Is your elevator pitch (essential message) clear and precise?

I've been working on a project for a client who needs a better elevator pitch for his business. He found that when he meets with prospective clients, he's spending too much time talking about the bells and whistles of his new technology instead of the core service that he's providing. This was a problem.

It sounds easy, but coming up with an elevator pitch to describe a business (or whatever you do) is anything but. In this case, it required research, interviews, brainstorming and digging deep to discover the essential benefits of the business.

A company may have a fancy web site and elaborate marketing materials to describe its business. Executives and salespeople may talk in digibabble to impress customers and to gain attention in the press.

But, if you can't communicate what you do in a sentence or two, you're going to lose business. There's an excellent quote by William Zinsser in his classic book, On Writing Well. Zinsser writes: "Any institution that won't take the trouble in its writing to be both clear and personal will lose friends, customers and money."

He's absolutely right. Over the years, I've met many people at parties and at business functions, who have tried explaining to me (unsuccessfully) what they do for a living. After a while, I lose interest and have to change the subject.

If you feel that your elevator pitch could use a tune-up, invest the time and resources necessary to distill your message down to a few clear and precise sentences. Such an exercise could yield other important insights as well.


Ross Fattori has more than 25 years' sales and marketing experience in newspapers and in the publishing industry. Throughout his career, he has served clients in the automotive, retail, real estate and manufacturing sectors by composing winning copy and designing dynamic ad layouts, brochures, direct-mail pieces and newsletters. Mr. Fattori is also journalist who has written extensively for newspapers, magazines and specialized publications across Canada. His writing credits include The Toronto ...

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