music industry tips elevator pitch

Music Industry Tips: Creating an Effective Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a useful promotion tool when meeting new industry contacts face-to-face at networking events and conventions. It’s called an elevator pitch because it is intended to grab a person’s immediate attention and hold his or her interest within the time of a short elevator ride.

An elevator pitch must be well written and well rehearsed. While you may have to create a variety of different pitches based on who (booking agents, bloggers, sponsors, etc.) you are pitching, let’s take a look at the essential elements you should include when preparing your pitch.

Provide Your Name With a Memorable Twist: Be prepared to state your personal name and title along with an interesting and memorable twist. For instance, I might say, “Hey there, my name is Bobby Borg. Borg—as in one of the Cyborg characters on Star Trek.” While this is a little silly, it’s memorable and can help break the ice and get a smile.

Flatter the Intended Recipient: Consider complimenting the person that you are approaching. If at a convention, you might congratulate a person on his or her Keynote presentation. Just don’t be over-flattering; you don’t want to sound like an over excited fan.

State Your Title and How You Are Unique: State what you do and how you are unique. Are you a Native American rapper who draws awareness to indigenous rights (like Frank Walin), or a solo jazz guitarist who triggers robots to play multiple instruments on stage (like Pat Metheny)? Whatever makes you unique, just be sure to state it concisely.

Hype Your Career: Include one or two of your most impressive accomplishments in your elevator pitch to build credibility. You might state that you are the recent recipient of The John Lennon Songwriting Competition or a runner-up on the latest season of The Voice.

Sell the Benefits: State how you can help the person you are pitching. In other words, don’t focus on you––focus on the recipient. For instance, you might say, “Given our upcoming tour with Band X, I’m confident that as an endorser of Pearl drums, I would get your company exposed significantly and help generate healthy sales.”

Close an Appointment: Schedule a meeting where you can provide more information about what you have to offer. Prepare two convenient times and locations—a technique appropriately called the “two positive choices close.” For instance, you might say: “Can I buy you lunch in the hotel restaurant this Sunday at 12:30, or meet for a beverage in the lobby bar tonight at 8:00?” Either solution meets your goal.

Have a More Detailed Executive Summary Ready: Have a detailed summary (or what I call a “Shark Tank Pitch”) ready for your follow-up meeting. For instance, you might say more about your long-term vision, how you plan to generate income, what your short-term goals are, how you plan to promote your career, how much money you may need to fund the project, what your biggest risks are and how you plan to reduce these risks.

Meet Any Objections: Make a list of the things people may say in disagreement of what you have to offer, and create a series of wise answers. For instance, if a manager says that he or she is not currently looking for new clients, you might respond with, “I understand that you get pitched every five minutes by unknown acts at a convention like this, but we know you’ll be absolutely impressed with our performance and draw. Can we send you an Uber to our show tonight and cover the tab for you and a guest? Would 7:00 or 7:30 p.m. be best?” While this is an aggressive move on your part, many people will appreciate your salesmanship. Just be sure to always smile, don’t stand too close to the person you are pitching, and be good at reading a person’s body language. It’s important to know when enough is enough.

Give (and Get) a Business Card: Offer to provide a business card to the person you are pitching. (In the best case, your business card should be a unique shape or design to set it apart from the pack.) Ask kindly for a card in return and be sure to follow up in a week or two (or as otherwise directed) from the initial meeting.

Write your pitch and practice reading it while changing the speed and tone of your voice. The point is to not sound like a robot. Once you get the hang of it, try reciting your pitch by memory and ask a friend to role play with you.

A great elevator pitch can mean the difference between getting that manager endorsement, or music placement and getting nowhere. So take this all very seriously!

BOBBY BORG is the author of Business Basics For Musicians and Music Marketing For The DIY Musician, and he is the co-author of the new Five Star Music Makeover. These books are available at bobbyborg.com/store. For a limited time special offer, get either Business Basics For Musicians or Music Marketing For The DIY Musician with a free CD and DVD for $21.99 (a $70 Value).

Bobby Borg