How to quickly create a strong elevator pitch

Elevator Pitch

I am constantly amazed by the number of elevator pitches I read that are either not elevator pitches, or are just plain bad. Every executive, marketing and sales person needs one for their company and proposition, and everyone who wants to increase their reputation and network needs a personal elevator pitch too.

Here is a simple formula for creating a great elevator pitch, but before that it is worth a quick reminder what an elevator pitch is. It is a brief statement that encapsulates your sales or personal message in a few sentences, and can be delivered in 30 seconds or less. The original idea was based on the scenario of a CEO of a potential customer unexpectedly getting into the same elevator as you, and asking the question “what do you do?” You have just a few seconds to wow him with your compelling message before the doors open and he is gone.

Imagine that you are at a networking event or milling around before a conference starts. You greet a stranger and they say “what do you do?” You have a few seconds to engage them before their eyes glaze over or they spot an old buddy. If you haven’t memorized an elevator pitch you could flounder and lose the opportunity. The simple formula is:

  1. Who you are (person or company)
  2. What great things happen as a result of what you do
  3. Who you do it for
  4. How you do it (optional)
  5. Why you or your company is better than anyone else.

The first point is obvious but don’t waste precious seconds bragging about how big, rich, popular or successful you are because they don’t care at that point.

The second and third points are easy if you use the simple starter “We help…” because you introduce the customer and benefit right at the beginning.

Here is an example from Pure Potential.

“My name is Neville Merritt, director at Pure Potential. Through coaching, we help leaders build their capability to lead their teams with clarity and confidence. We also work with groups of talented individuals to help them become high-performing teams.

We work with fast-growing companies and large multi-nationals in high tech, pharma and finance sectors including Dell, Microsoft, AbbVie and HSBC.

We are measured on the tangible results that we achieve with our clients. Recent examples include a regional leader promoted to world-wide responsibility, and a faltering team transformed and exceeding targets.”

So, having mastered an elevator pitch for your sales or marketing role, why not have one ready to enhance your career prospects if the opportunity should arise?

“My name is John Smith. I help.…” You get the idea.


By Neville Merritt, Director, Pure Potential