Elevator pitch for techies

Guest contribution by | 27.11.2023

Do you know the German TV show “Die Hoehle der Loewen”? It’s a programme in which founders and inventors present ideas with the aim of attracting investors for them. More than 1 million viewers regularly watch the show, which has popularised the topic of pitches beyond the boundaries of the agency and sales world.

A pitch is any presentation that triggers an action. An invitation to dinner can be just as much a pitch as a marriage proposal or a sales presentation. Interestingly, not every good speaker can automatically pitch well, so read the post to the end, I’m sure you’ll benefit from it.

What is a good pitch?

To understand how you can get people to act, let’s take a look at the human brain. Imagine that your brain consists of a core and a shell. The core is your emotional brain. This is where you make your decisions. Following a decision, your rational brain – aka shell – takes over and rationalises your decision. To put it simply: you and I make decisions based on emotions and then look for logical reasons for or against them. Colloquially, it is also said that we make decisions based on our gut feeling and then rationalise them. In other words: Give your counterpart a good gut feeling and real facts. In short: tell the truth.

This truth must be clearly packaged, because when the rational brain is confused, it blocks the flow of information to the emotional brain. Salespeople also know that a confused brain does not buy.

So a good pitch is clear and true, and convinces the entire brain.

Three types of a pitch that you should master

You may recognise an investor pitch from “Die Hoehle der Loewen”. It is long and contains figures and data about the company, the market and the product. It has to be long to convince the investors on the programme.

However, there are also other forms that you should master if you want to persuade people to take action. The three most common forms are the

  • mini pitch,
  • elevator pitch and
  • sales pitch.

The key difference between the forms is the call to action. It picks up customers at different points of a customer journey, for example. You don’t sell anything with a mini pitch, but you can invite the prospective customer to another meeting. There you can ask them to take a look at your website or read a product brochure. This will give them a good impression of your product. This is followed by the sales pitch, which is all about money.

Let’s take a closer look at the three forms:

Mini pitch

A conference or network meeting are usually good places and points in time for a mini pitch. You can often present your company and yourself there. However, you won’t have much time for this if you meet at the coffee machine or in the corridor. Ideally, your speech should sound relaxed and you should use as few technical terms as possible. Use verbs rather than nouns, as they are easier for our brains to process and also increase the willingness to take action. Simply add the call to action, e.g. an appointment for a longer conversation during the next break, at the end.

The short formula for your mini pitch is as follows:

I help ___ (Who?) ___ (What to do?). ___ (Call to action).

“My name is Katharina Boguslawski and I help introverted techies to make a strong sales pitch. Talk to me during the break. You’ll find me at table number 3.”

You can expand on this speech if you have a little more time.

The longer formula for your mini pitch is therefore:

I (or my company) help ___ (target audience) struggling with ___ (problem) to achieve ___ (solution). ___ (Call to action).

“My name is Katharina Boguslawski and I help tech companies struggling with low sales figures to pitch strongly. Visit my website.”

Tip: You can also use the mini pitch in your LinkedIn profile.¹

Elevator pitch

The elevator pitch builds on the mini pitch by adding additional elements. It takes its name from the following situation: You – an innovative developer – are in a lift with the top manager of your or another company. During the journey, you have around 60 seconds to convince him of your innovation. How do you do that?

Pitch “naturally”, because you want the top manager to invite you to another meeting where you can go into more detail. That is the real goal of a 60-second pitch: to continue and deepen your presentation. Anything else is rarely realistic.

The five components of an elevator pitch are:

  • presentation
  • problem
  • solution
  • result
  • call to action

Example 1 for an elevator pitch:

“Hello. My name is Katharina Boguslawski. Many technology companies fail to present their technology product in an understandable and convincing way. As a result, they are unable to convince even interested customers and fail to generate sufficient sales. I have developed a guide that shows introverted techies how they can present their product in a sales-boosting way without sounding smarmy. This enables them to convince more customers and increase their sales. Are you interested? Then drop me an email and we’ll have a non-binding chat.”

Example 2:

“Hello. My name is Stefan Schmidt – engineer at the company H2-Messtech. During the production of hydrogen, lubricating oils and poorly cleaned components can leave impurities in the hydrogen. If the production manager sends contaminated hydrogen to his customers, there is a risk of complaints, as the customers’ vehicles can be damaged. This is why we have developed the ‘H2-Qualichamp’ measuring device, which monitors the purity of hydrogen. Quality values are reliably recorded, colour-coded and transmitted to the production manager in real time. Thanks to ‘H2-Qualichamp’, the production manager can recognise invisible impurities, increase the degree of purity and thus extend the service life of customer vehicles. For a demonstration, please contact schmidt@h2-messtech.de.”

Example 3:

“Hello, my name is Laura Foggenstein. I have worked in management in the IT industry for three decades, founding, managing, buying and selling companies. As sales manager at a global market leader, I was responsible for a turnover of 90 million euros. To be successful, it was important to understand how global markets develop. To help other entrepreneurs, I have poured my knowledge into a practice-oriented programme. It teaches managers how to analyse markets and make profitable decisions. Check my homepage to see when the programme starts again.”

Sales pitch

The sales pitch – how could it be otherwise – builds on the elevator pitch by integrating additional components:

  • References and testimonials from other customers to back up your own expertise and make customers not want to miss out (Fear Of Missing Out = FOMO). Nobody wants their competitors to be better than themselves.
  • Urgency, e.g. through a deadline. You can create urgency relatively easily with the help of seasonal offers and discounts. Perhaps you are familiar with phrases such as “Today only” or “While stocks last”?
  • After the call to action, the customer may still have objections such as “Is there a money-back guarantee?”, “Can I return the product?” or “Can I pay in installments?”. Take these questions as signs that the customer is interested in buying and remove any objections. Provide information about your solution, your service or your product. And if the objection is raised during a conversation, take it up again at the end of the conversation and show your customer that you have actively listened and understand the significance of the objection. This is how you create trust.


Some important tips for your next pitch

How do you pitch convincingly?

The answer to this simple question depends on the context; do you want to use a short speech to open the door to a more in-depth conversation during the next break at a conference or arouse interest in the presentation of a world first in a lift? Are you in a sales situation and need to present your solution and use objections for your argumentation?

There are a few basic tips that will help you to pitch convincingly in many situations:

  • Practise your mini pitch. There will be many situations in which you are allowed to present yourself, your company or your service briefly and concisely. The better you get at this, the more often you will open doors and receive further opportunities for interaction.
  • Pay attention to the context and the people you want to inspire for yourself or your idea. Use your powers of observation and weigh up what might work best in the specific moment to enable you to take the next step together.
  • Practise your elevator pitch too. You may also be able to communicate your concerns and benefits in 45 seconds to arouse the customer’s interest.
  • If you are in a sales situation, create a structure in the conversation and possibly in your PowerPoint slides that makes it easy for the people present to follow you and your line of argument.
  • Always remember the call to action. Ideally, this should be so simple that it is easy for your customer to carry it out.
  • And make sure that your words and body language match. If you want to pitch a cyber security solution, you should ideally not appear insecure or nervous. As a general rule, a competent and calm demeanour is helpful to avoid leaving customers in any doubt.

And last but not least: a pitch is not just a way of persuading someone to take action. It is also a chance for this person to get to know you and your product. Simply tell them why it is important for them to engage with the topic now.



[1] You can use your pitch including call to action in many places: in your LinkedIn profile, in presentations, in brochures or flyers, on your website or in a direct conversation.

You can find a German-language step-by-step instructions for an elevator pitch as a printable visual memo on Katharina Boguslawski’s beautiful website:

Elevator Pitch Template

If you like the article or would like to discuss it, please feel free to share it in your network.

Katharina Boguslawski has published another article in the t2informatik Blog:

t2informatik Blog: Introverts in brainstorming sessions

Introverts in brainstorming sessions

Katharina Boguslawski

Katharina Boguslawski

Katharina Boguslawski is a physicist, trainer for technical creativity and presentations and author. She accompanies companies from the creation of ideas in brainstorming to the presentation of ideas and their implementation.

She lives with her family in Trier, believes in inspiration in a cup of tea and loves to dance out of bed in the morning to a happy song.