You meet someone in a hotel elevator.
You realize that he’s a partner at Sequoia Capital, the world’s most renowned Venture Capital firm. You have less than 30 seconds in the elevator to pitch your company to him, and get enough interest to schedule a meeting.
Take too long, lack coherence, get lost in details, and the opportunity is gone: you missed your chance. Worse, you might make a bad impression, setting you back!
SCIPA is a framework I learned from a friend, a framework for engaging then persuading prospects, minus all verbosity. With it, you can boil your pitch down to under 30 seconds, keep your prospect’s attention, and persuade him.
How does SCIPA work? SCIPA is short for Situation, Complication, Implication, Position, the Asks. Each letter takes the prospect and you closer to your goal, with a funnel approach.
You start out by describing the context, or Situation. This is a general, obvious statement like “this table cloth is nice”. You then refine the situation with a Complication: “this table cloth gets used a lot, and is frequently spilled over”. See what we’ve done here? We’ve introduced the matter, and presented a problem with it. Then, you show that the problem is an important one, and detail the Implications of it: “it takes a lot of time and money to clean the cloth after every meal, and if you don’t do a good job at it, clients won’t come back!” (adapting the implication to the audience can help). Then, and only then, do you Position your product or service, by describing both What and Why: “We make tablecloth specially designed to be impervious to stains and food odors (=What), so you eliminate the risk of bringing non-immaculate tablecloth to your customers (=Why)”. You then end with the Asks, in which you bring up what you want from the conversation: “We have reached product/market fit, and are seeking growth capital to accelerate market dominance.”
Oh, and by the way, did you see what I did here? I used SCIPA for the blog post
Here’s the one I made for Scalr:
Situation: A website requires a web server, right?
Complication: But as traffic grows, it will overload that single server; you’ll need several, and network, configure, and manage them all.
Implication*: If you don’t do this right, your site will be down, slow, and you’ll lose potential customers because of poor user experience.
Position: We write software that scales your app (=What), so you don’t have to go through trial and error learning to do yourself, or spend the money hiring scaling experts (=Why).
The Ask: If you know someone who faces or might face fast growth, let me know and we’ll help him out.
*Implication should be tailored to the listener’s sensibilities.