The New Elevator Pitch: Share Your “Why,” Not Your “What”

I can remember just a year ago when, by chance, I found myself having a conversation with a woman affiliated with the United Nations. I began to open up to her about my vision for reimagining higher education.

I recognized there wasn’t anything logical about why she should be interested in my idea. I didn’t have much to show for it like a fancy website, sponsors or a big social media presence, but I did have one thing that set me apart—passion. I was able to convey my “why” behind my project, the burning need I felt for the education system to expand its horizons to prepare students for nontraditional career paths. She was immediately enrolled, and on the spot she invited me to present my idea to the UN in 3 weeks.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gotten doors to open for me simply because the other person could feel the passion in my heart behind my idea. In fact, it’s the #1 thing that’s set me apart and helped my businesses take flight in the world.

That’s because the culture around business is shifting—as Simon Sinek famously said, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

The classic elevator pitch, in which we share “what” we do, is outdated. People are no longer swayed by a list of credentials; they are desensitized to it. Instead, they want to feel something when you share your idea, which is why your cause is the first thing you should lead with.

94% of Millennials today would switch brands to support a cause. It’s clear—the trend is towards impact and service.

So how do you craft a pitch that instantly enrolls others in your “why”? One entrepreneur whose “why” is spreading like wildfire can teach you.

Meet Jack Delosa, a serial entrepreneur, investor, and the founder and CEO of The Entourage, Australia’s largest education institution for entrepreneurs, which has over 300,000 members. He’s also a two-time bestselling author, has been featured in popular publications like GQ and Men’s Health, and has over 10,000 hours of speaking experience for audiences like TEDx, AMEX, Virgin, and Microsoft.

This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, Delosa shares why enrolling others in the “why” behind your business is the most effective way to generate support for your company.

Below, read Delosa’s tips to craft a powerful, 60-second pitch for your business that conveys your purpose and invites others to align with your vision.

1. Understand your audience. In order to create a vision that resonates with others, you need to understand who it is you’re serving and what it is that they crave. “I want to know what frustrates my audience, what problems they have that they talk to their friends about, problems they don’t talk to anyone about, the fears and reluctances that hold them back, their immediate desires and their dreams,” Delosa says.

“Go deep into the hearts and minds of your audience so that you can best speak to them, connect with them, market to them, sell to them, serve them, and retain them.” When you seek to empathize with your audience, you will learn how to strike a chord of resonance with them so they will care about your company and stand behind you.