The Escalator Speech


In this day and age of texting, instant messaging, and cell phone stock trading, you must be quick and succinct in order to promote your business.  While the elevator pitch is a fairly effective way of endorsing your services in 60 seconds or less, professionals are expecting an even more truncated approach to self-promotion.

In May 2008, BusinessWeek online introduced the concept of the Escalator Speech which can be relayed in 10 seconds or less.  If you can get that right, more professionals will be willing to stay for a more detailed explanation of your services.

Your escalator speech should be contained in one sentence that is relevant and concise.  Also coined the Twitpitch and the Fortune Cookie Message, it should represent your business well and generate interest in your services from qualified, prospective clients.  Consider the message relayed by Google founders to their investor: “Google would provide access to the world’s information in one click.”  The investor quickly appreciated the vision these young upstarts had for Google.

So how do you pare down your message so that it can be relayed in 140 characters or less? (While 140 characters may sound like a lot, this sentence, counting spaces and punctuation, is exactly that long-not much room for hot air.)

First, you must understand and appreciate the value your business offers.  If you have trouble articulating why your business stands out from the competition, it may be a sign that your business doesn’t yet have a competitive edge.

Second, you must know how your business benefits the listener; this will generate interest in your services.  Brian Solis, author of PR 2.0, explains that this means you must tell the investors how your business will generate income and tell prospective clients how your business will solve their problems.  This may require a different escalator pitch for different audiences.

Third, think of your escalator pitch as a slogan or tagline that would work well in an advertising campaign.  You may even want to start with your mission statement, and tweak it to fit your needs.  Consider Universal Accounting Center’s slogans as an example of springboards to potential escalator speeches.  Changing the face of accounting, one small business at a time may become, “UAC trains students in small business accounting, providing graduates with the skills that will increase a small business’s profitability” (137 characters).    And, If it’s about accounting, it’s Universal may become, “Learn small-business accounting at UAC where we have taught graduates how to start successful bookkeeping practices for more than 25 years” (138 characters).

Your business will benefit from your ability to promote your services quickly and succinctly.  Vinnie Lauria, co-founder of Lefora, explains, “If you have to take more than one sentence to explain your service, people aren’t going to wrap their heads around it.”

Take the time to scrutinize your business enough to create an escalator speech that adequately relays your value in one sentence.  You’ll find that when you do, listeners will be more likely to stick around for even more.

Associate with Peers

You can see how other bookkeepers and accountants are promoting their services by joining our accounting and tax forum.  Upon joining, you can associate with other professionals who are encountering the same issues and challenges with which you may be currently dealing.  Take the time to create a profile today. It’s free and provides you with the perfect networking opportunity.


Tozzi, John.  “The Escalator Pitch.” 16 May 2008

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