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The simplicity of an elevator pitch can be taken to another level to significantly improve chances of success.

We call it the Oscar Pitch.

Let me explain.

A young executive of a global mining company approached Sherpa to help their local fabrication supplier, a chap called Oscar, to present at an African mining indaba attended by global leaders. The executive was tasked by the mining group’s CEO with ensuring that Oscar (a) didn’t embarrass the sponsoring miner, and (b) that he landed contracts. Achieving anything less would have been career limiting for our anxious client.

Oscar’s pitch comprised of just seven slides, and he landed 6 contracts. His 30-minute slot at the podium was completed in 15 minutes or so.

What happened?

  • From the outset, we set our sight on 7 slides only which included the Intro slide and obligatory Thank You slide.
  • We knew that the audience understood exactly what fabrication was all about, and wasted no real estate or mind-space on presenting what they already knew.
  • Time was spent with the young mining executive, finding out what the 4 or 5 “things” would be going through the heads of his industry colleagues in the audience, and in what order.

One of Oscar’s strengths is being hands-on. That was the first slide and it resonated with the audience. But a natural consequence of this benefit was continuity should Oscar not be around (hopefully not, as the obvious intent was to land more contracts). So, the second slide introduced Oscar’s management team, equally experienced and hands-on.

Roughly, here’s how it went down:

“We supply fabrication services (category) for XXXXX Global Mining Group (credibility) in the DRC (local knowledge). I’m hands-on and on-site (spontaneity) but when I can’t be there, my experienced management team will be (continuity). We source our material from Gauteng as opposed to importing from Europe (ZAR vs EUR), and we manufacture on-site instead of outside of the region. (Negating delays, costs, and risk mitigation while creating employment). Looking forward to meeting you during the lunch break (confident, warm close)”.

Each slide or utterance ticked ‘validation’ boxes in different parts of the delegate’s minds. We applied some neuro-marketing learnings which, among others, recognises that certain words or phrases connect with different parts of the brain.

The elevator pitch is the way to go but stretch its effectiveness by including audience dynamics, brand, and neuro-marketing insights to truly connect when presenting your sales pitch.

Gary Hendrickse
CEO Sherpa Brand Strategy and Design
+27 83 677 7342


Sherpa Brand, Design and Marketing is Cape Town-based but services clients throughout South Africa, mostly in Gauteng, and further afield in Australia. Crafting sales pitches and the accompanying profile documents has become a standout feature of Sherpa, including helping private equity and specialised corporate finance companies to raise investment or capital for their clients.