Message Makeovers

header-author-portait-125Hi. Mary Jane here. Do you want the inside scoop that  Media Pros know? There’s a reason you’ll stay through the commercial to hear the story that the news anchor just teased. Folks who write news worthy copy have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves to get you and keep you paying attention. You can, too!

I am frequently asked to give Before and After examples of what I mean by a quick, concise, and memorable, Elevator Pitch that takes preferably less than 10 seconds to deliver. I’ll keep adding to this list but, here we go. As you read these examples, really listen to what the message is saying. Let me know if you feel like your Pitch (which is just the beginning of Your Story) could use a little tweaking:

#1 Before: “My name is Nancy and I teach second grade at Prairie View Elementary School.”

Problem: This is clear and concise. But now what? Unless you’re a teacher, parent of young children, or educator, your response is probably going to be, “That’s nice.”

After: “My name is Nancy. I’ve developed a system that teaches and inspires young children to become successful entrepreneurs later in life. Want to know how?” (10 seconds)

Solution: Do you hear the difference? She never told you she teaches 5th grade. She’ll get to that later. In the meantime, whether I have children, or I don’t, chances are Nancy and I have something to discuss. What kind of a system? Is it something that can be used in a business setting? How did you develop it? How do you track its effectiveness? And, so on.


Before: “Hi, I’m Bill, and I’m the CEO of Allied Chemical.”

Problem: Please don’t lead with your title. It’s a “So What?” for most of us.

After: “Hi, I’m Bill. My mission is to improve the lives of desperate people. Our company is able to purify pol­luted water and distribute the clean water where it’s most needed—any­where in the world! As CEO of Allied Chemical in Lansing, Michigan, I have to tell you, my childhood dreams are coming true.”

Solution: Now do you have something to ask Bill? I bet you do! “How did your child­hood dreams manifest into this new reality? Were you always interested in science? Who influenced you growing up? How long have you been with the company? Did you work your way up the ranks? How does the purification system work? The distribution? How many people are you reaching? What are the future plans for this project?  What’s it like to live in Lan­sing, Michigan? Did you grow up there?” And so on.


Before: Hi. I’m Carol. I’m not a Realtor, but I’m about solving the problems that most Realtors don’t want to touch and helping the homeowners get rid of house that are tough to sell. These are houses that are underwater on the mortgage; too big or too small; vacant; basically any situation where the traditional approach of “list and wait” marketing takes too long, is too expensive or may have already failed.”

Problem: This pitch is too long and seems like an explanation more than anything. It’s all about Carol and her process. What I’m listening for is her solution.

After: “Hi I’m Carol. I solve problems that Inconvenient Houses create. Realtors don’t want to touch these houses. But, my system turns them into big-time opportunity for homeowners. Want to know how?” (10 secs)

Solution: Do you hear the difference? Now she has put a label on all those pesky problems she listed in detail. We’re intrigued by what she means by inconvenient houses. She can explain that in detail if we want. She has a system. What system? How does she do it? How long does it take? What does it cost. Can her system help solve the “inconvenient problems” that I face in my business? And so on.


 Before:  I’m Barbara and I’m a housewife.”

 Problem: It sounds apologetic when in fact, it’s a big, darn, job. That’s what I told Barbara. So we came up with this instead:

After: “My name is  Barbara and I’m one of the hardest working women on the planet. Just the other day, I added up what my skills are worth – about $225,000! But I know as a wife and full-time mom, my contributions are priceless.” (About 10 seconds)

Solution: Surely you heard it for yourself. Barbara now has now demonstrated her dollar worth, her self-worth, and her pride. Anyone listening would smile. A woman hearing that might want to apply this formula next time she enters a negotiation with her husband over family chores! But anyone would want to engage Barbara. She’s a smart cookie. How many kids do you have? What are your days like? I’m looking for someone who has skills suited for a home-based business opportunity. Are you interested? Another opening for more information-sharing.

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