Every entrepreneur has learned just how important it is to make a great first impression and pitch your business to a new customer or a new investor. When you’ve got a minute or less to get their attention and share essential information about your business–the information that’s going to get your foot in the door, get your product into the right hands, or get money in your pocket–what do you say? What’s essential, and what’s not? I’m going to show you how you can craft the perfect elevator pitch with just five steps. When it’s time to create or fine-tune your elevator pitch use this 5-step approach I call my ITSME PitchTM.
The simple technique to nail your elevator pitch is to remember: I.T.S.M.E. “It’s Me!”
This essential sales pitch earned its name from the idea that it should be delivered in the short time it takes to share an elevator with someone who’s interested in your business–typically 30- to 60 seconds. The term has survived in the business and finance spaces for decades as the fabled elevator ride a hungry business owner lucks upon with the executive or venture capitalist on the way up to their corporate office. In essence, you never know who you’re on the elevator with so you better represent yourself well! Back then, your pitch would have been about features and financial information. Today, that elevator pitch is more about building a relationship that’s built on trust and relatability. It’s about sharing, “This is who I am, and this is what I’ve built my business on.” I’ve coined this sales pitch the “ITSME pitch”. It’s. Me. I’m not just selling my business here, I’m selling myself.
Want to see how easy it is to craft the perfect elevator pitch with just five steps?
The “I” in ITSME is the simple Introduction. As fundamental as this is, many people forget to simply introduce themselves! Make it a habit to share your name and/or your business name immediately. “Forgive the interruption, Ms. Executive! I’m Marceia Cork–I attended your webinar last week and you shared your frustration… Much like what you were taught in grade school, your statements should cover the basic who, what, when, where and why you’re meeting or how you were previously connected.
Do you have a Testimony? Trauma? Triumph? Your “T” might be any of these. Whatever it is, this is where you share your truth. Something from your past has helped shape your decision to start your business. And sharing that story is precisely what’s going to make you relatable. In social media marketing customers do business with people they like, know and trust. Sharing your truth gives people a glimpse into your life. Combined, that access and authenticity creates a bond as you also show them you trust them with your truth.
You’re the Solution. Now it’s time to offer up your service as the solution. Position this solution as both the solution to overcoming your own testimony and triumph, alongside how your product or service will help them and others like them.
Mastery and Expertise. Which brings us to the M and E of the ITSME approach. Close your pitch by proving you deserve their investment of time and money. You do this by briefly explaining what you’ve done to master your craft, and to perfect your product or service. Explain to them just what makes you a credible source or provider for what you’re offering and how you’ve gained that experience and expertise.
This isn’t about rattling off the degrees you’ve earned–because not every business owner has gone to college or earned degrees in the industries in which they’ve started their businesses. What’s more important to note here are the keys to your current success–how you’re improving and mastering your skills, and how your product or service stands out above any others. Of course it’s okay to mention your degrees if it’s relevant, or if it helps establish the connection with your new customer or investor–say, if they went to the same school. Otherwise, skip it and focus on your unique, soft skills and tactics that made your product or service stand out among the others. Remember, you have 60 seconds to nail your ITSME pitch.
I can say all of that in under a minute? Yes. As a media trainer and public speaking coach I teach clients how to structure a basic speech or prepared statement based on the time allotted for the speaking opportunity. Break it down into sections. The ITSME pitch has 5 parts–that’s about 10-12 seconds per topical area. Spend about 12 seconds telling people your name and referencing the how’s and when’s of your initial meeting or connection, then spend about 10- to 12 seconds on every other area: 12 seconds sharing the testimony or trauma or that helped shaped your business decision, followed by about 12 seconds for each of the remaining areas. In a nutshell that’s about three short statements per area.
Sell yourself and your solution first and the business will come. Even Apple has their own five-step approach to the great service they provide, and boasts being service-focused over highlighting their tech products. Nail your elevator pitch by selling your solution and pitching yourself the “It’s Me!” way.