Personally, I’ve never had to give an elevator pitch to an investor before. But you better believe I can teach you how to create one.
I learned this skill from a podcast in which a very weak pitch was transformed into a stellar, completely confident, winning pitch.
And guess what? You can learn the same lesson. Let's jump right in.
Lessons from Investor Chris Sacca
As I mentioned, I was finally able to wrap my head around the perfect elevator pitch after listening to investor Chris Sacca on an episode of This American Life.
In the episode, Alex Blumberg pitches Sacca his idea for a new podcast venture…and it’s not going very well — at all. Blumberg is a nervous wreck, and he's stumbling all over himself. Then Sacca steps in and completely repackages his jumbled pitch into a clear, concise, and confident pitch in the span of about 60 seconds.
Here’s the pitch Sacca threw together right there on the spot:
I felt like it was important to use this entire pitch so we can dissect it piece by piece and look at why it’s so effective. After all, Sacca has been on the investor side of the equation many times before — so he knows what he’s talking about.
Part One: Establish Ethos
In your opening, you want to establish your credibility, or ethos, as a person who has the necessary credibility, authority, and expertise to be proposing this pitch.
In Sacca’s example: Sacca opens by touching on Blumberg’s 15 years of experience producing This American Life, the #1 ranked podcast on iTunes. Boom. Ethos established.
Part Two: Showcase Need
Next, you explain that there’s a need and desire for what you’re pitching. You’d work in some statistics about how many potential users you’d have, economic trends, moneymaking opportunities, and lay out the facts about the realistic user base and audience at stake. Talk about their pain points and the lack of other competitors in the market with your level of experience.
In Sacca’s example: He points out the lack of competition in a market that’s ripe with opportunity, talks about advertising potential, and explains how people are changing the way they listen. This pitch is starting to sound like a pretty safe bet.
Part Three: How You’re Different
This is where you lay out your angle — what separates you from every other normal guy or girl out there who could do the same thing. You’d talk about your unique research, experience, existing connections, your test runs, and your clear model for how you’re going to make this all work.
In Sacca’s pitch: He stresses how Blumberg has the existing experience and connections with podcasting to bring this venture to life — and then makes it even more realistic by showcasing a small case study that could be replicated on a much larger scale.
Part Four: The Ask
This is where you have to know your numbers. Lay out how much money you need, what you need it for, your what your goal is for a fixed time frame. (It’s important to be extremely confident here and to be able to answer questions about this part in follow up).
In Sacca’s pitch: He’s no nonsense here. He lays out exactly how much money he needs, what it will buy, a 12-month goal, and the potential to scale.
Part Five: Are You In?
The final element in a strong elevator pitch is the call to action — the “Are you in?” It calls for an immediate response and expresses the urgency of a great opportunity (that someone else might take if they don’t.)
In Sacca’s pitch: He reinforces the audience, the skill Blumberg possesses, and makes the final call to action.
An Elevator Pitch with Tips from an Investor
When you're trying to speak to a specific audience, it's a good idea to go to the source and find out what exactly it is they need to hear from you. So that's what we've done here. Using the tactics laid out by a successful investor, you too can create a home-run elevator pitch in no time at all.
Just remember: Keep it short, be confident, and know your numbers.
Want some more info about creating a pitch? Check out Creating a Business Idea in the brand new Grasshopper Academy!