Is your financial advisor elevator pitch crap?

Sign Up For Daily Newsletter: Receive one actionable marketing tip each DAY!

As a financial advisor moves around in his or her social circles, people are going to ask you what you do for a living. Most advisors just barf meaningless financial advisor elevator pitch crap because they are in the dark about the question of how to respond. In this podcast, you will learn how to get a great financial advisor elevator pitch and I’ll show you 8 examples.

For those of you who are new to my blog/podcast, my name is Sara. I am a CFA® charterholder and I used to be a financial advisor. I have a weekly newsletter in which I talk about financial advisor lead generation topics which is best described as “fun and irreverent.” So please subscribe!

Let’s get on with the blog!

What is the objective of an elevator pitch?

Admit it, your elevator pitch is probably crap because most people’s are. I can’t blame you; the marketing industry has done a heck of a bad job teaching the financial advisor elevator pitch. They taught financial advisors to do this in a very egocentric way, that involves a high quantity of information much higher quantity than needs to be. I think it stinks.

If you feel your financial advisor elevator pitch is good tweet then it to me @grilloinvest, and I’ll retweet it if I like it; but most peoples elevator pitches are crap.

Let’s just start off with, what is the objective of a financial advisor elevator pitch. The fact is that it shouldn’t actually be a pitch, especially since all you are financial advisors. I mean, are you kidding me, how do you even know the person is even qualified? You shouldn’t be selling nada at this point right. We are not in the iPhone business; you’re looking for a very specific kind of person and this is a long-term relationship you are looking to develop.

Forget all about trying to impress somebody with your credentials. Let’s just leave that behind, okay. Let’s be clear:

The objective of the financial advisor elevator pitch is to get people to respond, get them to react and to get them to tell you something about themselves that can later be used as a basis for a future sales or prospecting meeting.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

We are not going to go into prospecting mode when we first meet somebody. Let’s just get that straight. You have to make them curious, you have to make them think that you are cool, but you want them to be motivated to speak; you don’t want them to be stunned into silence, I mean we have all done this before right?

Someone asks you “Oh so hey there, what do you do for a living?” You are sitting around the taco bowl at a party or something, and then you kind of launch into your grand old shiny financial advisor elevator pitch crap and afterwards the person is like “Oh that’s great”… *silence*”.

You failed, the pitch failed, okay. Say something cool and then shut the heck up. Then if you do it right they are going to say something back if there is any interest or possibility.

Cut this financial advisor elevator pitch crap out!

I did this podcast called the ‘2 sentence rule’ and I encourage you to review that. Basically it’s a new mode of communication for financial advisors. I’m interested in creating a new way of communicating and especially in financial services, but this is just human to human.

A great way to communicate with other human beings is to just keep it to two sentences.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

You could really mess yourself all up by putting too many ideas in there. It can become very scattered, and no one is going to get it. That is because:

  • no
    one can pay attention
  • it’s
    just too distracting to put too many ideas in there
  • and
    it’s just overwhelming and annoying.

A financial advisor elevator pitch should be two sentences and you make the last one a question.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

What do I say, then?

I am going to give you some examples of some financial advisor elevator pitches I thought out for y’all. But one thing I just want you to understand about this before I give this to you is that this is experimental, okay?

Customize it to what you think will work for you and try it on some people. If it doesn’t work, then switch it around until it does work. Don’t go to pieces just because your initial attempts at a financial advisor elevator pitch aren’t great.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

Look I’m a great marketing mind okay, so if it doesn’t work for you, it might be down to the delivery of it. Write down the points you want to say, and then kind of flex it to your style. Practice it over and over again until it feels natural.

Financial elevator pitch crap – avoid it at all costs!

#1 Leave your company name out of this.

If your work for one of the big companies, that might not work, “Oh I work at UBS, oh I work at Merrill”. No offence to my clients, I have a lot of clients at those companies but like that might not work with someone who is not into big companies, and might just turn them off before trying to know you;, that might end the conversation for you right there.

So leave the company name out because it is a prime example of the financial advisor elevator pitch crap people hate.

If they don’t know your company name, if it’s like ‘Red Oak Hill Bark Stick River’ (like all you financial advisors name your companies after nature), like if it some independent RIA firm with 3 people, nothing against that either, but they are not going to recognize the name! 

Just don’t even bother them with it. They are not going to remember it, and they don’t care.

#2 Qualifications are financial advisor elevator pitch crap in the highest

The other thing is: leave your qualifications out.

Don’t be talking about working at a RIA firm and we have 6 PhD’s and 25 CFA’s and we are pioneering a new wave to calculate the efficient frontier. They don’t care at this point, and they will probably never care about that, so just leave that out for goodness sake.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

#3 End in a question or call to action

Understand that the last sentence of a financial advisor elevator pitch should always be something that can provoke a response, whether it is humor or questions or an invitation to something, whatever it is. Two sentences, the last one is a sentence with intentionality. The last sentence should invite them to participate and prompt them to respond. Don’t just barf until you feel like you have nothing left to barf on them.

The last sentence shouldn’t be a barf. It should be something that gets them to take action.

-Sara Grillo, CFA

My own elevator pitch and why it works

I’ll tell you some financial advisor elevator pitch examples. But first I am going to discuss my own elevator pitch so you can see a good example of an elevator pitch that really works well.

For example, here is how I approach it when I am in a meeting and somebody asks me, “What do you do?” I get people who find me through various ways and then they get me on the phone, and they are like ‘Sara, what do you do?’. I don’t know what they are looking for so I’m not going to go blabbing on because I do a lot of different kind of things.

This is what I say, “I’m a marketing consultant for financial advisors, and I basically help in two major ways. One is really low cost, and the other costs a fortune. So maybe we should start by me asking you some questions and see what might apply”.

As my skill has evolved, I have started to use this pitch. I haven’t used it forever, some of you may say “I was talking to you 3 years ago and you never used that elevator pitch!” Obviously not okay, but what I am saying is, like I said to you, I am always experimenting, but I have found that this one works really well. I basically lay it out what I do, “I am a marketing consultant for financial advisors”, but then I don’t pitch them anything, like “Oh yeah I do websites and social media consulting, and *barf, barf, barf*”. I hold back the barf and don’t discuss what I offer until later on in the conversation.

Stop barfing

I’m not going to barf on them at first until I know what the heck to barf about, even in a case in which somebody is actually inviting me to pitch. Often I’m in a meeting, they have said they are interested in my services and invited me to pitch, and yet I am still holding back on the pitch. Even though they are suggesting that I pitch, I haven’t heard enough from them yet to know what to pitch about. So if I pitch, I’m guessing. Wrong guess and I could blow the whole entire deal. I’m at the level that I am perceptive enough that I realize that I don’t know anything about this person.

Think of a baseball game

If I am a pitcher in a baseball game, I don’t know who the batter is. When I am at a social event or soccer field with my kids, and people say “Oh hey Sara, what do you do?’, and I say “I am a marketing consultant, I help financial advisors who want to find fight their natural tendencies to barf meaningless cliché on their prospects”.

Now that always gets a reaction, and the reason is that it’s funny, or it’s a little bit catching the person off guard, it’s a little bit shocking. But that’s just totally on brand with who I am right, if you know me, you know I tell it like it is. This just is very true to my style and I always get a response when I say that. Sometimes people are like “Hmmm”, that’s at least interesting, even if they are not interested for themselves, they are like “Hmmm, tell me more about that?” This is sheerly due to the fact that I at least entertained them and didn’t barf the same old boring cliche like they are used to hearing.

8 great examples

As I said before, you have to make up your own for yourself and in the meantime here are some examples that leave out the typical financial advisor elevator pitch crap.


As a general financial advisor elevator pitch, you could say “I am a financial advisor, and the way I have been most helpful is….” and then say a problem that people know about.

Now, most people are unhappy about having to pay Uncle Sam, so you could always just say something like, “The way I have been most helpful is preventing my clients’ from getting killed on taxes by looking at the stuff that their accountant always misses.”


Let’s say you are talking to retail investors, as a financial advisor elevator pitch you could say “I am a financial advisor, and the way I have been most helpful is by working with people who don’t realize they are closer to going broke than they know”.

That gets a response from them. The word “broke” is highly entertaining for people to hear.


Let’s say you are calling on ultra-high net worth people, as a financial advisor elevator pitch you would say “I am a financial advisor, and the way I have been most helpful to people is by helping them to understand how to not have their kids mess up their money, in the case they are handing down multi millions to them”.

Here I am qualifying the client, because if I am speaking to somebody and they are not a multi-millionaire, then they are going to say “Oh, great *not interested*” and then you kind of know when next year hear, “Oh can you pass the Gazpacho soup” or “Hey give me a Heineken!”. This is a sign they are ultimately going to move on from that.

But if they are a multi-millionaire and they are worried about that then you will hear “Hmm…. That is a big problem actually… How do you help people with that?”. That is the Holy Grail when somebody says something like that. “That’s interesting, how do you do that? How do you help people with that?”

Notice I am not going on about “CFA, CFP, I have 20 years of experience, I’ve been doing this for three decades…” Who cares! I don’t know you yet. How do I know that you aren’t making that up?


Let’s say I am calling business owners, as a financial advisor elevator pitch you could say “I am a financial advisor, and one way I have been really helpful to business owners or entrepreneurs is…”.

By the way, I actually think people like to be called entrepreneur because it has some cache to it;business owner is so functional. I myself like being called an entrepreneur.

Anyways, “I am a financial advisor and I have been most helpful to entrepreneurs who want to make sure they don’t mess up their biggest asset, the sale of their business”.


Let’s say you are calling on the impact investing crowd, you are looking to sell SRI or ESJ, whatever the term is you use on your kind of investment, your impact investing or sustainable investing.

As a financial advisor elevator pitch you could say “I’m a financial advisor, I work with people and the way I have been most helpful is by helping people who are looking for ways to give their money more meaning, yet can’t seem to find one giving the limited options available”. Don’t say “I’m a financial advisor who looks to do good by doing good…” as a financial advisor elevator pitch. This is such a cliche and it seems like every ESG financial advisor uses this line.

Again making the point here by including “they can’t seem to find one given their limited options” in your financial advisor elevator pitch, that is kind of showing a little bit of differentiation. And that is kind of true in the SRI space because you have got people who are investing in the SMA’s and ETF’s but there still aren’t a million trillion different options out there with SRI.

You could make this financial advisor elevator pitch a little bit more interesting, you could add something extra to this financial advisor elevator pitch like “Yeah I am a financial advisor, I work with anyone who is tired of financial advisors whose solution to everything is an index fund or an annuity”. That’s a little bit more edgy, but you might as well say something to call out the beasts so to speak.

You know when you say the financial advisor elevator pitch sitting there at the holiday party, people are thinking “Oh my gosh, now I am talking to this person and they are going to be putting a pitch on me… and my brother in law is a financial advisor… I just bought life insurance and I don’t know want to talk any more about life insurance”. And you know they are going to get worried.

How many of you have been to a networking meeting and you are sitting there and talking to somebody and they are like “Oh I am a realtor, I lease commercial office space”, and you are like “*sigh* How do I get us out of this conversation?” We have all thought this, maybe you have spoken to a technology vendor to small businesses, and you are like “Ah, I just upgraded Windows, I don’t need to talk to somebody who is going to get me onto Microsoft Azure. ” You are looking for ways out of the conversation.

Don’t be that person. Look for signs of interest before continuing to the next step after you give your financial advisor elevator pitch.


This is why I feel like it is good if the person is a little bit more edgy, you could just use a little humour. “I am a financial advisor and I work with women who are tired of financial advisors who ignore them and only listen to what their husband says”.

Let’s be honest a lot of financial advisors do that. I’ve seen it happen to women I know. I myself have been on the receiving end of sitting there in a meeting with somebody and the person I was involved with at that point was making way more money than me. Maybe not now, but at that point he was, and the mortgage broker acted like I was invisible. I would just say it, instead of being like “Oh I am a financial advisor, I work with highly successful executive women, female engineers….’

In this financial advisor elevator pitch, just say what it is that makes you beneficial to another women instead of just saying “Well, I work with women…”.

What of specific value do you provide to female clients? Make sure you include that in the pitch.


Just have an edge and avoid the financial advisor elevator pitch crap.


“I’m a financial advisor, I have been particularly successful with people who are currently working with an advisor whose fees they can’t seem to justify”.

Now that will catch a lot of people, that’s interesting, that will catch a lot of people’s attention, I think a lot of people have that doubt. It’s very real.


Another edgy financial advisor elevator pitch would go something like, “I am a financial advisor, I work with people who don’t want to pay $3,000 for the same exact financial plan their friend has…’. Be creative, make it your own!

“I am a financial advisor, I have been really successful with people who feel their emotions towards their money are just as important as how much of it there is…”

“I work with people who have been misunderstood by another financial advisor in the industry and are sick of it…”.

“I’m a financial advisor, I work with people who feel they aren’t interested in what the industry currently provides to US military veterans”. Instead the tiringly clichéd “I am a financial advisor, and I serve those who serve…”

I think that’s great, and I love vets, I have so many veterans who are my clients. I love you all and appreciate what you have done for our country. But financial advisors, if you are calling on veterans, ‘serving those who serve’ is a little bit of a cliché at this point.

#8 (super daring)

Now here are some super daring financial advisor elevator pitch examples. This is if you are at that networking meeting or some alumni function, and you are all sitting around the table and you are financial advisor number 25. I used to get this all the time, where I used to be involved in alumni networking for my own alma mater which is Harvard. There were so many people that would be at these things, there were a lot of lawyers in these groups, everyone would try and get the lawyers as their clients, and the doctors and everything. There were a lot of really successful people in these networking groups.

This is for someone who is willing to take the risk, because you realize if you don’t, if you are at that Chamber of Commerce meeting and there are a million financial advisors there handing out their business cards and you are financial advisor elevator pitch number thirty.

Here are some things you could say in your financial advisor elevator pitch. These are super daring.

“I’m a financial advisor, when people ask me what I do I normally just say that I am an advisor, then I shut up. Now, aren’t you all glad I did that?”

I mean, I would laugh if someone said that to me.

“I’m a financial advisor, anyone need some retirement planning?’

“I’m a financial advisor, and I am the one advisor out there who won’t try and sell you whole life insurance right off the bat!”

You have to say these the right way and deliver it, if you are uptight about saying stuff like this, people might not like it. But if you say it with humor with a smile on your face and are comfortable with it, it will really go well.

“I’m a financial advisor, raise your hand if I’ve said enough. Ok, good, I will stop talking”.

“I’m a financial advisor, I help people scrimp and save every penny they earn, avoid paying taxes and disinherit their kids… Anyone interested in doing any of these things? Let me know.”

How about this financial advisor elevator pitch?

“I’m a financial advisor, I try to entice people to buy high fee, long lockup time annuities by using steak dinner seminars. Contact me to sign up for the next one!”.

Funny right?

The last ones were a little bit daring, a little avant-garde. You may as well throw the Hail Mary pass when you are in a situation where you just feel the attention is low, and you need a bit of shock value.

Insurance elevator pitch

Let’s say you sell insurance for a living. Try this:

“I sell insurance policies that protect people’s families from having to eat cat food if something bad happens. And for those who dislike giving away their life savings to the IRS, these policies can help save up money in a tax-advantaged way.”

Now that you have avoided all the financial advisor elevator pitch crap, do this

What’d ya think? Was this helpful?

If yes…

Learn what to say to prospects on social media messenger apps without sounding like a washing machine salesperson. This e-book contains 47 financial advisor LinkedIn messages, sequences, and scripts, and they are all two sentences or less.

This is a book about financial advisor LinkedIn messages which contains scripts you can use to get new prospects.

You could also consider my financial advisor social media membership which teaches financial advisors how to get new clients and leads from LinkedIn.

The Sara Grillo membership is a social media program for financial advisors - but only the cool ones.

Thanks for reading. I hope you’ll at least join my weekly newsletter about financial advisor lead generation.

See you in the next one!

-Sara G


The Two Sentence Rule

Music is Arp Bounce by Geographer

Any questions? Send 'em in!