So you’re an exhibitor at the Connect Nigeria Business Fair, Africa’s largest SME event, and you’re excited about the bumper sales you’ll make at the venue and the valuable connections and deals you’ll strike while at it. There will be thousands of business-minded people in attendance; it’s a big pool to pitch your products and services to.
But there’s one question though: how will you get these participants interested in the first place? Do you simply start off interaction with them, and hope that your words impress them enough to take a closer look at what you may be offering them? Are you confident that your spontaneous attempts at on-the-spot marketing will suffice?
Remember, attention spans can be quite short. And unless you succeed at keeping people’s thoughts fixated on the conversation you’re having with them, they’ll get bored or disinterested very quickly. Often, you will have less than thirty seconds to get them hooked on whatever it is you want them to hear about.
How do you get the attendees at the Connect Nigeria Business Fair curious about your services, in just thirty seconds?
There’s a well-known answer to this question. It’s called an elevator pitch.
What’s An Elevator Pitch?
In case you aren’t familiar with what it is, an elevator pitch is a short, attention-grabbing introduction to what your company is and does. It’s used by business people when they’re in conversation with a potential lead, partner or investor. Our emphasis here is on the word short and the phrase attention-grabbing. An elevator pitch is supposed to last only as long as it takes to use an elevator, and sharp enough to intrigue the person you’re talking to.
In effect, we’re looking at a 20-30 second smart, comprehensive, listener-tailored speech about your business.
How do you prepare such a speech? How should you use it?
First off, let’s make this certain. The elevator pitch is prepared well before it’s used in a discussion with its intended audience. And, as with prepared speeches, you’ll have to rehearse it too. But because it’s short- usually no more than three or four sentences –the hard work is likely to go into creating it. With proper preparation, you should be able to say the words as you’d speak in regular, free-flowing dialogue.
Now, let’s get to the actual task of crafting an elevator pitch that will up your sales and boost your lead prospects at the business fair.
The Short Trip to an Effective Elevator Pitch
These are the steps to writing and delivering your pitch.
1. Decide What You Want to Achieve
What will you need the pitch for? Do you want to spark the interest of potential clients? Are you seeking a partnership with another brand?
Knowing what scenarios you will be encountering at the business fair will help you decide what your speech will look and sound like. There may be slight differences in the way you approach a pitch, depending on who you’re addressing. It’s not supposed to be a one-size-fits-all thing. Just think about your target for the event, and put the words together to suit the specific sort of situation you’re envisioning.
2. Tell the Listener What You Do
In the actual elevator speech, this comes right after naming your company. It usually goes like this:
“QRS [your company] is a software development company; we create software packages and mobile applications that help businesses improve their engagement with their customers and grow their sales.”
This introduction answers three big questions: who you are, for whom your services are meant, and why you’re serving them. Your pitch should answer them too.
3. Explain What Makes You Stand Out
What distinguishes your business from other similar companies? What makes yours stand out?
This should be the clincher in your elevator pitch, the part that adds a spark (or glitter) to your introduction. Here, you should communicate your Unique Selling Point (USP) or Value Proposition. It’s basically what sets your business apart from the competition, a part or feature of your service that’s both unique to your company and attractive to potential customers.
Let’s see an example of this, involving the hypothetical company we referred to earlier.
“Beyond just creating enterprise software and mobile apps, we also offer cloud storage solutions, on-demand IT, and software support services to our clients, all at 50% of the average cost charged by companies that provide these services.”
4. Get Them Involved In the Conversation
Now that you’ve let your audience know what you’re about, you’ll have to add the extra bit that ensures the discussion continues. You can do this by asking a question which invites them to dwell a bit more on your company and what it offers.
5. Put It All Together
Here’s what our elevator pitch will look like.
“QRS [your company] is a software development company; we create software packages and mobile applications that help businesses manage their operations and grow their sales.
“Beyond just creating enterprise software and mobile apps, we also offer cloud storage solutions, on-demand IT, and software support services to our clients, all at 50% of the cost charged by companies that provide these services.
So, does your company have a mobile app?”
How long did it take you to say that?
Go over what you’ve written. Learn to vocalize them without sounding rather robotic. Also note that you’re free to tweak the speech slightly so that it fits well with each unique encounter you have with prospects. With the right amount of rehearsals, you’ll be on your way to capturing far more leads and sales at the business fair.
Remember, you’re aiming for the 26th and 27th of April, 2019. That’s when the Connect Nigeria Business Fair takes place. Get to work on that pitch of yours, and hit the big target you’ve set for your business.