By: Mariya Shynlova
It’s no secret that part of being a successful entrepreneur is being a good salesperson. You have to be ready to sell an idea — your idea— anytime an opportunity arises. To that end, you craft an elevator pitch. You have a succinct and intriguing pitch memorized well enough to recite backward. But what if that’s not enough? How many different elevator pitches do you need? At least three.
Pitch #1: For the Educated Investor
This is the pitch you come up with first and will use the most. If you meet someone working in your sector who can give you money (or influence someone who can) this is the pitch to pull out. This pitch can utilize jargon and high-level industry understanding. This audience doesn’t need a primer on what business you’re in and why, so don’t waste your time with it. Get to what makes your endeavor unique, exciting and a great investment. Leave them wanting more information, and leave them a business card so they can ask for it.
Pitch #2: For the Middle Man
This pitch gets you in the door to give pitch number one. This one should be simple and relatable for any audience. You want to indicate that your idea is innovative and useful so they’ll introduce you to the people with the checkbook. Rather than using programming jargon and profit margins, sell the user experience that everyone can relate to. If, for example, you’re working on cloud-based healthcare technology, you might say something like: “When a medical laboratory assistant finishes a test, the results are immediately relayed to the doctor via the cloud. What took two weeks, could now take less than a minute.” The problem of waiting for test results is relatable and it’s easy for anyone to see the real-world benefit (and therefore potential) of your product.
Pitch #3: For Your Mom
This is the pitch you use for people who have no connection to your business, but want to know what you’re up to. Keep it simple, relatable and don’t brag. Chances are, this pitch won’t get you any investors or business, but you never know who has powerful connections. Your neighbor might be at a barbeque and meet someone who can help you. If he knows the gist of what you’re working on and why, he might make the connection and facilitate an introduction.
If you need help crafting an effective pitch, RIC Centre is hosting a series of Entrepreneur Workshops on ‘Pitching to Investors’ on July 16th and 23rd. These hands-on workshops will help you create the most effective storyboard for an investor pitch deck. You will also get the opportunity to practice your pitch in front of an experienced mentor and peer group for constructive feedback. For more information and to register, please click here.
Mariya is a graduate student pursuing her final year in the Master of Biotechnology program at the University of Toronto Mississauga. She is currently the Communications Officer for RIC Centre, a role in which she manages the organization’s web and digital communications, marketing, event promotion, and social media platforms. In her future endeavors, Mariya hopes to pursue a career which merges the fields of science and business.
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