Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Elevator Pitch Methodology

A brilliant methodology for a good elevator pitch is described by Mike Southon in his FT Column. He first describes how in sales there is the concept of “golden nuggets”. He identifies that customers have very short attention spans and can only remember three things about your product whereas the average marketing team tries to cram 50 amazing features into your literature:

‘The problem is…. that as soon as you mention the fourth golden nugget, the first, and probably the most important one, drops out of their memory.’ The simple methodology for a good elevator pitch ‘centres around five ‘P’s: pain, premise, people, proof and purpose’:

Where is the Pain and what is the pain or problem you plan to solve? The more people feel the pain, the more they’ll value it (and pay accordingly)

The simple Premise of your business is what it is you do. Plain and simple language: no corporate fluff-speak. My fellow director at Madgex, Dan, cut through weeks of tagline brainstorming nonsense with a simple: ‘Well, we power job boards. So why not ‘powering job board business’?’. Even ‘powering’ is a bit corporate, but it’s hard to get a plainer word for what a SaaS platform does…..

Mike suggests going to a trade show, standing back from the stands and trying to work out what a company actually does. I’ve tried it. It’s a nightmare that makes your brain go grey.

He believes the other Ps of pitching are then very straightforward:

‘You need to talk about your People because entrepreneurship is a team game. Every investor says they look for a credible team rather than a good idea, and every customer says they buy from people not companies’

Proof that people should buy from you rather than your competition is best evidenced by examples of happy customers – quotes, reviews and case studies.

‘Finally, you must provide your Purpose, and the most important purpose of any business is to make money,’ says Mike.

I agree with this final point at one level as he explains: ‘Potential investors will be looking for a return on their investment, and prospective customers will only want to know that you run a sensible and profitable business, to ensure reliable and consistent delivery of your products and services’

But I think this definition of purpose is functional and increasingly a hygiene factor for buyers. I’m not going to wax lyrically about ‘higher purpose’ and ‘vision’, but quote from Rework:

‘Make a dent in the universe. To do great work, you need to feel you’re making a difference. That you’re putting a meaningful dent in the universe. That you’re part of something important. This doesn’t mean you need to find the cure for cancer. It’s just that your efforts need to feel valuable. You want your customers to say, “This makes my life better.” You want to feel that if you stopped doing what you do, people would notice’

Because what’s interesting is that it’s this that will inspire you and your people: the very same people who the investors buy into. The very same people who consumers buy from.

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