Earlier today I was asked about elevator pitches and what makes them effective. For those new to the lingo, an elevator pitch is a short blurb about you, your business, or your show that is as short as an elevator ride.
Many people struggle with creating a good pitch, so today I'm going let you in on a trick I've used in creating my own pitch and evaluating others:
The Trailer Technique
Think of your pitch as if it were an effective movie trailer for you.
1. Start in a way that makes people want to watch- How many trailers open with a voice creeping through the darkness or an image that isn't completely in focus? These things make you curious so you keep watching. The same goes for your pitch. Your first sentence should intrigue the other person. Take the boring terminology and make it interesting. Do you "write speeches" or do you give elected officials something to say? Do you "provide insurance" or do you "Make safety nets", etc. The more unique the better.
2. Know your genre- A good trailer communicates if we are watching a comedy, horror, or love story within the first few frames. Decide ahead of time how you want your customers to see you. Are you funny, laid back, or serious? Do you work with straight-laced business types or devil-may care entrepreneurs? Whatever you choose, be yourself. If you're not funny, don't try to be a comedian. If you're not serious don't try to be stern. People will see through it. Just like a trailer, your audience will decide if they want to see what you have to offer.
3. Essential info only- The worst trailers are the ones that show you the whole movie in the trailer. They give you no reason to want to see the movie. Your pitch should be the same way. Communicate the essential info. What pain will your service help alleviate for your customers? How do you work with customers? Why do you stand out? Please don't tell us your life story or how you came to this career or this project. We want to know what you do and why you do it. Don't complicate it.
4. Take us on a journey- A good trailer has a beginning, middle, and end and we feel like we have gone on a journey when we've watched it. A good pitch is the same way. We want to feel like we've just taken a ride with you and found out some great information. We want to also feel like time flew by. Tell us what will happen if we work with you or what has happened with others and riff on the questions that come up.
5. Leave us wanting more- A good trailer causes you to go to the film's website and see what else you can see. It leaves you hoping for the movie to come out. When the Avengers trailer hit, we all wanted to see it at that instant which made the anticipation that much higher. When you pitch, you want the other person to feel like they need to meet with you to hear more. They should enjoy getting connected with you and want to meet you again. If your pitch accomplishes this, more people will come your way for sure.
So there you have it. Use the Trailer Technique when writing your next pitch and you're sure to find plenty of people willing to hear what you have to say.