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How Does Your Elevator Pitch Stack Up Against Elon Musk’s

  • by Elay Cohen
  • April 18, 2016

Elevator pitch get a bad rap. Most lack structure and form and many sound like memorized words from a website or marketing brochure. When used properly, elevator pitches are very effective ways to communicate value, differentiate, drive urgency, and engage in conversation.

What would you say when someone in business or in a social setting asks you what you do? How comfortable are you giving your elevator pitch?

The key is to verbalize a simple english, short and punchy, conversational value-based elevator pitch. Make it engaging, personalized, and not a jargon-rich yawn-fest.

Elevator Pitch Framework

Here’s a proven framework you can use to improve your elevator pitch.

  1. Problem: Start with a statement or question about the problem you solve and share eye-opening statistics. Answer the why.
  2. Value Statement: Share a very clear, concise statement of value. Be action-oriented and outcome focused. Avoid using jargon. Share benefits.
  3. How We Do It: Highlight unique differentiators and explain what you do.
  4. Proof Points: Provide clear reference examples and list out recognizable achievements. Share industry validation and awards.
  5. Customer Stories: Share customer examples and successes. Tell emotional and personalized customer stories. Make it real and tangible.
  6. Engaging Question: Close the pitch with an open-ended question creating a space to have a conversation.

Your elevator pitch should be no more than two minutes. It’s hard. That’s why preparation and practice is important.

Elon Musk’s Tesla Elevator Pitch

Inspired by Elon Musk’s amazing Tesla Model 3 reveal and record sales, I decided to break down his pitch and show you how it maps to the framework. I used his words spoken in his launch video.

Assume the role of a Tesla employee being asked what you do. Here is the reply:

  1. Problem: Why does Tesla exist? We have record high C02 levels in the atmosphere resulting in a steady increasing temperature. And, it’s still climbing. Combustion cars emit toxic gases too, killing 53,000 people per year. What can we do to change this? How can we make a difference?
  2. Value Statement: What we’re trying to do with Tesla is accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport. At Tesla we make great electric cars. This is really important for the future of the world.
  3. How We Do It:  We show the world that an electric car can be fun, sexy, fast, and long-range.
  4. Proof Points: The work we do has a big leveraged effect in the auto-industry. We’re credited for the Chevy Nova and Nissan Leaf electric car programs. We’re recognized for creating the fastest four door car in history ever and rated by consumer reports as the best car ever.
  5. Customer Example: We sold 500 Roadsters at low volume and high price.  We sold 100,000 Model S cars and proved higher volume at a lower price. And then we extended our platform to a Model X. Now we just launched the Model 3 making high volume and low price electric cars that are sexy, fun, fast, and long-range.
  6. Engaging Question: What do you think?

Now grab a pen and paper. Write down your elevator pitch using the framework. You can do it. Say it out loud a few times. Then, grab your mobile device and record yourself going through it. Watch yourself. Practice. Record it again. Ask for feedback from your peers. Watch yourself get better.

Let us know how we can assist you and your teams get up to speed faster and stay on message with your latest pitch and messaging.

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About the Author
Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen

Elay Cohen is the author of SalesHood: How Winning Sales Managers Inspire Sales Teams to Succeed and the co-founder of SalesHood, a SaaS sales enablement platform and community for sales professionals. Elay is the former Senior Vice President of Sales Productivity at Salesforce. Recognized as the company's "2011 Top Executive", and credited for creating and executing all of Salesforce's sales productivity programs that accelerated its growth from $300M to $3B+ in revenue. The sales training and sales support innovations delivered over these years by Elay and his team to thousands of sales reps resulted in unprecedented hypergrowth. He also created the Partner Relationship Management (PRM) category.

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