As a startup founder, especially at the early stage, your main responsibility is to help grow your business. This is often through selling and finding customers who want or need your services or product.

However, if you’re not a salesperson or lack the experience in a related field, this can be challenging. The one thing that every salesperson needs is an elevator pitch that will open doors or at least, get you a follow up with a business or customer.

We broke it down into simple steps to help you build a real elevator pitch that works.

We share how to sell to SMEs and startups

Be organised

Selling someone your business often means having to sell yourself, so be ready with everything you think they might need to know about you. From accomplishments to certifications, make sure you have everything at your fingertips.

A pro-tip is to have a list ready that you can look through and refer whenever you need. Something like this would be helpful to make sure you don’t let nerves overwhelm you.

  • Skills, abilities and achievements
  • What we do
  • How it works
  • Why it works

person writing bucket list on book

Include a “shock topic”

Think of something that will give them pause like a statistic or fact, that you can use to immediately grab your target audience’s attention before launching into your pitch.

For example, if you’re in cybersecurity, you could mention the numerous data breaches throughout the region. By doing this, you get their attention and they are more likely to listen to your pitch.

Short is sweet

When writing an elevator pitch, ensure your words are well thought out. Read it back and see if it makes sense, and if you feel there are too many words – cut them out. Here are a couple of examples to consider.

Wrong:

“We enjoy helping companies raise their standard of cybersecurity and improves their response rate to issues and threats.”

Right:

“We provide solutions that effectively prevent cyber attacks with a proven track record of success.”

Practice makes perfect

From timing yourself to recording your practice sessions, nothing is considered too much when it comes to being prepared.

four person sitting in front of woman standing near white wall

Take the time to get it right and fine-tune your pitch. If you have friends or colleagues who will be impartial, get them involved in the process and get feedback.

Had a bad pitch that didn’t go down well? Learn from it, ask the prospect what you could have done better and hope they give you something you can improve upon.

Delivery matters – so work on it

Not all of us sound like Sean Connery when he was James Bond, but we can control certain aspects of our delivery.

Avoid these things and it should improve your chances of success:

  • Don’t overuse industry jargon – this doesn’t make you sound smart and you can alienate your prospect
  • Speak at a normal pace – when we get excited or nervous we tend to speak too fast or try to compensate by speaking too slowly
  • Eye contact matters – show confidence by looking people in the eye when speaking to them
  • Gestures can be distracting – emphasizing a point may call for hand gestures, but too much is a distraction

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Prepare for questions

You’ve crushed your pitch and now its time to get out the contract. Actually, that’s unlikely, because they often have questions to follow up your pitch.

In your mind or on a document, create an FAQ, so you know what could be coming your way and always have time to prepare for anything.

Get the next meeting

Be proactive.

Don’t just walk away after pleasantries, set up a follow-up call or meeting or try to initiate next steps. Being proactive can mean the difference between closing a sale or letting the prospect walk away and forget about you.

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