2 – The Elevator Chat

John Carlton’s
Simple Writing System Express Course
Lesson #2 – The Elevator Chat

[text_block style=”style_1.png” align=”left”]Lesson #1 was all about getting inside the head of your Perfect Prospect.

This new lesson is all about explaining who YOU are…

… in a simple, quick way that establishes your credibility and awesomeness in one spectacular breath. This is where sales start piling up, people.

Here’s how to participate in this unique interactive step of the SWS Express Course:

  1. Watch the brief video.
  2. Stick to the template presented in the video. What do you say to Bob?
  3. Write that out, and post it in the comments section below.

That’s it.

John Carlton will be jumping in and responding to selected comments with interactive feedback all day.

Don’t be shy. You’ve got nothing to lose here.

See you in the comments section.


Stan Dahl
John Carlton’s Business Partner & Your Host for The SWS Express Course

P.S. – If you haven’t already seen the first lesson, I suggest you start The Simple Writing System Express Course there. This second lesson is the logical next step, so it will make more sense and be more valuable if you spend a few minutes with Lesson #1.

Click here for Lesson #1


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John Carlton has completed providing personal feedback on new
exercise posts.

We’re leaving this page and these comments available for just a few
more hours. There’s a TON of valuable marketing knowledge here for
you. Please take advantage of this resource while it’s available.

Watch your inbox for an email from me telling you how you can be one
of a very small group of people John Carlton will personally coach
through the complete Simple Writing System starting next week.

— Stan Dahl

Click here for Lesson #3.




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The testimonials and case studies on this page are, to the best of our ability to determine, all true and accurate. They were provided willingly, without any compensation offered in return. These testimonials and case studies do not represent typical or average results. Most customers do not contact us or offer to share their results, nor are they required or expected to. Therefore, we have no way to determine what typical or average results have been. Many people do not implement anything we teach them. We can’t make anyone follow our advice, and we obviously can’t promise that our advice, as interpreted and implemented by everyone, is going to achieve for everyone the kinds of results it’s helped the folks on this page achieve. The income statements and examples on this website are not intended to represent or guarantee that everyone will achieve the same results. Each individual’s success will be determined by his or her desire, dedication, marketing background, product, effort and motivation to work and follow recommendations. There is no guarantee you will duplicate the results stated here. You recognize any business endeavor has inherent risk for loss of capital.


  • Bob, we help investors like you, nearing retirement, safely generate enough extra income outside the stock market to guarantee you and your wife never run out of money… even if you have less than $25,000 in savings… Even if you’re sick of paying over the odds for overpriced dividend payers… and even if you don’t want to risk another penny in stocks, options, bonds, or any other speculative investment the wolves on Wall Street are likely to push at you…

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Aaron. Listen, thanks for participating — I don’t mean to be grouchy here… but I’ve lived a long time, voted a lot, and both made and lost money with investments and savings strategies through the years. I’ve heard it all.

      I have a finely tuned ear for BS, and for weak information. You’re “speaking” like you’re a commercial on Wheel Of Fortune… barely saying anything of interest to that I haven’t heard a million times before.
      The “less than 25k” thing is interesting, and I’d explore that more.

      And, I’d get further into the brain of your prospect, and really find a way to say something that caused him to rivet his attention on me.

      MOST investment opportunities use language like you have here. It’s designed to not offend or alarm, when alarming your prospect may be the exact thing you need to do. Experiment here — try some bold approaches.

      Stay in the real world, though…

    • Hey Bob, I can show you a way of solving the running out of money issue. Without risking the ranch (wouldn’t say that in the UK) and without you paying for an oak panelled office and smart cars. It doesn’t matter how little you have there are a lot of things you could be doing.

      Lets have twenty minutes together on me. Even if you don’t want to go to the next stage you’ll learn something and we’ll part friends.


  • So my Bob couldn’t sell his awesome products in the previous task, this is something I think I should say to him if I had the balls to promote my services face to face to strangers.

    “Excuse me, I couldn’t help overhearing your struggles…

    I help business owners just like you,
    communicate the value of their products so their
    prospects get excited to pay up big bucks,
    even if they don’t have a clue about marketing.
    And I’ve helped the launch of 7 new businesses so far.”

    • John Carlton says:

      Not bad, David…

      … though, I doubt you’d actually use a phrase like “communicate the value” in real life. Reconsider this as part of a real conversation — ultimately, that’s the best way to write sales messages (and it’s one of the reasons so many entrepreneurs and small biz owners get tripped up on their marketing).

      Also, the very term “launch” may not be a familiar one to most biz owners. Consider all of this as you re-do this.

      Good job. Lesson #3 will be the icing on the cake here for you…

  • “Excuse me. I couldn’t help overhearing your story… We help people in recovery from addiction, get their family, career, finances, and goals to a much better place, so you can enjoy life to the full without addiction, even if everything else has failed and you are on the brink of falling apart.”

    • John Carlton says:

      Drew, my man. For a starter draft, this isn’t bad. Consider, as you think more about it, how you might make it more conversational… actually addressing Bob, who we’re hoping wasn’t ordering a double whiskey sour.

      I have close friends and colleagues in recovery, and I know the lingo — they don’t respond much to “a better place” or “enjoy life to the full”…

      … because what’s going on inside their head is more raw.

      Writing to any target audience, in any market or niche, who share specific understandings about the reality of their situation, also have a very “in group” way of speaking. Just like a golfer can sniff out a non-golfer pretty quickly if they use the language wrong, so someone in recovery can intuitively figure out whether a marketer has real experience or is just prodding the potential of the market.

      Consider the actual language and words you’d use in a real conversation here.

      If you insist you’ve already nailed it, and you have the personal experience to back it up, then good job.
      Very interesting universe of markets in these threads, no? It’s always fascinating, getting a good glimpse of what entrepreneurs are getting into these days…

  • “We help overwhelmed women entrepreneurs to finally finish that nagging project that will grow her business, without hiring a five-figure coach, and even if she’s not sure exactly what her next steps should be.”

    (Product: action-focused 5-day retreats for women – where we help them film their launch videos, create their sales funnels, etc.)

    Thank you!

    • John Carlton says:

      Hi Ashley. Not bad for a starting effort… but you’re being vague. And you’re relying on certain ideas that probably do not apply to all of your Perfect Prospects — like the project being a “nagging” drag, or that everyone understands what a “five figure coach” is.

      You cannot take anything for granted when speaking to anyone in biz, ever. Don’t assume they know what you know, that their experiences mimic your experiences, that their dreams and goals match yours.

      In fact, assuming stuff is the fastest way to murder your biz.

      Here, it sounds like you have a nice, tidy little retreat where tons of essential stuff can get done… but you’ve chosen to ignore it in your chat. Why not incorporate the benefits that stand out — “we help women entrepreneurs finalize everything required to launch their projects, from creating videos on the spot, to putting sales funnels into place…”

      You’re close, but vague. Keep tightening this up.

  • Rodney Kwong says:

    I help small businesses explode their growth and become high 6 figure companies, even if they’re struggling with sales right now.

    • John Carlton says:

      Okay, as far as it goes… and it doesn’t go very far.

      Imagine hearing this, in an elevator, as a prospect yourself. It’s vague promise, lacking anything to grasp onto. Explode growth how? And what’s a “6 figure company”, really? $100,000 a year is six figures — hardly a sizzling promise of total income for a small biz.

      Reconsider what you can promise, and keep imagining you saying this in front of another human being who will be skeptical and reluctant to give you the benefit of doubt.

  • Hi, please excuse me for interrupting, but I think you just said you have problems with you members sticking? You probably won’t believe me but my wife & I help gyms just like yours to get closer to their members so that you can make more money, even after they stop coming to the gym. Would you like to hear how we do it?

    • John Carlton says:

      Oh, hell yes, Anthony.

      Very good.

      Folks, this guy is 2-for-2 on the exercises — he has the language nailed, the chat nailed, the details nailed. Notice how he’s created a REAL conversation here, dialed directly into what’s bugging his Perfect Prospect.

      Good job, my man.

  • Mate, sorry to chime in, but I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation. Look, I help people just like you sell their stuff on autopilot. You don’t need a tonne of money to start seeing sales come in, either… I’ve been at it for almost a decade so you can see results in a day or two if you’re smart about it.

    • John Carlton says:

      Not bad. I’d like to see the “even if” tag added. You’ve made it all about being “smart”, which can backfire in a hurry.

      Challenging folks to “be smart” raises their hackles and resistance — it’s just the way humans operate. That’s why I use the “even if” tag line — it shows that you understand how tough things are without the expertise you provide… how common it is for people to fail, or have trouble, or just not grok the situation.

      Also, your claim of being in it for a decade, so I can see results in a day or two, rings odd. I don’t understand why that should make sense. Reconsider your descriptions.

  • Hey John, the porn guy again here…

    “…I’m an addict. Is there even hope for me?”

    “Excuse me, but I couldn’t help overhearing…”

    “As it happens, I help people hooked on pornography break free from their addiction and start living the life they want, faster and easier than ever before, even if you’ve been masturbating five times a day in your mother’s basement.”

    • John Carlton says:

      Yeah, too cute by half, Klemen.

      This isn’t the time to get a laugh in — it’s the time to show empathy and understanding on the deepest level possible.

      The “faster and easier than ever before” doesn’t even make sense, since your prospect hasn’t encountered ANY methods of breaking his addiction yet.

      I know you have empathy… but you’ve chosen not to use it here. Huge mistake.

      Re-do this, and show some actual compassion and salesmanship.

      • Thanks for the feedback, John. Here it goes again:

        “Hey man, I don’t want to interrupt, but I kinda feel like I have to. I’ve struggled with porn myself and I help people like us break free from their addiction so that you can start living the life they want , even if you have hit rock bottom and see no way out.”

        Not sure if that “people like us” is a good option. Maybe something like “people who are addicted to it”, but I’m vary of negative connotation the word addict has.

  • I help busy entrepreneurs pull more money out of their email lists than they thought possible
    even if their list has never bought anything from them before.

    • John Carlton says:

      Too vague. (Vagueness seems to be a common theme today.)

      Think critically here — how can I pull “more money” out of a list that hasn’t bought anything from me yet?

      You have a very simple message — no need to be clever. You’re an expert at monetizing email lists. What are my main objections, as a prospect? Probably that I can’t afford an expert, that I can’t write emails to save my life, that my list hates me, etc.

      Understanding my problems — which comes from doing the first exercise, yesterday — is key to crafting this chat.

  • Sorry I could not help overhearing the mess that you projects are currently in with time overruns and overspending.

    We help project stakeholders (managers, team members) to acquire the skills and processes to sort out and manage projects, even if most of your past projects were failures and you in trouble for not delivering the goods on time and within budget. I’ve been doing it for over 20 years.

    • John Carlton says:

      Sounds like advertising copy from a pamphlet, Piet.

      Way too stilted and awkward to be a real conversation. Try saying this out loud, to another human being. It sounds like you’re reading off a teleprompter.

      It’s also vague.

      Talk this out with yourself. You help project managers and team members blow their bosses minds by finishing every project on time and under budget… with the kind of results that get people promoted and lavished with bonuses. Right?

      And you do this even with teams that have been bungling projects for years, because you know the secrets of managing projects so they get done easily, etc.


      You’re talking to a person with problems. Use real conversational language to get your point across.

  • We help Accountants to
    maximise client deductions from their investment properties
    even if the property is 50, 75 or even 100 years old

    • John Carlton says:

      What does the age of the property have to do with anything? Or would an accountant automatically know that?

      I think you’re assuming too much here. That can kill sales.

      Reconsider what the actual benefit is that you offer. You make clients ecstatic with their tax returns, cuz you know accounting tricks (unknown to most accountants) that spike deductions through the roof… even if the property in question has been a tax drag for decades.

      Or something like that.

      Keep trying.

  • Me Hi, look really sorry to interrupt but I think I might be able to help. See I taught reading for over 30 years and I agree with you – a lot of the modern theories really are failing kids.
    Prospects: You’re not kidding!!
    Me: Well look I’ve written an ebook for teaching kids reading like the proper way.
    It’s as easy to follow as a cookery book!
    Prospects: Really?
    Me: Yeah, taught my own kids to read before they even went to school, It’s so easy to do and such FUN! :).
    Prospects: Fun? Not what we’re finding… at all!!…
    Me: Well, gotta get out here but look here’s my card. All the details are on it for the ebook and shoot me an email if you like – lets see what we can do.
    Prospects: We certainly will!!
    Me: Cool :). I’ll look out for your email.

    • John Carlton says:

      Why not just follow the directions here, Simon? It’s a simple exercise — with a formula to fill in to help you craft how you would actually respond to a Perfect Prospect, succinctly and in a way that moves the sale forward.

      No need to reinvent this exercise. I’ve been doing this kind of coaching for 30 years now, with a vast mob of success stories. Just stick to the plan.

      • Second attempt – probably no better – but I’m trying, lol.
        Sorry to interrupt but couldn’t help overhearing that your kids are having problems with reading. Think maybe I could help. I’ve been teaching reading for 30+ years and taught my own kids to read fluently before they even went to school. I’ve written a day by day guide of exactly how to do that – in a very easy way. No jargon. Fun for the kids too with over 250 colour illustrations. Wonder if it might help.

        • 3rd attempt – just looked at the video again.
          Please excuse me interrupting. Couldn’t help overhearing your reading problem. See I’ve written an ebook that shows parents how to teach their children to read in an easy, simple, day by day way even if they’ve never taught anybody anything before. No jargon. I taught my own children to be fluent readers this way before they even went to school. Been teaching reading for 30+ years. Thought maybe it could help.

  • “Hi, sorry to butt in – did I hear you say it’s taking months to get your website content sorted? I help frustrated business owners to plan and write their websites so they can get online fast and start generating sales. Maybe we should talk!”

    Short and sweet – hoping even the most limited attention span can handle that.

    • John Carlton says:

      Okay, you didn’t follow the formula either…

      … however, you still got your message across.

      So, good job. By not following directions.

      You bad student, you. 🙂

      Good job.

  • Bob was gonna miss his deadline because his 3D animation for a client would take a whopping 5 days to finish rendering.. My response:

    “We help 3D artists who use Blender to finish their 3D renders in a matter of hours to make sure they meet their client’s deadlines, even if you have never used a render farm before.”

    • John Carlton says:

      Okay… you’re assuming a lot, but because your target market is so narrow (animators), you’re probably safe in being so specific about the tools.

      If that’s true, then good job.

      • Thanks for replying John. You’re right, my target market is extremely narrow 🙂

  • Excuse me, I couldn’t help overhearing. I help aspiring authors write their first book in 30 days. Even if the blank page completely paralyzes them.

    • John Carlton says:

      Why 30 days? I wrote my first book (“Kickass Copywriting Secrets of a Marketing Rebel”) in two weeks. And a lot of people know this method of doing it.

      Still, for an author flummoxed by the process and unable to finish a book at all, this might fly.

      But you’re confronting Writer’s Block in the same chat. Are you SURE that’s what holding the author up? They’re not really an author if they’re frozen by the blank page, are they. They’re wanna-be’s.

      Get clear on who you’re talking to (your Perfect Prospect), and what their real troubles are… and then address them in this brief conversation you’re having.

      Right now, any writer just having trouble organizing written chapters, or finalizing the process to self-publish… and NOT having writer’s block… won’t identify with your chat here.

  • Sorry – I couldn’t help but overhear you’re struggling with finding good quality leads. I maybe able to help you out. [slight pause] My company uses technology to build lists of quality leads for business owners just like you. Even if you’ve never marketed online before, the process we take you through weeds out the tyre kickers and zero’s in on your target audience. So you get a list of people who want to talk to you – all without leaving your office.

    • John Carlton says:

      “Uses technology”? Everyone uses technology. That’s hardly a promise that will set you apart, or gain trust from a stranger.

      But you’re close here. It’s still stilted language, not how you would actually say it in front of someone. What’s the ESSENCE of what you offer? Probably a fast process to sort through leads and quickly identify the best prospects… a process that saves massive time, while creating income from hidden sources (because most companies overlook their best leads).

      Something like that.

      Keep after it.

  • Bob had another rough marathon and missed qualifying for Boston yet again.

    Sorry to interrupt, but I couldn’t help hearing you talk about your latest BQ attempt. Marathons are tough man, so try not to beat yourself up too much. As a runner myself, I can totally relate. In fact, I specialize in helping runners like you who are struggling to get the results they desire on race day to overcome their past disappointments and grab their goals, even if the goal seems impossible at the time.

    • John Carlton says:

      A little awkward, but close enough.

      Read this aloud, and notice how you’d stumble through the phrases. Fix that part, and you’ve got a great intro chat here.

  • We help parents connect with their technology distracted kids by sending them to movie theaters for some quality time together, armed with information about any objectionable content they might encounter, even if they feel like they can’t trust anyone’s opinion anymore about what’s safe for their kids to see and hear in movies.

    • John Carlton says:

      Doesn’t sound like much of a business plan. Sounds more like a movie rating operation.

      And how does “being armed with info about objectionable content” help anything?

      Reconsider this. You need to do Lesson One first, and really understand what’s bugging your Perfect Prospect.

  • Cafe Owner wanting more customers to eat and drink at their cafe

    Excuse me, I couldn’t help but overhear what your talking about not being able to have a steady flow of customers

    “I help struggling cafes advertise on social media and help with your website to attract and excite new customers and we do it all for you so you don’t have to stress and worry about doing it yourself”.

    (I want to make a social media marketing business online)

    • John Carlton says:

      What’s this service cost? That’s a huge objection most biz owners have to anyone promising to “do it all for them”.

      And “helping” with my website doesn’t excite me much. I want a flood of new customers, coming in on autopilot all the time, without having to spend a lot of money or time or learning new shit on Facebook. If the ROI is good, I’ll listen.

      Keep trying.

      • Thanks for the feedback John

  • Hey Bob, We help overweight people get into the best shape of their lives, without a gym membership or even leaving the house even if they have never exercised in their life or don’t know anything at all about how to lose weight.

    • John Carlton says:

      Not bad.

      Crowded market, though. Lots of broken promises make people pretty resistant to even bold claims.

      And prospects don’t want to diet or feel penalized for being overweight. Most don’t want to break a sweat, or miss out on the joys of eating fun food, or wait a long time for results.

      To make this chat hit home, you’ve got to confront your Perfect Prospect’s resistance.

      You’re the secret ingredient to a life of being in shape. Get this across in this chat.

  • We use a simple and effective solution with just a few ingredients that kills and repels harmful insects. You can use this solution even if you have chemical sensitivities.

    • John Carlton says:

      Organic or Big Pharma product? Inexpensive or expensive? Homemade or store bought?

      What insects? When? Where? Does it work outside and inside?

      I’m not impressed, as a prospect, if you can’t come near what’s important to me in your first conversation with me.

  • “We help people that have plateaued on their fat loss. We individualize our programs to look at the different puzzle pieces that are causing your fat loss to stall, which can be your daily nutrition, your habits that keep coming back, and how your hormones are working or messed up from previous programs. Even if you’ve tried many general nutrition programs available, we focus on you and your unique obstacles to move the scale.”

    • John Carlton says:

      Good material, but delivered in a very stilted, ad-sounding way.

      Massage this into an actual conversation opener, and you’ve got a good one.

      Nice job.

  • Excuse me but I couldn’t help overhearing.
    We help struggling telehealth businesses like yours get more clients and beat the competition even if you don’t have the faintest idea what is wrong with your website.

    • John Carlton says:

      A bit awkward — are you ONLY helping with websites? How about brick and mortar stores?

      And what do you mean by “beat the competition”? Beat them at what? Creating product, selling stuff, what?

      Are you expensive and hard to hire? Do you do this through a program, or coaching, or a book, or what?

      You’ve got the initial structure right, but you can beef this up tremendously.

  • Roberta, I will sit down with you and show you the way to dump the stress and get clear about your future even if Frank and your kids say you’re crazy.

    • John Carlton says:

      “The way to dump stress”? Sounds like you’re selling snake oil, or Scientology.

      And why would you sit down with me? You don’t know me, and I don’t know you at this point. We’re strangers at a bar.

      Reconsider how you’d actually speak to someone in this situation… and get clear on what you offer.

  • Excuse me…Sorry for jumping in but I could not help overhearing your conversation. I help Doctors Regain Control of Your Life and Your Career Even If You Feel Exhausted, Stuck or Overwhelmed! And as I recovering Surgeon I know exactly what you are going through!

    [For background info please look at my comments under video 1)

    • John Carlton says:

      Why are you capitalizing everything? Remember, this is part of a real conversation you’re having with a stranger.

      Nevertheless, good job. You’ve nailed the Big Problems your prospect probably has (I’ve written for similar markets before), and you’re correctly using your position as a “recovering surgeon” to bond.

      You’ve got a natural sense of salesmanship, Fernando. It needs refining and come control, but your instincts are excellent.

      • Thanks for the kind words John!

        I capitalized it because that is the headline of a webinar I am about to offer:

        “Recovering Surgeon Reveals Regain Control of Your Life and Your Career Even If You Feel Exhausted, Stuck or Overwhelmed!”

        I am sure you will cover headlines later but I could not resist 😉

        BTW I have been following for a while (like many here I am sure) and appreciate what you have done for me (without even knowing it! I have bought your freelancer course a few years back)

        Looking forward to lesson 3