Use This Framework to Master the Art of the Elevator Pitch

Eric Hurst
Oct 11, 2017 · 5 min read

Your elevator pitch is crucial. It communicates your product in a succinct and compelling manner. Great elevator pitches cause people to take action.

This framework is designed to create a clear and concise elevator pitch. By the end of this post you should have a succinct description of:

  • who your product is for
  • the problem it solves
  • what differentiates your product in the marketplace
  • what your product does

Notice that the elevator pitch does not start with what your product does. It starts with who will most benefit from your product. This is important. Consumers want to know if a product is right for them more than what it does.

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

While this framework¹ is not the only way you may craft a great elevator pitch, it is the one with which we have had the most success.

For [the individual or group]

who [has an unmet need],

the [product]

is a [concise explanation of your product]

that [high level description of what your product does].

Unlike [your main competitors]

our product [differentiator description].

For the most part, this is pretty straightforward. However, it becomes more difficult the further down the framework you move. Typically the last three lines (that, Unlike, and our product) are the most difficult to communicate in a concise manner.

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The first part of your elevator pitch is dependent on where you are in the lifecycle of your product. If you are in the idea or planning stage, you should focus on the demographic most likely to be your early adopter. If you have an existing product, and are releasing a new version, or a spin off product, you probably have a different demographic. Regardless, you should pick one, and only one, customer on which to focus your elevator pitch. You can always create additional pitches for other demographics.

For the purposes of this exercise, we will assume you have no product in the marketplace, and so you are focused on early adopters.

Our mock product will be an app for remembering people you randomly meet. We’ve determined we want to focus on people that frequently network for business. We’ll get even more niche, and focus on outside sales people. Using the framework, the first line might look something like:

  • For outside sales reps…

Next we need to define the problem our early adopters are experiencing. We’ve done our research, and know that our outside sales people have a hard time remembering the names of, and meaningful details about, the people they meet at networking events. So the next line in our elevator pitch will read:

  • who want to remember names and details about the people they meet,

Remember, focus on only one customer type and problem at this point.

Photo by Álvaro Bernal on Unsplash

Now that we have the customer and their problem stated, it’s time for a brief product statement. Given that this is an elevator pitch the product statement needs to state:

  • the product title or name
  • what the product is
  • what the product does

The third line of our framework is the and it’s meant to preface the name of the product. However, your product’s title may not require the. Our mock app does not, so we will omit it for this exercise and simply use the name of the app, Jog. Now we can move on to the fourth line in the framework.

We’ve established who Jog is for, the problem they have, and introduced the name. Now the elevator pitch should get to what your product is.

  • is an app

That’s it. Don’t overcomplicate it. If your product is a hair brush, simply say that it is a hair brush. Remember, you have mere moments to capture a persons attention and peak their curiosity. Superfluous adjectives like revolutionary, disruptive, game-changing and other filler words are sure to induce an eye roll from even the least cynical. Besides, you have the next part of the statement to shine.

This is the part of your product statement that defines what your product actually does for the customer you previously defined.

  • that resurfaces unique details about an acquaintance in a moments notice.

And just like that we have the first part of our exceptional elevator pitch. If we’ve done our jobs right, this should peak enough curiosity in the receiver, and set them up for what’s next: our competitive advantage.

Let’s just review what we have so far.

  • For outside sales reps who want to remember names and details about people they meet, Jog is an app that resurfaces unique details about an acquaintance in a moments notice.
Photo by Christian Stahl on Unsplash

With our customer and product statement established, it’s time to tell our listener why our product is destined for success and not just a clone. In one sentence we need to establish a primary competitor, and our product’s differentiator. We’ll start with the competitor.

  • Unlike most CRMs

See what we did there? By referencing a type of competitor you can set your product apart from an entire industry. Investors love a good disruption, so if you think your product has the ability to disrupt an industry don’t be afraid to use this tactic. Regardless, this line needs to setup the next part which states the primary way your product is different.

  • our product utilizes memories about a conversation to prep the customer for a follow up meeting.

In the case of our product, we want to establish that Jog does not rely on the typical name, email, phone number type details. Rather, Jog uses those interesting little factoids surfaced in a conversation to jog the persons memory. You may not remember a name, but you remember that the person just took a vacation in Mexico.

That’s it! Let’s look at our elevator pitch.

  • For outside sales reps who want to remember names and details about people they meet, Jog is an app that resurfaces unique details about an acquaintance in a moments notice.
  • Unlike most CRMs, our product utilizes memories about a conversation to prep the customer for a follow up meeting.

This elevator pitch is built to elicit a response. Ideally the person you’re pitching will respond with, Oh really? That’s different. Tell me more.

Perfect. That’s your chance to get into a little more detail about exactly how your product works.

Conclusion

Imagine you have 60 seconds or less to grab a persons attention as they are walking into a meeting. A great elevator pitch is crucial for quickly communicating your product to a would be customer, or potential investor. It must be clear, concise, and leave the person curious to know more.

Using this framework, you can be confident your pitch is refined and effective.

Ideas by Crema

All of our thoughts and ideas.

Thanks to George Brooks

Eric Hurst

Written by

I’ve never written anything worth reading.

Ideas by Crema

All of our thoughts and ideas.

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