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General Business Tips

What Are You Selling with Your Elevator Speech?

BIG Mike offers a reminder of the importance of having a brief explanation of what you do -- complete with 'hook,' ready for anyone who asks.

by BIG Mike McDaniel

The number one marketing rule is "Sell Benefits." The products and companies that excel are ones that push benefits, not features. Over time, you'll find that the origin of many business relationships will be your 'elevator speech.' In case the term is an unfamiliar one, they are those first few words that set the stage for putting two people closer together in a way that may result in a long term and very profitable business relationship.

If your elevator sells features, you may get off at the wrong floor. Take a poll and you'll find that no one really cares about you, except maybe your dog. What they care about is them. The old WIIFM acronym is "What's In It For Me?" You can be sure that what's exciting for them is not your opening salvo that says YOU are the number one sweeping contractor in Muskeegee.

Your elevator speech is, by definition, those 13 or fewer words that follow that question you should love to hear: "What do you do?" Your answer should be laced with benefits and beg the follow up question "Oh? Tell me more!"

"I play a major role in keeping pollutants out of our waterways!"

Those are 12 words that cannot be met with "ho-hum." If someone said that to you, you would have to ask, even if you just came from the creek and it didn't look all that clean.

The carefully crafted elevator speech solves a problem, eases pain, does something nice. It does not state name and title. "I'm the VP at Acme Ball Bearings." Yawn...

"I help cars go faster and ride smoother on less gas!" Now you've got my attention. And who knows, I may have a brother in law who has a company that eats ball bearings for breakfast and buys them by the train car load. Write your elevator speech on a piece of paper. Cross out all the features and amplify the benefits. Make life easier in 13 words or less and then deliver your speech with an enthusiasm designed to have them beat a path to your door.

Just for fun, tell the next ten people you know (not in your company) that you just read an article about elevator speeches. Ask them to tell your their elevator speech.

Then, keep track of what the result was with those 10 people. Haw many stumbled and mumbled unprepared? How many blurted out a company and title? How few actually tantalize you with 13 words with a great big hook in them? 10 people... go on, you will be very surprised. Then, design and memorize a great elevator speech of your own and practice it until it's so polished that it shines.

To learn more about how to craft a winning elevator speech visit

Have a great 'elevator speech' designed to interest people (prospects!) in your business? Send it to us and we'll post it here at the end of the article, along with one of those all-important links to your website.

BIG Mike is a Business Consultant and Professional Speaker. His BIG Ideas Group helps business grow with promotions, special reports, mastermind groups, seminars and consulting. Subscribe to "BIG Ideas for Small Business" Newsletter by going to You can reach the author via email sent to:

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