Nov 02

How to Make a Great Elevator Pitch (for any product, service or brand you)

1. Start by building a Message Map (first pioneered by Forbes contributor Carmine Gallo)


2. Build your message map in 6-steps:
a. Create short headline for your product, service or, if you are creating a personal message map, for brand you
b. Support your headline with 3 (or a maximum of 4) key benefits
c. Reinforce key benefits with stories, statistics, data and examples
d. Describe in 3 to 5 words your brand
e. Create a memorable tagline (maximum of 5 words)
f. Summarize all this in a 140 character (Twitter) message

3. Next, develop 1 or 2-minute pitch/include the strongest of these elements:
a. Introduce yourself & team

now for your entertainment tonight

b. Remember to smile

remember to smile

c. Tell us what you are pitching
d. Tell us what problem you are solving
e. Start by laying out value proposition
f. Use prop, chart or message map but not PPT
g. How exactly does product or service benefit single client?
h. Show by buying product or service, client makes money by increasing revenues or lowering costs or both
i. Introduce some DV, differentiated value aka ‘pixie dust’

pixie dust

j. Create sustainable enterprise with long term competitive advantage/concession/franchise
k. Never say, “If I can just get 1% of this (really huge) market, we’ll be set…”
l. Will enterprise outlive founder?

outlive the founder

m. Talk about business model
n. Talk about team
o. Talk about technology/Internet integration
p. Talk about why you are going to be successful
q. Talk about how you are going to generate cash
r. Talk about how you propose to drive sales (opportunities are useless to entrepreneurs* if they first have to spend $3m on a Super Bowl commercial before they land any launch clients)

super bowl ad

(* By definition, entrepreneurs start with nothing or next to nothing. VC-funded enterprises, those that start out with a big check from a venture fund or super angel are really large businesses with no clients/customers/cashflow masquerading as startups. The fact is that most entrepreneurs are, in effect, promoters. In many cases, it is more important to long term project success to have focused, qualified, passionate entrepreneurs involved than people with a lot of liquid financial resources because folks in that category don’t tend to undertake arduous startup adventures, Ed.)

t. Talk about how you plan to cost-effectively connect with clients

(E.g., Grade A Techs jump started sales this way: signs on telephone poles; hand bills and flyers; high page rank from Google; lawn signs)God bless our pool

4. Record public or unlisted YouTube version


5. Four key tests:                                                                                                 i. Must be succinct/title can’t be as long as story                                             ii. Must be easy to understand—grandma and grand kids                            iii. Must be greed inducing                                                                              iv. Must be irrefutable


6. Elevator pitch is just an opening gambit

7. Best sales presentation becomes conversation/Q & A

8. Selling is telling so tell stories/use analogies

selling is telling

9. People have trouble remembering more than 2 or 3 main points so only leave behind less than a handful of these

10. Doing this creates impetus for deal making/your own Steve Jobs’ reality distortion field

reality distortion field

(Prof Bruce message map reproduced below)

Prof Bruce Personal Message Map

creating a personal message map





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Message Map


Elevator Pitch Workshop


How to Make a Great Elevator Pitch


More on Message Maps


Marking grid for elevator pitch


PPT file:


Word doc:


Workshop word doc:

Spread The Word

About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.