5 Steps to the Perfect Elevator Pitch

The last time I was in Seattle for SEO training, I was walking back to my hotel room after dinner when I was stopped by a homeless man. He was sitting outside my hotel and struck up a conversation. He was homeless but not hopeless. He prided himself on his musical talent and his unique songs on YouTube. I was immediately intrigued and wanted to hear more. He proceeded to inform me that he has two years worth of daily uploads to YouTube and how to Google his somewhat common name to be sure I saw all of them. I handed him my leftover dinner since it was likely headed for the trash and we parted ways.

The following day, I tried to look him up on YouTube to hear his unique music and see his accomplishments. I only remembered part of his name and couldn’t find him online so I waited until dinner time and went searching for him. He was in the same place as the night before and recognized me as I approached him. I asked for his name again and wrote it down. I handed him the $7.00 I had in my pocket and wished him well.

When I pulled him up on YouTube, I saw several videos of him working his magic on his homemade instrument and discovered that he writes his own lyrics. His music is truly unique and his style is surprisingly confident for a man down on his luck. You’ll have to take a few minutes and check him out for yourself.

Glen (Pops) Freeman a.k.a. Glenn (Pops) Freeman

How does your elevator pitch compare to Glen’s? Do you intrigue strangers immediately? Do you get people asking for more information after your pitch? Do they follow up and Google your name to experience or purchase your product? Do they blog about you?

To loop back to the basics and renew your elevator pitch, the following steps will be helpful to get you there:

  1. Define your goals – when you sit around dreaming about getting a break, what do you want that break to ultimately get you?
  2. Know your audience – pitching the wrong people is a waste of time. Put yourself in front of your ideal audience but don’t be afraid to practice on anybody.
  3. Intrigue people – you care about and understand your product but strangers need a reason to pay attention.
  4. Be consistent – make sure you’re consistent in delivering your message, filling in the pitch with additional information where necessary, follow up on the message you’ve presented, make sure the experience is the one you’ve described.
  5. Be ready to close – after all, your pitch is a means to an end so be ready to give them more information and potentially get the sale.

Once your elevator pitch is complete, try it out on a few people. Review their feedback and make any adjustments that will improve it. Then repeat.

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  1. Gabe Cruz (@itdnext) says

    How do you balance the need to practice and even by doing so discovering the optimal audience with protecting the idea? (I’m a little stuck with finding that balance.) Thx!

  2. Cary Snowden says

    Great post, Ash; I enjoyed the story, the music, and the advice.

    I would add: Keep it short, simple and to the point. An elevator pitch is designed to be delivered ‘between the first and second floor’ in an elevator. This is one of my toughest things to conquer because I love to talk about my business, and it is hard to answer the question ‘What do you do?’ in less than 10 minutes.

    Thanks for reminding me that I have to work on it.

  3. Lori Gilson says

    Love this post, Ash. Such a great example of how beneficial a quick elevator speech can be.

    Who knew that by talking to you for a few minutes, Glen (Pops) Freeman would end up with (another) top Google listing? I quickly searched for him on Google, and he owns the first page. It shows how powerful word-of-mouth and social marketing can be. Kudos to him!

  4. David Scoville says

    I like that guy. I always enjoy associating with street artists.

    Thanks for some important details about the “pitch.”

    It also poses the question: Does constantly giving the pitch hold one back from forming longer term, more genuine relationships?

  5. junaid riaz says

    I recently had my website PR degraded from 1 to 0. It has just crept up to 1 only a couple of months back.
    I don’t think any of the backlinks was removed.
    However, I was trying Google website optimiser with my homepage to reduce the high (>40%) bounce rates.
    Do you think you see any mistakes on my part?

  6. Aaron says

    Great tips, i love learning new info about SEO and PR. Its a never ending process, and there is always something new to learn.
    Thanks for taking the time to post.

  7. Kim says

    I met Glen Pops Freeman this past week while in Seattle. He has an amazing spirit. He said his wife and kids were recently killed in a car crash. As a homeless person (he said the YMCA helps him), he doesn’t ask for anything from you. He simply wants to share his music. However, he will take money if offered, as I did. He made my Seattle experience memorable. Thanks for doing this piece on him.

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