Chris Westfall | From Stunt Man to National Elevator Pitch Champion, Shark Tank, and Beyond
Smart Business Revolution

Chris Westfall is a business coach, keynote speaker, consultant, and author who helped launch over 60 businesses, raising over $100 million in capital investment. Entrepreneurs, executives, and future leaders turn to Chris for guidance on peak performance, team building, business development, branding, and more.

Chris is the Champion of the US National Elevator Pitch, a competition challenging students to make a convincing and engaging “Elevator Pitch” to an Angel Investor. He is recognized as a Top 10 Business Coach and regularly works with Fortune 500 Companies and high-impact leaders, as well as top-tier universities, to deliver insights into powerful leadership communication strategies. His clients have appeared on Shark Tank, Dragons’ Den in Canada, and Shark Tank Australia.

In this episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, John Corcoran is joined by business coach, author, speaker, and consultant Chris Westfall to talk about his journey from being a professional stunt man to becoming a renowned business coach. Chris also shares his experience in the Elevator Pitch competition, how his coaching helped many clients, and his tips for making an impact authentically.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • Chris Westfall’s journey from the entertainment industry to the business industry
  • How to be remembered by people
  • How Chris overcame animosity and impostor syndrome
  • Chris talks about entering the National Elevator Pitch Competition — and how winning helped launch his career
  • What made Chris’ elevator pitch successful?
  • What it’s like to be on Shark Tank
  • How Chris’ business coaching helped Aaron Powell of Bunch Bikes
  • The most effective way to raise money
  • Chris talks about his book and the person who he admires

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Sponsor: Rise25

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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90xAtariEinstein BagelsMattelRx BarsYPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk,  and many more.  

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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:01

Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast, where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now now, your host for the revolution. John Corcoran.

John Corcoran 0:40

All right, welcome everyone. John Corcoran. Here I’m the host of this show. Every week I get to talk to smart CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs of all kinds of different companies from Netflix to Kinkos YPO EO Activision Blizzard lending tree open table, X software and many more. I’m also the co founder of Rise25 where we help connect b2b business owners their ideal prospects quick shout out to Bill Prater from scaleology go check him out Google at Scaleology, he introduced me to today’s guest, his name is Chris Westfall. He’s a business coach, keynote speaker author has helped launch over 60 businesses raised over $100 million in capital investment and counting. And entrepreneurs, executives and future leaders turned to Chris for guidance on peak performance, team building, business development, branding, and more. He’s also the winner of the US National elevator pitch. So we’ll talk about that in a moment how he won that he’s also published seven books, been a corporate trainer and a coach and his clients have appeared on Shark Tank Dragon’s Den, and Shark Tank Australia is also a regular contributor to Forbes, NBC, ABC News, and CNN and, and written a couple of books, including another book that’s coming out a little bit, which will we will talk about, of course, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 Media where we help b2b businesses to clients referrals and strategic partnerships with done for you podcast and content marketing, if you want to learn more about it, go to And we will be glad to help you out with it. So, Chris, such a pleasure to have you here today. And I want to start with this moment in time we were talking about before and you’re starting graduate school, and it’s business program. And they go around the room they say, All right, everyone stand up and say what you do, and I’m sure we got investment banking, we got we got people got backgrounds in insurance. And what do you say?

Chris Westfall 2:22

John, I gave the worst pitch of my life. They were asking what was your last full time job before you came in? Right. And people are saying I was an insurance agent. I was a banker. I was an engineer. And it’s my turn and I stand up and I say, I was a professional stunt man. That’s a true story. Oh,

John Corcoran 2:42

that’s cool. But unexpected. But I’m sure yeah, it’s still cool.

Chris Westfall 2:47

Yeah, but I mean, everybody, John, it felt like everybody else was getting out of a limousine. And I was getting out of the clown car, saying it was done, man. But it’s a true story. I was a stunt man at an amusement park where they did a stunt show. And it was the Batman stunt show. I wasn’t Batman, but I was in the show. And I was the host of the event. And interesting story, John, my wife was actually Catwoman in the show. So. Okay, it all worked out. Okay. I guess so. Yeah. And by the way, John, I still do all my own stunts. As everybody listening today, we’ll see and find out. So yeah, it’s an amazing experience, though. Because I was at first I was embarrassed because I’m like, all these people. They’re so professional. And here I come with, you know, from the entertainment industry, and I’m going into this business program, and how are people going to react and I was having that that whole kind of, you know, what, what are people going to say? And how are they going to feel about me, and what I came to realize was, that my experience and the uniqueness of it actually gave me an unusual perspective. And it is a perspective that I carry with me to this day, a creative outlook and a way of seeing things that not only has helped me in my career to actually progress, but to help my clients to do the same to see things in a new way. And part of that is because of, of the background that I have. And I had to, especially in a business program, I had to start off by realizing I needed to work harder, I needed to work harder than other folks and I needed to make sure that I took steps to leverage my background in these creative endeavors, these artistic endeavors, these entertainment endeavors to bring my strengths to the table and the performers mindset that led to

John Corcoran 4:35

you being I love that you came around to that and to appreciate the value of it. You know, I have a similar type of thing where for many years, I didn’t talk about my background in politics, you know, in part because I kind of felt like I didn’t want to be defined by it. And also I actually got bad advice from some people because no i So I worked in the Clinton White House as a writer in presidential letters and messages and I had someone who told me once like, you know, you’re They’re working with entrepreneurs and business owners now and they, they hate Democrats. So you shouldn’t tell anyone about that. And it was just absolutely horrible advice, because so many people are forgettable. And, you know, if you have background as a stuntman who’s gonna forget that, like that is so memorable. And it’s such a great icebreaker. I’m sure you know, you may be you’re sick of answering questions about it. But people probably come up and they just want to ask you about it. I imagine it’s such a such a thing that’s memorable makes people stand out it make you stand out in people’s minds? Well, it’s so true,

Chris Westfall 5:30

don’t we have to step into who we are, we have to step into our individuality. And even though there can be challenges around it. I mean, at the end of the day, you got to be who, who you are. And the question I’d ask is, you know, just because you worked in the Clinton White House, I mean, does that automatically make you a Democrat? I don’t know. Yeah,

John Corcoran 5:48

maybe not. I am but Right, exactly. I mean, regard. I mean, I’ve had lots of Republican clients over the years, you know, that’s totally fine. You but what I found is that it’s memorable. People remembered it. And and it that’s sometimes that’s half the battle, you know, it’s it’s very easy. There’s a lot we meet a lot of people, and it’s very easy to be forgettable in

Chris Westfall 6:11

this life, you know. So true. Yeah.

John Corcoran 6:15

So, um, was it? Was it mostly in your head? Or did you experience any or witness any animosity, animosity? Or, you know, were people kind of treating you differently? Do you think, or was it mostly self imposed? John, it

Chris Westfall 6:33

was totally self imposed. I thought people were gonna look at me and be like, how did this guy get into the program? What is he doing here? You know, all those kinds of things that really had a just imposter syndrome, like crazy. But it was all in my mind. I mean, as they say, it’s never tougher than it is in your mind. And that was absolutely the case for me. It In reality, it was exactly the opposite of the way that I imagined it. People were like, you were saying they were curious, what led you to that decision? What was that? Like? How did how does that experience shape you? And how do you square working in a stunt show with being in a business program and trying to create new results for yourself? And it was actually a source of strength, even though I imagined it as a weakness.

John Corcoran 7:20

Yeah. And when you know, you’ve been a professional speaker for a number of years. Now, when you speak, do you weave it into your presentations, then,

Chris Westfall 7:28

sometimes I spoke the other day, and I brought it up with a group. You know, whenever it’s whenever it’s appropriate, a lot of times I’m talking with folks about about their careers. And when I’m working with with people who are concerned about something in their background, that’s holding them back from the, from the job that they want, or starting the business that they want, or, or realizing their entrepreneurial dreams, whatever the case may be. I just, I have to sit down with them and say, Why do you feel insecure? I mean, what, what stunt show were you in? Yeah, you know, just

John Corcoran 8:00

to kind of set the stage. It’s funny, because I find sometimes the more cerebral people are, the more educated they are, the more likely they are to have those types of things that are holding them back, you know, for in the work that we do that. It’s always the clients that have got like a JD MBA, who say, like, I couldn’t start a podcast, because what would I talk about? I’m like, You have no problem talking, you’ve no problem having a conversation. So I don’t know why you think that would be a problem?

Chris Westfall 8:28

Sure, I read that a lot, too. It’s really interesting that you bring that up, John, because a lot of a lot of my clients, they come to me, and they say, I don’t know how to do this. But the fact is, they absolutely know how to do it, they just don’t have the want to, or they don’t have the people around them, that can help them to get there. And because they know that the How to is to find a resource that can help them. And a lot of my clients, I mean, you know, they fall into this trap. But I guess I fall into this trap, too, is feeling like you have to conquer the world by yourself, that you can’t go into business or partnership or a new initiative or a podcast, with some help. Yeah. Why is that? Why do we feel like we have to lift the world on our own to shoulder it on our own shoulders? Right.

John Corcoran 9:11

And I’m sure that is relevant to some of the work that you’ve done more recently with helping others to refine their pitch. But before we get to that, you know, from that little point of your your pitch you know, your stand up pitch when you joining Business School telling people about your background as a stunt man, you end up entering this national Elevator Pitch Competition and winning it. So tell us a little bit of how you end up getting involved in that.