by Nicole Lininger, director of corporate communications at InventHelp®
If you can sell your idea to companies or potential investors, your product could become the bestseller every inventor dreams of creating. A well-designed formal presentation can sell investors on your idea, but before you get to that stage, you’ll likely have occasion to provide an “elevator pitch” — a brief, informal statement that conveys your idea concisely and compellingly. Here are five do’s and don’ts to help you get it right:
Start with a great hook. It’s essential to grab your audience’s attention quickly, and the best way to do that is start with a compelling quote, anecdote, statistic or question that frames the discussion. The hook should be an opening statement that tees up the topic but leaves the audience wanting more.
Frame your value proposition. After you’ve delivered the hook, dive into the details by describing the problem your invention solves. If possible, connect your invention to real-life pain points the people you’re talking to experience by relating it to their profession, hobbies or other everyday activities.
Use qualitative data to back your claims. Once you’ve framed your value proposition, it’s time to add heft to your claims by using data or statistics to back them up. Choose the numbers you’ll include in your elevator speech carefully and put them in context to support your product’s value proposition.
Highlight your product’s key differentiators. Most new inventions are an improvement on existing products that perform a similar function or involve a new approach to solve a problem that other products also address. Point out what is unique about your product so it stands out from the crowd.
Give listeners a way to learn more. If you’ve delivered an effective elevator pitch, your audience will want to find out more about your product. End with an invitation to discover more about your product at a website or fundraising page, or simply hand out business cards so listeners can contact you.
Don’t forget to practice. An elevator pitch should come across as spontaneous, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice it. Make sure you can recite the hook and amplify the points in a natural, personal way. Practice your pitch on family and friends to get it right. Let your passion shine through.
Don’t oversell it. One big mistake rookie inventors often make is to oversell the benefits of their creation. Unless you’ve perfected cold fusion, stay away from words like “revolutionary” or “life-changing.” Discuss your product in realistic terms.
Don’t bury listeners in data. While it’s essential to back up your claims, avoid the pitfall of listing out a long string of numbers to support your value proposition, and make sure you link all data and statistics you use with the value your product delivers. Data is more powerful in context.
Don’t ignore competitors. You don’t necessarily have to mention competitor products by name, but you do need to clearly communicate why your product is better. Make sure listeners can easily understand why your product is different — and superior.
Don’t forget the call to action. An elevator pitch is informal, but at its core, it’s a sales pitch, and no sales pitch is complete without a call to action. If you wind up your pitch without giving listeners a way to find out more or contact you, you could miss out on significant opportunities.
By following these tips, you can create an elevator pitch that immediately captures listeners’ attention, tells how your product addresses their pain-points, provides data to support your claims, highlights how your product is unique and gives listeners a way to find out more. Remember to keep your pitch natural, but don’t be afraid to let your excitement shine through. If you can do that, you’ll be well on your way to creating a groundswell of support for product development.
Nicole Lininger is director of corporate communications at InventHelp®, a leading inventor service company since 1984. InventHelp submits client’s inventions, products or ideas to industry in an attempt to obtain a good faith review.