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How to Write the Perfect Elevator Pitch in Under 10 Minutes!

by Brandon Turner on July 26, 2014 · 12 comments

  
Elevator Pitch

(The following is an excerpt from the soon-to-be-released BiggerPockets book we keep talking about… it’s almost here!)

THEM: “Hey Brandon… So what is it you actually do?”

ME: “Well, I, uh… I invest in real estate… and… um… so… what about you, what do you do?”

Ugh. It’s embarrassing just to type that, yet for years that was my answer to the dreaded, “what do you do?” question. I mean, how do I explain what it is I do, and open the door for people to invest with me, without sounding like I’m bragging and begging?

It wasn’t until I sat down and spent some time working on my answer that it began getting easier. In fact, it didn’t take long at all. When I really sat down to work on it, I crafted a pretty-darn-good pitch in just 10 minutes.

So let me turn the tables… how do YOU answer that question?

Let’s find out.

ME: “Hey… [insert your name here]… so, what do YOU do, anyways?”

YOU: ________________________ …

Does this question make you a little uncomfortable? Rather than stumbling through an answer, this is your moment to shine. In fact, not only is this a great time to share what you do, this is perhaps the best place for you to actually raise money.

This is your elevator pitch.

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An elevator pitch is a quick, less-than-60-second explanation of what your company is and why it matters (named an “elevator pitch” because you should be able to give it in the amount of time you might share with someone in an elevator.)

When giving your elevator pitch, speed and clarity matter. After all, people don’t truly care that much about what you do. Most of the time they are just making conversation. If you go on for 10 minutes about your life story, you are sure to lose them. You have just a few quick moments to get just enough information out that if they want, they can dig in.

And if you are lucky… some of these people may give you money.

Money?

Yep. A great elevator pitch can help you raise money, find deals, or solve whatever other problem you might have. Remember what I said a moment ago: people don’t really care about you. What do they care about?  Themselves. What is it you can do for them?

People are frustrated with the stock market, their bank CDs, their mutual funds… they want more. As a real estate investor, you hold onto one of the world’s best strategies for getting a consistent high return on investment: real estate.

Millions of people want a piece… and you are holding the pie.

An elevator pitch is a lot like “direct mail.” It is an advertisement in which 99% of people who hear your pitch are not going to be able to help you out… and that’s okay. It’s the 1% that can help you out that makes it all worth it. Plus, if you can craft an elevator pitch that increases that 1% to 2%… isn’t that worth 10 minutes of your time?

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Using Direct Mail Advertising to Grow Your Real Estate Business

How to Craft the Perfect Elevator Pitch

A great elevator pitch is not impossible to craft, but neither should it be invented “on the spot.” As with all things that matter in life: you need to put a little effort into it. Don’t let your “ums” and “ahs” get in the way of raising millions of dollars for your next deal.

A great elevator pitch should contain 6 elements:

  • A Great Hook - Get them interested right away or lose them altogether.
  • Your Company Name - Or are you just running this out of your mom’s garage?
  • Your Goals -What is it you are trying to accomplish?
  • Why YOU Matter - Go ahead.. brag a little. Why are you different from the rest?
  • What’s In It For Them - People are selfish… give them what they want.
  • A Call to Action - Steps 1-5 make no difference if you don’t give them the opportunity to respond!

Although you can mix around the order some, I find it best to try to tell a story with your pitch by going step one through step six.

The following worksheet is designed to help you draft your elevator pitch so you can best be prepared to talk with potential private lenders about your business. Keep in mind – there are hundreds of ways to craft an elevator pitch, and this is just one that works for me. Feel free to test and tweak it, but the important thing is: just do it.

Feel free to print this page and let it help you work on YOUR elevator pitch so the next time someone asks you “So, what do you do?” you’ll be prepared to fire with both barrels.

1.) Do you have any interesting, cool, or unique facts about your company? If not, consider starting with a question to pique their interest. It’s important to “hook” the listener immediately, so in 25 words or less, write your “hook”:

_______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________

2.) What is your company name? _______________________________________

3.) Describe in 25 words or less what the goal of your company is: ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________

4.) Describe in 20 words or less what makes you especially good at this.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________

5.) Describe in 30 words or less what you can offer a private lender.

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________

6.) Finally, end with a question that opens up further discussion without blatantly asking them for money. I like “Do you know anyone that would be interested in working together doing real estate deals like this?”

________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________

Now, put it all together and see how it sounds. You may need to tweak some parts to make it flow, but now you have the basic framework. Next, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Does this take longer than 60 seconds to say? If yes, trim it down.
  2. Do I come across sounding too salesy/sleazy/spammy? If so, tone it down.
  3. Will a person know exactly what’s in it for them? Remember – people are selfish and primarily want to know what your business can do for them. If not, keep working on it!

Finally, practice your pitch in front of the mirror, in front of your spouse, or in front of whoever will give you honest feedback. Ask for feedback and tweak your pitch if needed.

Related: How to Create a Compelling Elevator Pitch to Your Lender

Two Example Elevator Pitches

The following two elevator pitches follow the above layout. The first is written from the standpoint of a successful house flipper, the second from a brand new buy and hold investor. Feel free to use, tweak, or toss these examples so they fit your business model.

Sample One: Experienced House Flipper

Well… you know those flipping TV shows where people buy ugly homes and sell ‘em for a big profit? That’s kinda what I do. I run ABC Investments, and our goal is to find, rehab, and sell houses in our area for profit, while helping to improve the neighborhoods around. I started this back in 2007 and have flipped almost 30 homes now, but personally I spend the bulk of my time putting together the financing with local individuals looking to make a better return on their money than the stock market can give. So, of course I gotta ask, you don’t know anyone looking to diversify into real estate, do you?

Sample Two: New Rental Property Investor

“So, what do you do?”

Well, you’ll probably think I’m crazy- but I just opened up ABC Investments and I’m going to start buying and renting out houses in our area. I figure – I’m good at math so why not use my skills to build up passive income rather than working till I’m 60. So now I’m looking for individuals to partner with on some rental properties, so if you know anyone itching to get into it so they can earn more than the lousy stock market can give, let them know I’m the guy to talk to. Do you know anyone looking to get into real estate investing in a more “passive” capacity?

Conclusion

An elevator pitch should not bean afterthought… it is the lifeblood of your business. After all, your business is YOURS – it’s something you should be proud of, not ashamed or embarrassed about.

Whether you follow the guide I’ve given above or create your own from scratch doesn’t matter. What does matters is that you take the time needed to actually do it.

Here is my challenge: sit down today and spend 10 minutes working on your elevator pitch. Then, go somewhere public and strike up a conversation with a random stranger. When the question pops up, “so, what do you do?” hit em with your best shot … and see what happens!

Now, it’s your turn to do me a favor. I would love if you did one (or all three) of the following:

  1. Click here to share this on your Facebook Wall
  2. Click here to share this on your Twitter
  3. Leave a comment below and let me know what you plan to do with your elevator pitch!
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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt July 26, 2014 at 7:06 am

great article. now off to find a elevator to try it out.

Reply

Jean Bolger July 26, 2014 at 10:29 am

“without sounding like I’m bragging and begging?”

LOL, you nailed it!
it’s an awkward combo…

Reply

Bob T. July 26, 2014 at 12:17 pm

how do you work this in if you have a full time JOB? do you skip the JOB and just pitch real estate?

Reply

Dave Slaughter July 27, 2014 at 7:37 am

Maybe something like this…
“I’m involved in a couple of industries. I work as a widget maker at acme widgets,but what really excites me is how I help private investors earn x% on their money.” Then go into Brandon’s suggested formula.

Reply

Chris Winkler July 26, 2014 at 1:07 pm

The elevator pitch is so important to have and practice until you can say it without stumbling. Thanks for the way you break it into pieces so anyone can tailor it to their niche in the real estate world. Keep up the great content guys!

Reply

Patrick July 26, 2014 at 2:52 pm

2. Your Company Name – Or are you just running this out of your mom’s garage?

Well… I had planned on getting a company name, LLC/S Corp or something that sounded/appeared official, but so many people have said “you dont need any of that noise when youre just starting out, or if ever really.”

Would it sound better as “I just started up ABC investments..” or “yeah Im Bob Smith” ? I think a business name adds some legitimacy to not only a pitch but the business as a whole.

Im still pretty torn on how much effort I should be putting on a brand name/identity.

Reply

Sharon Vornholt July 27, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Great post Brandon.

I don’t know very many people in our business that can nail this one. The worksheet you provided gives everyone that doesn’t have an “elevator pitch” the chance to start August off with a great one. This was a great idea.

Sharon

Reply

Brant Richardson July 27, 2014 at 5:24 pm

Great idea for an article. We all have a little speech we say but most don’t sit and craft it. Most people like me talk about their 9-5 job and throw real estate in there as an after thought… maybe… if it seems appropriate. Thanks for the help.

Reply

Brant Richardson July 27, 2014 at 6:34 pm

I would like to see this as a featured forum post that people could contribute their elevator pitch in.

Reply

Dick Rosern July 28, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Great post Brandon! I have done the exact same thing for years but did not have your steps to guide me. I have reaped the benefits of BNI networking groups and they require such a speech but when you see mostly the same people each week you need to change it up a little bit periodically. Using your steps to build several variations of a “60 second” or “elevator speech” will be of great help.

Reply

Jake M August 4, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Dick,

Have you used BNI for REI investing? If so, how has that worked for you? I have been in BNI for my day contracting job with mixed success, and curious if it could be a good fit for a REI company.

Reply

Dick Rosern August 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Jake, yes I was successful in my BNI group in Minnesota. Everyone was familiar with the “We Buy Ugly Houses” marketing so I went with I Buy Pretty Houses in Pretty Neighborhoods… they would bring me leads of friends family or neighbors that needed to sell a house. Some of them I referred to the realtor in our group but I did actually buy a few houses from the referrals.

Reply

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