I perfected my elevator pitch 6 1/2 years ago when I started my company. The marketing expert in me was proud that it is succinct, descriptive, and tied directly to my positioning.

Last week communications expert Mark Wiskup poked it full of holes. OUCH.

In front of a group of 20 potential customers and referrers. Double OUCH.

But he was right. If I’m honest with myself, it’s always felt a little bit canned/too polished, but I wasn’t sure why. Here’s an example of my elevator pitch:

Here’s my original elevator pitch:
“Hi, my name is Susan Silver and I’m president of Argentum Strategy Group. I act like a Timeshare VP of Marketing for businesses with $2M to $100M in revenue who can’t afford or who don’t need someone like me full time. I help them build positioning statements, write marketing plans and hire creative agencies….”

Right away, Mark told me that I should take out the numbers. I pushed back. Twice. But he pointed out that numbers are too sales-y to start off with. He reminded me that the purpose of an elevator pitch is to share information that will make someone want to talk with you further. Numbers are exclusive not inclusive. And they make it sound like you’re selling right off the bat, which you shouldn’t be doing.

He believes that an elevator pitch is all about setting the scene to tell an impactful, relatable story about how you’ve helped a client succeed. He also pointed out that I use the word “positioning” which is a technical term rather than real “human” language.

I completely buy into all of this.

But I must admit that it was hard for me to hear that my beloved “Timeshare VP of Marketing” (for which I proudly own the Trademark) was too much like a tagline, was not relate-able, and did not belong upfront in my pitch. Very uncomfortable for me to hear!

But the last thing any marketer should do is stick with something because they’ve always done it that way, especially when they have the opportunity to learn something new from an expert. So I took all of these tips to heart, and I reworked my elevator pitch. As an added bonus, using Mark’s advice made it much easier for me to say “we” instead of “I” when talking about Argentum, which is something I’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t quite figure out how to make it work naturally.

Here’s my new elevator pitch, which is still a work in progress:

“Hi, my name is Susan Silver and I’m president of Argentum Strategy Group. We help companies run their marketing when they’re stalled and not making enough headway. We work with clients to tell a meaningful story about how they help their customers, and we help them to get more bang for their marketing dollars.

One of my favorite clients stories is how I worked with the LawyerLink team to help them get some dramatic results…”

While it’s going to take some time for me to get completely comfortable with the new way of telling my story, and I am sure I’ll be tweaking it, I am excited to use it and see the response. I know it’s a change for the better, and I’ll report back in a few months!