Pitch Perfect

A few months ago, I was on the job hunt and applied for a writing position at G3 Partners. Since then, I’ve been helping startups with global marketing. And something recently occurred to me: securing a new job is not unlike attracting investment for your startup. In both cases, significant amounts of money are staked on the expectation that the recipient will perform as promised. So, how to gain their trust? The absolute best way to impress investors and potential employers alike is to have a great pitch.

Here’s the G3 method of delivering an elevator pitch. These tips are not just from my own experience, but are part of the way we have helped startups grow their businesses in the past. If you follow this advice, you will quickly be on your way to pitching perfectly in no time.

What’s the problem?

This is critical. If there is no problem being addressed, there is no reason for anyone to care. It could be a huge world issue, or something mostly inconsequential. But it should be obvious, and it should be relevant to someone, somewhere.

Explain your problem as personally as possible. Make the audience care about your pitch as people, not as consumers, by appealing to their emotions. Help them engage with your narrative by telling a story. They need to feel sympathy for the problem for them to want a solution. Speaking of which…

What’s your solution?

More importantly, how is your solution valuable to your target audience? There are a lot of bad ways to “solve” a problem. Can you explain how your approach is the best one?

Don’t start explaining your tech in detail here. Instead, continue the personal story and describe the customer journey of using your service. Appeal to the senses to help your audience visualize it; if you make it seem real, it will cease to be an abstract idea.

Who wants this future?

You must be able to identify the specific target market of your product or service. This will help you focus your narrative in the above two points, for one. You’ll also have to provide key data that investors or clients might be interested in.

What are your goals?

Your pitch also has a target audience. Why are you speaking to them? What do you want them to do? The audience needs to come away with a clear focus on the purpose of your speech. Assuming you told a good story, they will be more likely to agree with you in the end.

Other key points

The above points are crucial for any sales pitch. But if you’re trying to attract interest in your company itself, especially to attract investment, consider the below as well:

  • Outline your addressable market, from the bottom up, to prove it is profitable.
  • Summarize your business model, and your marketing and sales plans.
  • Show you know your competition, and why you’re better,
  • If your company is tech-based, what makes your technology special?
  • Detail any achievements or traction that you’ve accomplished thus far.
  • Name your top 3 or 4 team members, and explain why they’re a great team.

Tips

There is no perfect pitch format.

Know your audience! You have to figure out what information they are most interested in learning about you, and deliver.

You absolutely must tell a compelling story.

Help the audience imagine a better future that your service helps to create. Make them want it.

Your first couple of sentences need to be attention-grabbers.

If you fail at this, it’s all over. This is why the story is so important. It’s something everyone can relate to.

Achievements build trust.

Be proud of what you have accomplished, but don’t brag. This will build credibility. You’re trying to win over complete strangers here, so you need to give them something to believe in.

Pitch your vision.

Keep this in mind throughout the entire speech. You want your passion to bleed through. It will keep your audience engaged and infect them with the same enthusiasm for your goals.

At the end of the day, practice rarely makes perfect, but it sure helps a lot in building confidence. And that’s really the key, isn’t it? Speak it like you mean it, own that speech, and your chances of winning over your audience are improved tenfold.

If that’s not enough, maybe you’ll enjoy this Curtis Mayfield song that I like to play when I need motivation. It’s probably the most get-up-and-go piece of music I’ve ever heard. Try it, you might get that last bit of inspiration you were looking for. After all, Curtis also had perfect pitch, didn’t you know?