I know, I am asking a lot here. The average human attention span is roughly eight seconds – a startling statistic to say the least. The idea of an elevator pitch is, frankly, antiquated at best. The age-old scenario of meeting a prospect in an elevator and having the duration of the ride to sell them on your company is more than just unlikely. In this day and age, a standard elevator ride is actually more time than you should anticipate having.
Business personality Jeffrey Hayzlett has offered an alternative to the elevator pitch, something he calls the “118.” He believes you have eight seconds to grab a prospect’s attention, and then 110 seconds to seal the deal. (118 seconds is the average duration of an elevator ride in New York City)
I am willing to go one step further than that. Your elevator pitch should be Tweetable. That’s right. Cram the most sacred of your sales tools into 140 characters.
The purpose for this is multifaceted. First, you probably aren’t going to meet the CMO of a Fortune 500 company in an elevator. Sorry. A tweetable elevator pitch is portable. If you meet someone at a conference or networking event, you should be able to verbalize the perfect statement that reels in your prospect. Of course, if it is going well, you can elaborate. But that first sentence, those 140 characters, need to be captivating – entrancing even.
Additionally, thinking of a Tweetable pitch is simply putting your business into today’s context. When scrolling through your Twitter timeline, how many Tweets actually pop off the page and grab you? Probably not many. Yours don’t have to drown in an endless sea of hashtags and trending topics. Own your space.
You have one shot to impress another businessperson. Saying what your company does or its commitment to customer service or quality is all well and good, but that doesn’t actually set your business apart. Because everyone can at least claim to do those things.
Startup companies looking for funding can find this particularly helpful. The nature of startups, while fascinating, can be over the heads of some. A criteria of that 140 characters should be a relatable, understandable voice. Do not mistake this for generalizing your product.
Set your company apart by appealing to your potential audience. Heal the points of pain. A doctor doesn’t cure a broken leg the same way they cure bronchitis, so why would your company’s elevator pitch not tailor to the recipient? Generic business buzz words will not light a fire.