Seven top tips for building a 10 second SME pitch

Small business owners are busy and they’re bombarded with pitches. To get through to them you have to respect their time and ensure your pitch packs a punch.

This is where the 10-second, or elevator pitch comes in. An elevator pitch is, in the words of Mind Tools, a ‘brief, persuasive speech that you use to spark interest in what your organisation does’.

Your pitch needs to have a hook: something that will make SMEs (small and medium enterprises) prick up their ears and remember you. You need to intrigue them enough that they come after you for more. Here’s how.

  1. Know your business

    Just because your pitch is short doesn’t mean it should be superficial. You need a comprehensive knowledge of what you do and why it benefits SMEs to be able to successfully condense it into 10 seconds. Follow our tips on building product knowledge.

  2. Follow your own advice

    You tell your clients to think of their WOW factor – the one thing that makes them different and will make people want to switch to their product or service. Figure out your own WOW factor that will resonate the loudest with SMEs.

  3. Create a bang, but not a big bang

    Keep your pitch realistic. For most SME’s, their advertising spend is 2 percent or less of their turnover. In cash terms, for business-to-business SMEs, that means around $3,220 for those with one to ten employees and $84364 for those with 11-50 employees. Focus on tangible, relatively short-term goals that SMEs know they can afford to achieve with you.

  4. Don’t try to cram too much in

    Research suggests that our short-term memory can only retain about four items of information. So there’s no point firing off a list of bullet points in your pitch; instead, pick three or four key benefits for the listener and craft your 10-second story around those.

  5. Focus on results, not process

    ‘”Do-it-for-you” is what SMEs want; they wake up and want to run their business,’ says Jed Williams of Main Street Hub. It might seem like a gargantuan task to explain what you do in 10 seconds, but that shouldn’t be your aim. You should be telling SMEs what you do for them. If they don’t have to worry about doing it, they don’t need to hear about it in your pitch.

  6. Plan, write, practice and repeat

    10 minutes thinking won’t give you the perfect 10-second SME pitch. Plan it, write it and try it out on as many people as you can. Then edit and improve it. Avoid technical jargon entrepreneurs won’t understand and hackneyed claims they’ve heard a hundred times. Make it about them, not you and practice a natural delivery.

  7. Be prepared to tell them more

    If you’ve got your pitch right, SMEs are going to be clamoring to learn more. You need to have a set of questions ready that will help you determine if your SME listener is worth pursuing for a sale and have your 10-minute conversation pitch ready to roll if they prove to be a hot lead.