How to Pitch to Anyone
Yet another article trying to explain how to pitch! Like there aren’t enough already.
I know, I know! I have read ‘em too, but bear with me here.
For more than a decade, I have been pitching about my ideas, business, getting interviewers to hire me, and people to get interested in what I do. I do it genuinely and passionately as I enjoy solving problems.
I am an engineer at heart, any problem you throw at me piques my interest but making people understand the solution is harder than you think. To make businesses say — ‘YES’, you have to provide clear value and articulate it in the best manner.
Trust me, I myself say NO to things to keep my focus and have fewer things on my plate. But when I pitch most people have considered and sometimes offered me more than I had hoped for. That’s what counts. Isn’t it!
So I made a list of things I think are important and worked for me during my career. I am no expert, but try these out and see for yourself if people change their minds for you.
Understand Your Audience
Do your research about the background of your audience. I usually ask questions before the meeting as a part of the preparation process.
For instance, if it is a Bootcamp I ask the question before they RSVP where they provide information like- if it’s their first time or has programming experience etc. That makes it’s easier to tailor the talk to their interests and needs. Then people also feel like you are directly addressing them.
If it’s more of a company or a businessperson I try to understand their business and the background of the person I am going to speak to. It makes an impact and helps to keep the focus on things that are important to them and anything else becomes irrelevant.
That is the exact reason the same pitch doesn’t work for everyone. Personalization is key!
To make people listen, you need to be credible. They should feel like they know you and trust you.
The first few minutes of your intro will give them the idea of the kind of person you are and decide if they want to hear you out or not. You have their complete attention and they come in (hopefully) with excitement and enthusiasm. Which means higher levels of adrenaline. Grab the opportunity!
Tell them something they will remember about you. Share your purpose. The stage is yours. Even if it’s a two minutes intro make it so it leaves an impression on them.
Your story should make them want to trust you and your purpose.
Even if they don’t buy your product or service they will remember you and it is the best way to build a community of trusted people.
Highlight The Problem
Throw some light on the problem you are trying to solve.
Share your thoughts if you had a first-hand experience with the problem. Explain with examples the shared pain and how you are trying to solve this.
Articulate the problem in the simplest possible manner. Do not use fancy words or jargon. Use sentences like — I know how you feel, I have been there, I am proud to have overcome the same, etc.
Vulnerability allows people to connect. If you put yourself in a vulnerable position it is easier for others to trust. Therefore, do not be afraid to be vulnerable.
Focus On Value
For someone to offer their time, ask yourself -why would they take the pain of hearing you out instead of sipping a hot latte on their couch.
They come for you.
They believe you have something valuable to offer and it will be worth their time. Respect people’s time. Cut the BS, get to the point, and make an offer they can’t refuse.
Your audience needs to feel like they want to associate with you. Be humble and approachable!
You are the value you bring to them. Do not think of it as a ‘sale’. I personally despise this mentality. When you ‘close the deal’ you’re not done.
Ultimately, the goal is to build a long-term relationship.
Make It Quick And Powerful
Make your speech quick and powerful. Like ripping off a band-aid!
In the few minutes of attention span, you have quite a few responsibilities. Firstly, to bond with the audience with your story and build credibility. Secondly, to talk about the problem. Lastly, to make them understand your value.
Squeezing so much in a talk could be overwhelming so keep it short and simple. Have data points that will support your claim to make it believable.
Get to the point quickly and do it as elegantly as you can to make an impression.
Do your research, believe in your purpose, articulate it well, and charm the heck of the audience.
That’s mostly everything you need to make a good pitch that makes people notice your passion and say YES. Because… people invest in people!