Swim in the Shark Tank: 7 Ways to Perfect Your Business Pitch

When it comes to crafting the perfect elevator pitch, you can get plenty of sharp insight from watching the popular ABC TV show, Shark Tank, which just finished its fifth season on Friday. These entrepreneurs really have their work cut out for them, from landing a spot on the show to persuading the judges to invest money into their business idea. 

We all need a good elevator pitch for just about anything we want to promote — work experience, consulting services, business opportunities or creative ideas. A good elevator pitch has several important components that work in tandem to keep your audience engaged and interested in learning more. You’ll know your business pitch is solid if you’ve addressed these seven areas:

Suitability — Assess your audience to determine whether the listener is a potential partner, client or influencer. Craft different versions of your pitches to fit various audience profiles. How you present your pitch to a potential hiring manager, for example, should not be the same as how you would present to a colleague who could provide valuable advice or a referral.

Features and benefits — Features describe your overall concept or experience and often require something visual to illustrate the distinguishing qualities, such as your resume, a website, a graph or even just a business card. Benefits describe why the features matter to your audience — what’s in it for them? What problem are you solving, what convenience are you offering or how does your pitch fill one of their needs?

Research — Provide just enough information at a high level, without too many details, to validate and differentiate your pitch. Your research could pertain to your expertise, relevant statistics or information you’ve learned about your audience.

Objections — By anticipating the possible objections your audience might have, such as limited resources or risk factors, you can put a more positive spin on a challenge and relate it to an opportunity. Demonstrate your understanding of the objection and your compassion for how your audience feels about it.

Integrity — Be relaxed and authentic and always tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Stick to the facts and show your audience that you are ethical and capable.

Passion — Treat your pitch with enthusiasm but turn off the hard-sell. A good elevator pitch is not about closing the deal. It’s about garnering interest and developing a relationship that will lead you and your audience to a sound decision.

Speed — We’re not talking about speaking at warp speed, but it’s critical that your message be concise, hence the idea that it could be delivered during an elevator ride. Spend some time rehearsing your pitch in the mirror or with a friend. You don’t want to sound too scripted, but you do want to be succinct.

The potential benefits of delivering a successful pitch shouldn’t be underestimated. Shark Tank has been renewed for a sixth season, and this season more than $16 million was invested in the winning ideas