4 Simple Steps to Building a Perfect Escalator – Not Elevator – Speech

The trouble with a classic elevator speech is that in tele-sales no one has the time or the inclination to hear what you have to say.

Communicating by phone is different than face to face where a suspect or a prospect will grant you a few more moments if only to be courteous. On the phone it is simple and easy for a prospect to terminate the call and that’s one of the main reasons why you need an escalator speech.

An escalator speech is an abbreviated version of an elevator speech and it is absolutely vital in the world of B to B tele-sales. Whereas an elevator speech is based on the premise that you present what you do over the time it takes to travel a few floors up an elevator, the escalator speech is based on the premise that you present what you do in the time it takes to travel only one floor.

Why Else You Need an Escalator Speech

Apart from the fact that the prospect can easily wriggle out of a phone conversation, you need an escalator speech because the average prospect can only absorb so much from an unsolicited call. Too often, tele-sales reps try to cover all the bases of what they do and, at best, this confuses the prospect with clutter and at worst, it overwhelms them.

A good escalator speech is short, simplified, succinct and laser-like. In effect, it imprints a single core message that is more likely to be remembered by your prospect. If you do this you’ll have creates a competitive edge.

How to Craft a Good Escalator Speech

Step #1: Identify Who You Work With

Define you target market. If you sell to engineers or single moms or small business owners or IT directors or high school educators or whoever, say that up front. This simple tip creates instant affinity. At a conscious or subconscious level your prospect understands that what you do relates personally to them.

What you DON’T want to do is say that you are a ‘sales rep,’ an investment advisor, a consultant, a business development rep, an account manager or whatever. That’s a title, not a description. Who cares and who remembers?

Step #2: Relate What You Do Well to a Problem or an Opportunity

Weave in a motivator. You must reference to a “pain” or “gain” or a problem or an opportunity that you can solve or help achieve. You need to pick at a scab, so to speak. This will get their heads to turn. You don’t have to heap it on; just make reference to the irritant or benefit.

Step #3: Use the WIDI or WWDI Template

Is order to bring absolute consistency in the delivery of your message (and to make it easier to learn) use one of these to phrase to help build your escalator speech:

WIDI – What I do is.
WWDI -What We do is.

Putting it all together here some simple examples:

“What I do is I work with engineers and architects who struggle to find the time to get their yearly accreditation.”

“What I do is I work with single moms who are worried about their retirement future.”

“What I do is I consult with chiropractors who are interested in growing the revenues and profitability of their practice.”

“What we do is work with small hardware stores who struggle to find affordable, every day products.”

“What I do is work with B to B distributors who struggle to use the phone to sell and market their products.”

“What we do is help hospitals manage product costs.”

Notice the brevity of each escalator speech. Sure you may do more. Heck, you may do a lot more! But no one is interested at the stage of the game. Play your strongest card. If you catch the client’s interest they’ll ask for additional information.

Step #4 Practice

You are tired of hearing it but practice DOES make perfect. Practicing will make the words flow. It will make the speech sound natural and relaxed. If you don’t practice you’ll be self conscious and you’ll stop using it.

Where to Use the Escalator Speech

You can use the escalator speech

– opening statements after you identify the name of your company
– as an introduction to your company in your presentation
– as a heading on your e-mails, letters or faxes
– on brochures
– on business cards
– at networking events
– virtually anywhere


Elevators speeches are important. An escalator speech can easily be expanded to an elevator speech when you are granted the time or the opportunity. Use the escalator when time is important but also when you want to make a single, memorable impact