Stop Wasting Golden Networking Opportunities: Why a Company-Wide Elevator Pitch is a Must and How to Craft Yours

People & Culture

Are you guilty of wasting golden networking opportunities? If you don’t have a fine-tuned elevator pitch for your company, the answer is probably yes! 


Luckily, there’s an easy solution. 


Whether it’s an official networking event or another social setting in which you or your colleagues happen to meet new people, it’s incredibly helpful to have a memorable introduction to who you are and what you do. 


Armed with the perfect elevator pitch, you can turn any interaction into a golden networking opportunity, whether it’s at a conference, on a bus, or at your child’s soccer game.


Why a Great Company Elevator Pitch Is Important


Let’s say you go to a networking event or a dinner party, shake hands with someone new, and say “Hi, I’m Bob – I run a digital transformation company.” Perhaps the other person responds with a similar introduction (snore) and you both go on your merry way. This is a wasted opportunity. Chances are that person heard your introduction and thought ‘So what?’ and has forgotten what you do as soon as they walk away.


Or imagine a member of your team (let’s say your head of production) is at her child’s soccer game and meets another parent. She says, “Hi, I’m Jane and I do production at x, y, z company.” Then, the conversation turns to the kids playing soccer.


Another wasted opportunity.


Every single person in your business is in sales. Each time a representative of your company meets someone, there is an opportunity to get the word out about what you do for your customers. If they are not aligned around the messaging to introduce your business, you’re missing a golden opportunity to promote what you do.


Having an elevator pitch is absolutely not about schmoozing or pushing a hard sell. What an elevator pitch is about is preparing any member of your team to introduce what your company does in a way that elicits an “Oh, that’s interesting! Tell me more…” reaction rather than a (yawn) “Who cares” reaction.


How Do I Create an Elevator Pitch for My Company?


If you’ve been to any sort of formal networking group, you know the pain of having to stand up in front of everyone and introduce yourself and your business. This usually involves throwing out a simple catchphrase and hoping to get referrals. It’s kind of a waste of time.


The real magic comes when everyone in your business is able to answer a very simple question: What do we do? 


The question of what your business does is broken down into a few different elements.


3 Things Your Elevator Pitch Should Include


Here are the 3 essential questions that provide the building blocks of the perfect elevator pitch:


  • Who is your target customer?

When you’re explaining what your business does in one or two sentences, you want the person across from you to either say “Oh, that’s me!” or “I know someone like that.” By being as clear as possible about who your target customer is, you’ll be able to make more tangible connections when networking.


  • What problems do you solve for your customers?

Instead of merely saying what your company does, turn that around to describe the problems you solve for your target customer.


Let’s go back to Bob who introduced his business as a digital transformation company. What makes this description boring is that it’s all about the company. When you shift the focus from yourself to who you help and how you help them, the answer becomes much more interesting. If Bob had said something more like, “We work with mid-sized businesses to help them implement new technologies.” that would be far more specific and interesting.


  • What is the outcome you create for your customer?


Now that you’ve defined your target audience and what problems you solve for them, add in the positive outcomes you create for them that will help them grow their business faster. For example, “We work with mid-size businesses to maximize their investments in technology so they can increase productivity, revenue, and profitability.”


Now you’ve talked about who the customer is and the outcome of working with your business. If I was a mid-sized business, I’d want to hear more! Your goal should be to make the person curious. “Tell me more” are the magic words that start an actual sales conversation.


What is an Example of an Elevator Pitch?


When you start building your elevator pitch, start simply using the three questions above. The first sentence defines your customer, the problem you solve, and the outcomes you get. The second sentence can delve into how you do that and what makes you unique. Don’t try to get too creative at first.


We do x for y so we can get z result. We use ____ methodology and we’re unique because ________. 


Once you have this statement in place, you can begin spicing it up. There are several different formats an elevator pitch can have, and there is no one correct one. Just make sure your elevator pitch is short and to the point, uses your customer’s language, and lives your brand and values!


Some of the best elevator pitches start with a question to catch interest and then allow you to explain how you solve that problem. For example, you might ask an HR professional “Would you enthusiastically rehire everyone on your team?”. If they say no, you can launch into your pitch, which might go something like, “Well we work with medium-sized businesses to help them develop a culture they love and build an outstanding team that can achieve the results you’re looking for.”


Another option for a memorable elevator pitch is to make it funny (if it suits your company’s personality). You might also start with a pain point, statistic, or weird fact. For example, “Did you know that 72% of companies fail to execute their strategic plan? We guide you to create a plan that actually works and execute it flawlessly so that you can grow your business.” 


All you’re trying to do is capture interest, so choose the format that best expresses what your company does. A fun way to come up with your elevator pitch is to get your whole team involved – after all, more brains should equal more genius! As a business strategy consultant, I’ve seen companies hold a competition for the best pitch within the team. 


Remember that the elevator pitch should be short and sweet enough that anyone in the business can remember it. So that when they meet someone who asks them what they do, they can answer confidently and possibly even find a new opportunity for your business. 

Get in touch with us to learn how we can help you think through your company-wide elevator pitch.

Mike Knapp


Mike has been helping businesses achieve their goals for more than 20 years. He believes there is a better way for business owners and leaders to build their businesses and achieve their big goals. As a Gravitas Impact Premium coach, he leverages the 7 Attributes of Agile Growth™ to simplify the art of strategy and discipline of execution.

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