The Art of Pitching
7 things you must do to pitch perfectly
“Pitching is so much fun”, said almost no one ever. But if you want people to buy into your idea, you must learn to pitch. So turn that attitude around and let me tell you the best way to pitch right.
Whether you are pitching to an investor for funding, a partner or a potential client, you need to do it with finesse.
I have listened to hundreds of business pitches. And out of that many, only a handful actually got my attention. So, I broke it down to understand what makes a great pitch. And if you follow this, you would become an awesome pitcher too.
1: Know your audience.
One way to lose people is to “mis-pitch”. Delivering an investor pitch to a potential customer is wrong, don’t do it. And don’t pitch to an investor the way you’ll pitch to a customer.
You must know your audience. What do they want to hear? Then say those things.
An investor is interested in knowing that you understand your business and have the expertise and character to pull it off and make him money. And some investors are different, they want to make money, but they also want to make sure that you are doing some social impact in the process. You need to know what they want to hear. So, do your research. Know who you’re speaking to. Their category and their interest.
A customer, on the other hand, wants you to make his life easier. Most customers don’t care if your business is making a profit, or that your business model is innovative. He just wants you to solve his problem. So tell him how you do that.
Prospective partners, on the other hand, want to know that your combined efforts are synergistic. They want the marriage to deliver great benefits to them and their organization. So talk about that.
A very important part of knowing your audience is listening to your audience.
I know some pitches are time sensitive. But if you were to pick between a presentation delivery and a conversation style, I vote you pick a conversation. But that’s me.
A conversation offers you the opportunity to vibe off your audience. You get to see points you raise that lights them up and the ones that make them drift off. You get instant feedback from them and you know how to steer things.
Even when I’m delivering a presentation pitch, I love audience participation to guide me to say the right things.
So, listen to your audience, both verbal and non-verbal cues
2: Tell a story.
Storytelling seems to be so in right now. But honestly, it was always a thing. People are just noticing their importance more now.
You need to guide your audience on a stimulating journey. Paint a picture for them. Help them see themselves in what you are saying.
If you bombard people with just facts and figures, they will zone out, even if they are statisticians.
Tell an investor the story that got you on this journey. Why did you decide to build this company? Tell a customer the story of how magical their lives would be, thanks to your product or service.
Images stick better for people. Their brain and heart need to experience things for them to connect with it. Tell a story, and help them visualize their lives with you in it.
3: Explain what’s in it for them.
Everyone is “me” focused. Before they can see you, they need to see themselves. So if you only tell them about yourself, you’d lose them.
Tell them about them. Let them know that they are at the center of things.
4: Show and tell.
Painting a picture with words is amazing. Painting a picture with visuals is even better. If you have a video, a physical product, or anything you can point to that allows them to experience what you are saying, it would level up your pitch.
Just saying that you have a platform that allows people to access language courses online is cool, but showing them is even better.
Let people see what you say and it would stick better.
Even if your business is a service, get something that you can show.
5: Get social proof
People want to know that what you have is for them. And you enhance this by showing them that people, just like them, are doing business with you.
So, if you want to partner with a logistics firm to solve your logistic nightmares. Showing them that you have other partners, who may not even be in the same field, helps them see that other people are partnering with you too. This makes them believe that you would make a great partner.
Showing a potential customer a testimonial video or messages from other customers, help them understand that other people love your product and are happy with it. It makes them imagine that they too can be happy with your product or service.
Use social proof to provide comfort and assurance to your audience.
6: Your ask; Make a request.
Some people miss out on this part. They paint all the nice pictures. And leave their audience wondering, “so what do we do next”. But then they say nothing.
Your pitch is to guide people to take a particular action in your favor. Everything you do should lead them to the point where they say, “Yes, let’s do this”.
Make sure your ask is clear and easy to jump on to. Make it absolutely easy for people to do business with you.
In order to do this, ask yourself, “when I am done with this pitch, what would be the next steps?”. Then be prepared. An investor may ask to schedule another more detailed meeting or ask you for certain documents. So, come prepared with a follow-up plan; “Yes, Mr. Steve would you like me to schedule a more detailed meeting for Tuesday next week, 2 pm”. Or, “I have those documents and I’ll send them over at the end of the day”.
Be prepared for a yes.
7: Follow up.
Courting an investor, a partner or even a client takes some time. Having automatic sign ups don’t always happen. So you should have a follow-up plan in place that allows you to stay in their minds, and turn a “no to a maybe” and a “maybe to a yes”.
The best follow up, in my opinion, is building a relationship. Some people just badger others with self-centered request, “Have you finally decided on doing business with me”. Shift the focus to the other person, and build a relationship. Look for ways to add value to the other person. It could be as little as an invite to a fun event you’re hosting, or free samples, or even helping make an introduction.
Relationship building is the best follow-up plan.
The only way you’ll get better at pitching is to pitch. Pitch whenever and wherever you can. Do not pass up the opportunity to hone this skill. you’ll get better as you go along.
Bring your uniqueness to the table. It’s difficult connecting with people when you’re channeling your energy to being someone else. Be real. If you love and believe in your business, let that shine through. Bring excitement and enthusiasm with you as you pitch.
With these, I hope you go out and become pitch perfect.
Thank you for reading.