company’s bottom line. My role was to develop a strategic partnership with IBM. We launched and leveraged a semiconductor product to win a $2 million Global Contract with IBM. I’m happy to report that the initial project became the catalyst for creating a $30 million business unit. I’m interested in opportunities to develop high-impact strategic partnerships.”

    1. Hi Dan,

      I looked at your website and you list 13 possible applications for your technology, but don’t really explain how it works (or what the benefits are) for any of them. From what I understand, it’s easiest to explain your application in the context of a trade show. Here’s what I’d say:

      Have you ever tried to read the vendor map for a trade show? Tiny print and confusing legends means that both vendors and attendees miss a lot of opportunities to connect. Now imagine that you could call up an fully interactive map on your phone, including show specials, step-by-step directions to each location, and clickable links to vendor websites. Our online, interactive maps help event organizers connect attendees with vendors so that everyone has a great experience at the event. I’m interested in meeting event organizers who want their events to generate more and better leads for their vendors.

      The one liner is “I help trade show organizers connect vendors with attendees.”

      The key here is defining what type of information is on your maps, and why mini-websites are useful in that context. I’ve taken one approach, feel free to use details from the actual customers of your interactive maps.

      Let me know what you come up with.

    1. Great start! You can trust more in the intuition that led to your email address, because I don’t see you as a hairloss solution. Hairloss makes me think of surgery (Bosley) and creams (Rogaine). You make custom wigs. In fact, I think that’s your Elevator Pitch. “I make custom wigs for people who are losing their hair.”

    1. Hi Bryan,

      This is a great start! Thanks for taking the time to post.

      There are two quick ways to improve. First, I’d be more specific about “edgy” content strategies. Do you do print advertising, or email marketing, or dress people up as characters and send them to county fairs? Edgy means different things to different people, so if you can give a specific example of something edgy you did that gives people a better sense if your style is a match for their needs.

      Second, remove the “and”. Everyone is looking to increase revenue, so that’s not a great differentiator. I’d stick with brand awareness, though again I’d be specific about what that means. Is it making them a household name? Is it getting them noticed by local media? Is it driving organic (or pay per click) traffic to their website? The more specific the better.

      Let me know what you come up with!

      Andy

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