There's a trope in late '90s movies where a motivated, ambitious main character does everything they can to get on the same elevator ride as the CEO of some powerful company.
It usually ends the same way. Our protagonist makes a nervous, fast-paced speech that the CEO ignores while repeatedly pressing the elevator button, and we get a five-second scene with sad music of our main character watching them walk away.
That nervous, fast-paced speech is an elevator pitch example—a bad one, because otherwise, those movies would be nine minutes long and uninspiring. In the real world, an elevator pitch can make a powerful impression and pave the way for business ventures, employment opportunities, and networking. It won't get you a corner office and a fancy title one week into your new job, but it can be an important step in the right direction.
To highlight that difference—and to really dismantle "The Pursuit of Happyness" as a plot—I've put together some elevator pitch examples and a guide on how to write one that actually works.
Table of contents:
What is an elevator pitch?
An elevator pitch is a concise speech in which you introduce yourself and a few key points about what you're pitching, whether it's to acquire investors, promote a product, advertise a business, or even sell yourself as a potential employee. If it takes longer than a minute to get the point across, it's getting too long.
Elevator pitches were originally exclusively spoken—used in business conversations and investor pitches—but have since grown into a written format used for things like websites, social media, video ads, marketing outreach, and media pitches.
You're not trying to convey your entire business strategy or all your selling points. Your goal here is to raise interest, make a connection, and facilitate an opportunity for business in the future.
Let's say you're in the fintech industry and are attending a networking event full of bank representatives and decision-makers. Instead of spending an hour going through your company's history and how it's aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2157, you'd find more success introducing it concisely, pointing out one or two key features and how they could serve your audience's interests.
Components of an elevator pitch
The pitch begins with a hook to draw your audience in, veers into the value you offer, provides some proof to support your statement, and wraps it all up with a display of what makes you different.
It's relatively easy to incorporate these elements into a short pitch. The difficulty lies in choosing a good hook and phrasing your proposition in a way that appeals to the other side of the conversation.
The hook: This element doesn't need to be fancy or complicated. Make it simple and get straight to the point. For example, if you're pitching a time management tool, your hook can be a personal story like: "When I first started my business, it felt like there was too much to do and not enough time to do it." It can also be a statistic. If you're pitching an online collaboration tool, your hook can be something like: "73% of all teams will have remote workers by 2028."
The value proposition: This is where you provide an overview of the value you're bringing to the table. Discuss what you're pitching and what it does, research your listener's unique needs beforehand, and prepare a compelling argument for how you can meet them.
The evidence: The person you're talking to may be nodding, but that doesn't necessarily mean your point is getting across. Some proof of past success or stats that speak to your success could make that nodding a lot more genuine.
The differentiator: Let them know that you're different—that your product or service isn't just another iteration of what came before. You get brownie points for originality and not quoting any movies.
The call to action: Make sure you're inviting your audience to take action. They have all the details, and they might be interested. It's time to bring it home with a clear call to action. Ask them to connect with you on LinkedIn, invite them for a coffee chat, share contact information, and make sure there's an opportunity to follow up on the conversation.
11 elevator pitch examples done right
I rewatched "The Pursuit of Happyness" to see if there was anything I could salvage, but all I walked away with was frustration at the misleading lesson that passion can overcome anything. Passion cannot, in fact, overcome a busy decision-maker who can't wait for you to stop talking.
If you're at all like me, you'll find the following examples a much better use of your time.
1. Startup pitch example
Everyone's got ideas for [shared goal]. But ideas aren't enough.
We took [shared goal] and turned it into a reality.
We developed [solution] at [company name] that's [list of qualities]. We made it possible for [target audience] to [shared goal].
What sets us apart is our [differentiator, followed by brief overview].
If you're passionate about [high-level goal] and interested in [benefit of collaborating with you], let's connect.
Access example above
This elevator pitch example demonstrates how to approach potential business partners and investors with a clean energy project. The hook is simple. It leans on the issue and the harsh reality of how little the world does to achieve utopian sustainability. Then it introduces the solution as the company's proactive effort to change the status quo. It pitches efficiency, reduced costs, and access to a larger customer base. Finally, it addresses how ease of use sets the solution apart from the competition and invites further collaboration.
This example is ideal for startups in that it focuses more on the product, what makes it unique, and the features that set it apart, rather than the company's past achievements, success stories, or revenue metrics. It can easily be used to pitch investors and potential clients alike.
You can follow this example by making the problem the centerpiece of the hook. Open with the issue, and position your company's service or product as the solution.
2. Job seeker pitch example
It took me [period of time] to [achieve goal].
It's always been my priority to deliver [high-level result], but I want to put my [expertise] to use making [high-level goal/impact].
At [company name], I [past experience] that [measureable results].
I love what I do. But I [differentiator, high-level goal].
If you're looking for a [position/title] who's [differentiator], let's chat. I'm eager to explore how I can help your organization achieve its [field] objectives.
Access example above
Since tropes are only a good idea when I propose them, I've decided that our job seeker would be making a pitch to GreenCorp, the company from our previous example. Will Smith will not be playing this role.
In this example, the author of the pitch isn't trying to sell a company or a product; they're trying to sell themselves. The hook addresses their background, expertise, and goals. It then veers into past performance results and highlights the key skill set. The uniqueness factor here speaks to GreenCorp's mission, showcasing that the author shares the company's grand goals, empathetic mindset, and desire to help build something positive.
If you're ever job hunting, open your pitch with a concise and direct overview of your background, share your most impressive achievements, and do your research into the company you're pitching.
3. Sales pitch example
Most people [relevant statistic, followed by explanation].
At [company name], we've taken the [pain point] out of the equation.
Our [products] are designed for [value proposition].
They're more than just [product]. They're [differentiator, followed by supporting evidence].
We're not just salespeople; we're [differentiator].
So, are you ready to find [product selling point]? Let's [CTA].
Access example above
In this example, a guitar shop is pitching its unique guitar design to potential customers. It recognizes a very common problem and ties it to a feeling that most guitar enthusiasts know all too well: giving up too soon. It later positions the author as an expert and fellow musician and utilizes customer reviews as supporting evidence.
4. Networking pitch example
I'm a [position/title] at [company name], and I've worked on [past experience].
Over the past [period of time], I've had the privilege of working with diverse industries, from [industry] to [industry], and what truly excites me is [shared interest].
I'm here to connect with other professionals who share my enthusiasm for creative and innovative [field] ideas. I really want to explore new [differentiators and shared interests].
Let's connect on [communication channel]. I have quite a few compelling [field] resources to share and talk through.
Access example above
This networking pitch resembles the job seeker pitch with one major difference: the audience shifts from an employer to a colleague. The objective changes, and that affects the entire approach.
In this example, the author isn't trying to convey their efficiency or results in percentages or measurable performance points. They're sharing aspects of their industry that they're passionate about and are interested in discussing. The point here is to make a memorable introduction at a networking event and gather connections.
Ahead of your next networking event, tailor your pitch so that it speaks to your expertise and knowledge without going into too much detail.
5. Investor pitch example
At [company name], we [business concept offer], plain and simple.
We [value proposition].
Our portfolio contains [supporting evidence].
Why us? Well, we [differentiator].
We roll up our sleeves and get involved.
We're currently prospecting [target audience] to join us on our journey. If you're ready to be part of the next [field] disruption, let's talk about how [company name] can help.
Access example above
Investors have heard it all a million times over. It's why their faces are so hard to read—set in unimpressed silence. So it's best to make your hook short and to the point. "We do X to achieve Y" can be a breath of fresh air when your job is listening to entrepreneurs pitch their ideas five days a week.
In this example, YZTech Ventures aims to secure investors for promising companies. The hook is straightforward and simple, slowly veering into an overview of the company and why it works.
6. Nonprofit pitch example
Every day, [pain point].
[Company name] is working to change that.
We're a nonprofit dedicated to [high-level goal]. We've already provided [supporting evidence/achievements].
We don't want to treat the symptoms; we want to face the root cause of [pain point]. But this will be a losing battle if we're fighting it on our own.
We're always looking for individuals who share our vision and drive to build a better world where [high-level goal].
If you're ready to make a difference, let's discuss how you can be part of the solution.
Access example above
Empathy is the name of the game here, and charities and nonprofits can use it as a unique selling point. The good news is there's very little risk of doing this wrong. The example outlines the cause, its aim, and the efforts being made to find a solution.
If you're pitching a nonprofit or a charity to potential donors, lean heavily on the charity's message and accomplishments.
7. Personal branding pitch example
I'm [name], and I'm a dedicated [title]. I've helped [past expertise and achievments].
I do what I do by [value proposition, followed by differentiator].
I'm here to [offered value].
There's "[position]" in the title, but I'll be [differentiator].
Let's schedule a meeting and discuss what you can do.
Access example above
Personal branding comes into play when you're pitching yourself, the individual. Just as companies share their unique idea, proposition, and values, the life coach does the same at a personal level.
If you're ever writing a personal branding pitch, approach it as you would a business. The key difference is to showcase your values and what makes you unique as a person rather than as a corporate entity.
8. Product launch pitch example
I'm very excited to share with you [product selling point].
At [company name], [products] aren't just a [basic nature of product]. We see them as a game-changer in [selling point].
This is why we developed our [product], a cutting-edge [product overview].
Imagine all of your [value proposition, followed by key features].
Our product has already received rave reviews during beta testing, with users reporting [survey results].
[Product] is now available for preorders! [CTA].
Access example above
This example focuses less on the company and more on the newly revealed product. The new release speaks for itself and the business at the same time.
The hook immediately positions the product as the future or "the next best thing." The pitch dives into what makes the new product unique, utilizing a hypothetical to paint a picture of what it can achieve.
If you're writing a product launch elevator pitch, focus on the product and let it speak for the company.
9. Rebranding pitch example
We've done great things as [company name]. We've helped businesses [services and past achievements].
We've since been on a journey of transformation, and it's time for a fresh start.
Our company has grown, adapted, and innovated in response to changing market dynamics. We've [outlined change]. Now, [company name] is about to become [new company name].
Why the change? We've rebranded to [rebranding reasons].
With [new company name], you can expect the same quality, expertise, and dedication you've come to trust. But now, we're adding a fresh perspective and a dynamic spirit to our brand.
We invite you to join us in this exciting phase of our journey. [New company name] is ready to [service/value proposition].
Let's schedule a meeting and explore how our renewed brand can better serve your evolving needs.
Access example above
In this example, the hook immediately delivers the reasoning behind the change.
Instead of a value proposition, the pitch offers an assurance that the rebranding won't have detrimental effects. It's designed to address stakeholders and clients as well as provide context.
10. Consulting services pitch example
At [company name], we specialize in [value proposition].
With a team of seasoned experts in [field of expertise], we've successfully guided organizations to [high-level goal].
Our approach is all about partnership. We take the time to deeply understand your unique market and audience. From there, we [differentiator].
[Company name] can be the catalyst for your business's transformation. Whether you're looking to [goal] or [goal], we're here to help.
Let's schedule a virtual meeting to discuss where your company stands and where we can take it.
Access example above
This pitch is designed to attract clients for a consulting service. It takes a collaborative tone in its approach and focuses on areas of growth that pretty much every decision-maker worries about. It makes the solution the centerpiece of its hook instead of the problem, and goes on to briefly outline how the firm's process is structured.
11. Technology solution pitch example
That's how it goes for your [pain point].
Imagine you didn't have to worry about [pain point].
Our [product] is designed to enhance [process]. We help businesses [value proposition].
One of our recent success stories includes helping a [supporting evidence].
The thing is, [differentiator]; we make sure our [product] is specifically customized for your organization's needs.
Are you available to meet next week for a personalized demo?
Access example above
In this example, the hook is a statistic that lays the foundation for the problem and the value proposition. It's a powerful hook that captures the audience's attention and helps you transition into what you really want to say.
How to write an elevator pitch
You can be an optimist and decide to improvise an elevator pitch. But you'll likely end up taking too many pauses under the guise of sipping your water, and stumbling over your words mid-pitch might waste a precious conversation.
It pays to be prepared, and writing an elevator pitch beforehand can make a big difference.
1. Outline a clear objective
Before you start writing the elevator pitch, focus on your objective. Are you introducing yourself to grow your personal network, pitching a service or product, prospecting investors, or trying to acquire a new client?
Your objective will help you pinpoint the information you want to mention in your pitch.
Tip: Establish success metrics relevant to your objective. Investors will want to know how much revenue your business can generate, while potential clients will want to know the benefits of your product or service. Make sure your success metrics speak to your audience's concerns.
2. Define your audience
One speech won't work across the board. Hollywood says the up-and-coming manager likes to be impressed with a Rubik's cube, while the CEO likes to hear your heartfelt speech about how much this job means to you and how you're expertly overcoming odds.
Both those things are wrong, but the point remains that identifying who your listener is and what matters to them is a nice way to tailor your pitch so that it speaks to their concerns, needs, and bigger pain points. The more you resonate with your audience, the more impactful your pitch will be, and the closer you'll get to a tearful Will Smith movie ending.
Defining your audience goes beyond knowing the name and nature of what might make a potential client.
Tip: Conduct in-depth audience research by diving into your chosen market, competitors, user data, and digital marketing analytics. Then comb through that information to define your audience's pain points and how you're uniquely positioned to address them.
3. Craft a hook
You know what you want to say and why. Now you need an opening statement—a hook that grabs their attention and gets them invested in the rest of your pitch. You want to set the stage for the elements that come next. Make it clear and engaging, but keep it concise. The goal here is to get an attentive listener, not a bored one.
The hook needs to spark the audience's interest. You need to speak their industry's language, show knowledge and expertise, and put your audience research data to good use by pointing out the difficulties and issues they face.
Tip: Use a personal story, a statistic, a fact, or an interesting hypothetical to draw your audience in.
4. Explain your value proposition
Once your audience is paying attention, it's time to dive into the proposition and the value within. What do you and your idea bring to the table? What problems do you solve, and how does that make your listener's life better? How does your solution differ from those they've heard pitched a thousand times before?
Point out the differentiating factors that make you and your business unique, whether it's the groundbreaking tech you've patented or the better pricing options your competitors can't keep up with.
Tip: Write down all the aspects that make your business different, and choose the most compelling ones for the pitch.
5. Support your pitch with evidence
Who doesn't like real-life measurable data? Well, Hollywood doesn't, but that's just because no amount of Hans Zimmer music can make your 325% ROI cinematically engaging. You can be confident that your audience will want to hear success stories that support your proposition.
Have a few successful case studies from former and current clients ready to drive the point home and turn a semi-interested listener into an engaged party.
Tip: Draw on your own expertise, and use performance statistics and relevant metrics from previous projects.
6. Keep it concise
It's called an elevator pitch for a reason. You have under a minute to get your entire pitch across to a busy decision-maker who doesn't have all day. Cut the fluff, and only say what you feel certain will convince your recipient to take your side.
Tip: Practice reading your pitch out loud in the mirror. Use a timer to measure how long it takes to deliver it comfortably.
7. End with a clear call to action
Since the point of an elevator pitch is to generate interest, you'll want to end it with a clear call to action—one that evokes a response and maybe a more in-depth conversation.
If you're pitching a service, you can offer to schedule a meeting to further outline your services and how they can help the listener. If you're pitching a product, you could offer to schedule a demo to prove it can improve their business. Get creative here, and aim to turn that interest into a meeting.
Tip: Lead your audience to connect with you beyond the pitch. Schedule a meeting or a coffee chat, exchange contact information, and make sure there's room for a longer discussion.
8. Prepare to answer questions
You can't just deliver your pitch and then hit the open bar at the networking event. Be ready to answer questions.
Questions at this stage mean your listener is intrigued, curious, and interested. At this point, feel free to provide as much context in your answers as you'd like. The elevator pitch has already ended, and it served its purpose. Go in-depth and provide context.
Tip: Write down a few questions based on your own market research. Ask yourself what your customers, investors, and audience might be curious about. Prepare your answers so you're never surprised.
Make a unique first impression
Elevator pitches exist because humans have shorter attention spans than goldfish, and we really need a leg up on our aquatic competition.
Opportunities are fleeting, especially when businesses are launching every day. In an oversaturated environment, an elevator pitch can help you make an impression that lasts. And who knows, you might just have what it takes to inspire a 50-million dollar movie that Will Smith can "misty-eye" his way through.