What is chutzpah marketing Pronounced huts•pah

Yes, free, it will only ‘cost’ you 9 seconds of your time. We are going to study the difficult task of developing a 9-second speech. A 9-second speech is a mini verbal performance that teaches the listener how to think of your company, refer to your company, or help your company in some way. It is a chutzpah technique for getting people you have had contact with to think of your company at an opportune time, a time when they can choose your product or service, or refer to your product or service. It is a powerful, and often under utilized, marketing tool that is necessary to master if you wish to grow a thriving chutzpah business.

A chutzpah marketer is one hundred percent positive. We do not complain about anything, not the weather, sports, politics, or our kids. We are uplifting individuals who do not wipe our problems or little grumps on others.

I’m not kidding about one hundred percent. No one in public hears me complain about my family, my job, or that I’m a Minnesota Vikings fan. I save my problems and complaints for my confidants.

I want my referral sources, customers, and potential customers, to know me as uplifting.

The goal of the 9-second speech is for my message to be said so perfectly that it seems unrehearsed. Nine-second speeches are presented comfortably and naturally. Nine-second speeches help you stay on target even if you feel rushed, grumpy, or distracted.

Example of a 9-second speech in a therapist’s office

Following a domestic dispute that landed him in hot water with local authorities, Mr. Al Upenset’s attorney referred him to my office. Mr. Upenset was a muscular man of sixty. He had been married for over 40 years. For over 30 years Mr. Upenset had been a supply master sergeant in the Marines. After 38 years in the armed services, Mr. Upenset reluctantly retired to a doublewide trailer with his wife and her three small dogs.

Mr. Upenset was angry when he entered my office. He was angrier when I asked him to sit down. He sat, but his chest heaved and his eyes stared at his wringing hands.

The third question of my intake interview infuriated Mr. Upenset. He rose off the couch and angrily stepped over to me where I sat. In one swift movement he ripped his tee shirt off and flexed his body at me. He bent towards me, putting his face 6 inches in front of mine. In a deep, Neanderthal tone he spat his utterance, “I’m going to punch you in the face… what are you going to do about that?”

“I’m going to bleed, Mr. Upenset,” I said in a low calm voice. “You will make me bleed, then I will feel a lot of pain.”

“What the…” He took a step backward.

“Mr. Upenset, you will make me bleed and feel a lot of pain.”

“Yeah, I don’t want you to bleed … I’m sorry, I think that I’m just going crazy or something.” He went and sat down, took a few big breaths, and tried to put on his ripped shirt. Mr. Upenset was cooperative for the rest of the evaluation.

Many years ago, I learned when someone is in your face and ready to attack, stay calm, and in a low voice tell him or her what will happen next. Let them softly hear what is in their future. When I was a young therapist working with teenage incarcerated murderers this was stressed during in-service training. It has served me well for over 30 years of dealing with angry customers. This reality speech helps the angry customer look outside of their personal anger.

This is also an example of a 9-second speech. If I had to come up with the calm words off the top of my head under these circumstances, the likelihood is that I couldn’t. But because I have a 9-second speech, I was able to use it at the correct moment, without thinking it out on the spot.

In emotionally charged situations, a 9-second speech is helpful. It is also a helpful chutzpah-marketing tool. I have many chutzpah-marketing 9-second speeches. I have specific speeches for many particular situations that allow me to sell myself subtly.

I have chutzpah-marketing 9-second speeches that I teach employees, family, and referral sources so they can market me to others comfortably. My 9-second speeches are designed for me to give the best mini performance many times a day as I go through my activities.

Why 9-seconds?

It is my experience that 9-seconds is the longest that any mini-speech should go. Most are less. It is socially acceptable to dominate a conversation for a little bit, while you get your thoughts out. I have found that most people are comfortable with letting me yammer away for up to 9 seconds.

If you had 9-seconds to market yourself to any of the following, what would you say?


  • Medical doctor
  • Cab driver
  • Veterinarian
  • Dentist
  • Nurse
  • Office worker
  • Minister
  • Police officer
  • Florist
  • Waitress
  • Entrepreneur
  • Cook
  • Funeral home director
  • Soccer coach
  • Plumber
  • High school teacher
  • Pre-school director
  • Cashier


Throughout the year you will have hundreds if not thousands of opportunities to talk about your company. If you had only 9-seconds what would you say. In those 9-seconds, what are the best words to say what needs to be said?

Building a 9-second speech

You can probably speak 25 words, clearly, in 9-seconds. The problem comes when you have to limit yourself to only 25 words to get your point across. If someone asks you at a party, “What do you do?” What is your reply?


“I’m a plumber.”

“I’m an accountant.”

“I manage a restaurant.”

I recently heard a house painter, when asked this by a surgeon say, “Oh, I’m just a house painter.” My heart skipped a beat. The surgeon tossed him a softball, and the house painter forgot to bring a bat! “Oh, I’m just a house painter.” Sounded like, “I don’t do anything important. Please don’t notice me.”

In this situation, what would you say? —Even when you were nervous.

You have a potential customer’s ear for the next few seconds, what would be the best thing to say? How would you use this opportunity to sell you as a business owner: to sell your business as the one to choose? This is not an easy question. If it were, everyone would be able to do it.

First you have to define what you want to teach.

What do you want to teach about your company?

You are going to be teaching about your company—but not directly. You have to focus on the person you are talking to. You have to solve a need for that individual.

If you had answered the surgeon with, “I’m a house painter. I paint houses and sometimes offices.” The surgeon probably would have gotten a polite smile on his face and fluttered away like an opportunity lost. Nothing against the surgeon, but you simply would have bored him.

But, if you were to speak to him directly about his needs, he would be captivated. Most people love to talk about themselves and their own interests.

If I were a chutzpah house painter I would speak to the surgeon’s potential needs. I would hope that the surgeon owned property and that that property needed painting. If the surgeon didn’t own property, I would hope that he knew someone who did own property. To stimulate the conversation towards our mutual interests I would say, “I paint buildings, I specialize in adding value to buildings for resale or investment purposes.”

He then might reply, “Value, huh? How much value can you add to a building?” Now you are talking to the surgeon about something that he is interested in and that you can help him with.

If you are me focused, the listener hears only that you want something from him. But, if you focus on him, he is very comfortable having the conversation continue.

Teaching others to talk glowingly about your business

The goal of the 9-second speech is to teach the listener about your business. You want to give them information in a manner that is relevant to them so that they can use it, or pass it on to someone else to use.

My friend Sara is a vegetarian. As she often states, “I don’t eat anything with a face.” When she returned from a trip to Arizona, she told me about this restaurant that is trying to kill people.

“They boast that they have the highest calorie food in the world,” she said. “They cook their fries in lard!”

“What’s the place called?” I asked.

“The Heart Attack Grill; it’s just south of Phoenix in Chandler, Arizona. You’d love it! If you are over 350 pounds you eat for free!”

I would like to point out that a skinny devout vegetarian, who regularly voices concern about my weight, just did a hell of a job selling me on a restaurant that she would never eat at. The Heart Attack Grill did a great job of teaching their 9-second speech. In fact, such a great job that their message traveled over a thousand miles free of charge. This is the power of 9-second speeches. Your message travels!

Develop your 9-second speeches

Your homework assignment is to write 9-second speeches. Think of all the places you run into potential customers: stores, your child’s soccer practice, school events, movie theaters, and church. You make hundreds of incidental contacts every week that are great 9-second speech opportunities for you.

Write down your 9-second speech

You need to write down your 9-second speech and practice it. You need to be able to present your 9-second speech naturally, as if it was your first time ever saying it. Your 9-second speech has to feel like an old friend, but be presented as a new vivacious friend.

When writing your 9-second speeches, overwrite. Write too much at first, then cut away the repetition and useless parts. Play around with your word choices. Re-write, and re-write some more. Your 9-second speeches have to feel correct and comfortable to you. I assume that no other entrepreneur could use my 9-second speeches. Nine-second speeches have to be personalized by you, in your style, to the person you are talking to.

Enjoy the process. As the old joke goes, a tourist asks a New York cab driver, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The cabbie replies,  “Practice, practice, practice.”

Chutzpah marketing 9-second speeches in action

Let’s take three different business people and see how they interact with the same person. Please note how individual their 9-second speeches are in about the same situation. The chutzpah entrepreneurs are:


  • Mr. Marcus Audit, Certified Public Accountant
  • Big Red, owner of BigRed’s Burgers
  • Ms. Joanne Gutenberg, Owner of ReRead Used Books


Our three chutzpah owners meet Kyle’s mom while on the sidelines watching youth soccer.

Mr. Marcus Audit, Certified Public Accountant

“Hi,” Marcus says. “Boy I wish I had their energy.”

“Oh, me too,” Kyle’s mom says.

“It is nice being out though, as an accountant I spend a lot of time helping families save on their taxes or estate planning.”

“I hate doing my taxes, doesn’t it drive you nuts?” Kyle’s mom asks.

“Oh no, not at all… I love protecting families.”

“I couldn't do it, so much regulation,” Kyle’s mom says.

“If you have any questions, just call me,” Marcus smiles as he hands her two of his chutzpah cards.

Big Red, owner of BigRed’s Burgers

Noticing Big Red’s name tag, Kyle’s mom says, “Are you the Big Red?”

“Yes ma'am, I hope you enjoy my burgers.” Big Red Smiles.

“Not much on hamburgers,” she says as she pats her tummy. “I’m trying to watch my weight.”

“Lots of people find that we’re mighty convenient, for families on the go. Ya know we have curb side dinner boxes. Great for bringing to soccer. My Minnie is really fond of the boneless chicken breast. She takes the top bun off, ya know.” he says as he hands her two mini-billboards.

“Thanks, my kyle is growing like a weed… always hungry.”

Ms. Joanne Gutenberg, owner of ReRead Used Books

Kyle’s mom offers to help Joanne as she carries an armful of cut up oranges, a folding chair, and a beach bag.

“Oh thanks, I should have made two trips,” Joanne says.

“Thanks for bringing the half time snack,” Kyle’s mom says.

“No problem, my shop now smells like oranges.”


“Yeah, I own ReRead Used Books,” she smiles as she hands Kyle’s mom 2 mini-billboards in the shape of books. “We have a great selection in our children’s section, everything’s at least 50% off.”

“My Kyle loves to read.”

“Great! Mrs. Kramer, the principal at Fiction Elementary School, runs our children’s book club all summer long. There are prizes and lots of laughs. We want to keep the reading skills strong during the summer. You know, club membership is free, and we even have Thursday Morning Rhyming for the littlest readers,” Joanne says.

“That sounds wonderful, my name is Gail it’s so nice to meet you.” Kyle’s mom says as she offers her hand in friendship.


Nine-second speeches are free and powerful. Put them together with mini-billboards and you have an unbelievable chutzpah team. In Chapter 10: Getting Your Staff and Family Into Chutzpah Marketing, I will discuss how to teach 9-second speeches to your staff and family, helping to make them a marketing army.

Variation: Hollywood elevator speech

A nice variation of the 9-second speech is the Hollywood elevator speech. The idea is that you have just a few moments to get your new movie idea across to a movie executive.

Giving examples that the movie executive already knows, helps paint the picture in her mind.

“It’s like Aliens and Kindergarden Cop put together… You have blood thirsty aliens kept at bay by an ex cop turned school teacher.”


“It’s like The Godfather and Avatar put together… You have an Italian American family that gets shipwrecked on a blue planet with peaceful natives. Within no time hilarity and murders ensue.”

Variation: MIT speech

Massachusetts Institution of Technology is a gold mine for venture capitalists interested in funding the next technical innovations. Because of this, graduate students are encouraged to have a 3-5 minute polished speech developed so if their professor introduces them to someone they are ready.

“Marco, This is Mr. Gold, he is interested in funding new ventures, what are you working on?”


When opportunity knocks, it is a good idea to answer the door and have a wonderful speech ready.


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