How’s Your Elevator Speech?

Steve, Chuck and I are continually getting marketing questions. People are always looking for the next great marketing tool. Right now SEO, social media, as well as tools like iPads etc. generate a tremendous amount of interest.

elevator speech for cleaners

Technology is great and is a great tool especially for small businesses. (We have covered on this website quite a few of these tech-savvy marketing innovations.) In the marketing portion of the SFS seminar I talk about one of the simplest  (but overlooked) tools which is your business card. The goal of every employee should be to hand out at least 25 cards a day to individuals they encounter. They also need to have a well-rehearsed elevator speech.

Don’t know what an elevator speech is? Have no fear we have you covered. The Heath Brothers, authors of Made to Stick and Switch wrote about it in their recent newsletter and have added a lot of great links to really go deep on the subject.

Sign up for their newsletter and learn about their books here.


An elevator pitch is a mixture of an explanation and a sales pitch. It’s intended to get people excited about your organization, your new product, or even you personally (in an interview situation). Here’s how to give a good one:

1. Think short – no shorter than 30 seconds and no longer than 3 minutes. Time it.

2. If your topic is complex, use the “anchor & twist” format to orient your audience.

3. Don’t wing it, script it. Once you’ve figured out how to explain something well, there is NO value in novelty. Tell it the same (effective) way every time.

4. ‘Why’ comes before ‘What.’ People will understand better what you’re doing if they first know why you’re doing it. Here’s an example: “Most people invest some of their savings and give some of it away to charity. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could do both at once — get interest AND impact? That’s why we invented the Calvert Community Investment Notes.”

5. Mandatory: Include a story. For a product pitch, tell a customer’s story. For a nonprofit pitch, talk about the people you help. For self-promotion, highlight a time when you nailed it.

6. Check out other pitches for inspiration. Here’s one that we worked on for Peter Singer’s great book, The Life You Can Save. And here’s a great article about elevator pitches, starring Dave Yewman and Andy Craig, the masters of the craft.

2 thoughts on “How’s Your Elevator Speech?”

  1. Oh boy, Dan, don’t encourage Big Billy! Now he’ll start cranking out posts like a baby does dirty diapers!


    PS Actually Bill is one of the smartest people in the industry today and certainly the best read. We are fortunate to have him on our SFS team.

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