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Why You Don’t Need an Elevator Speech


When you recite your memorized elevator speech, does it get you anywhere? You may have put a lot of thought and consideration into it, but maybe you don’t really need it.

I’ve recently had clients who thought they needed an elevator speech because they were having a hard time responding to the question, “What do you do?” And after observing some clients and others in those conversations at networking events, I realized that what they really needed was a way to strategically navigate a conversation in order to determine if the person they were talking to was a prospect.

So I came up with a plan on how to accomplish just that. I refer to this as Marketing Messaging because you are marketing through your message. It’s not a speech, it’s a strategically oriented conversation with a goal. Let’s take a look at each step…

1. The header statement. This is the lead-in, the first thing you say when someone asks what you do. The goal is to impress them with a powerful statement. Think of the highest and best outcome of your product or services, but keep it realistic. The goal of this statement is to get them to ask, “How do you do that?” If they don’t ask, fill in right away with the next step.

“I help small businesses prosper from their marketing and work with the target markets they like best…”

2. Back it up with a bit of your philosophy or concept, and keep it short and sweet. Don’t go in-depth with your method or tacticals, they won’t be interested in that, they’re more concerned with the results. The goal is not to list all of your services, keep it broad until you know more about their needs and can answer to them specifically.

“…by creating customized branding, marketing and social media strategies and solutions.

3. Ask a question focused on what you do. The trick is to ask this right after you said your piece from step 2. Now you’re in control of the conversation and can keep asking questions and filtering them (or not) into your products or services.

“Are you happy with your marketing?”

As the conversation moves along you can interject how you help clients in similar situations. Let the free advice fly. By giving some of it away you let them try before they buy, and at some point this may give you the opportunity to suggest meeting again to discuss it more. Then using the same strategy in Step 3, don’t wait for a response, suggest a day & time or location. This keeps you in control of the conversation and moves you along to the next level.

Keep tweaking it, and don’t memorize it! Have 2 or 3 different ones prepared and use your instincts on what to say. If you’re not sure about yours and what to say, I’d be happy to review it with you in a complimentary 20 minute strategy session. Just send it along in an email to and we’ll get you out of that elevator!