How to Create the Perfect Pitch
When I use the term ‘pitching’ I refer to a person’s ability to persuade someone to buy or accept something. So, how well do you pitch? How do you feel about pitching? Does it come naturally or is it something that fills you with dread? This was the theme of our November Concannon Connection Business Club.
After a lively round table discussion, we looked at how you can rephrase terms which are generally perceived as negative to create warmer, more emotive responses when you’re pitching. One of our club members was using the term ‘insolvency’ frequently throughout their pitch and openly admitted feeling uncomfortable each time they used the word. After some discussion we came up with a much more positive concept more likely to attract clients. Using metaphors can be a great way to do this. Try and rephrase what you do, so it can be easily understood. You need to be able to switch people on (and not off) to what you’re saying!
You may not know who you will have in front of you when you are pitching for work. People have different working styles, which means they will respond to your pitch in different ways. Our Concannon Connection Business Club carried out a short exercise to understand their own working styles. This proved to be insightful – there were quite a few raised eyebrows in the room as people started to realise the impact their working styles will be having on their pitches. Working styles will also influence the way you run your business and will change depending on the situation.
When you’re pitching to potential clients, you also need to appreciate the current pressures they might be under. For example - if you’re pitching on a Friday afternoon to a Clinical Nurse Director, they’re probably going to be stressed out trying to allocate hospital beds for the weekend. Their focus won’t be on you but elsewhere. There are many factors that could affect how people respond to your pitch, so try to gain some awareness of their situation.
Hurry up! I want the facts quickly…
If you have a ‘hurry up’ person in the room, they won’t want to waste any time. Your pitch needs to be short and you need to get to the point quickly, or you will lose their attention. If you want to influence these people, don’t deliver a ‘death by PowerPoint’ style presentation. Keep your information relevant and explain what you’re offering right from the start.
Perfection please! I need the details…
If you’re pitching to a perfectionist, these people are detail-driven - they want hard facts. They may keep asking questions throughout your pitch to help them weigh up what you’re saying. They will spot typos on slides and query any weak areas. You need to be able to answer their queries on the spot, so make sure your offering is watertight to avoid any awkward questions! The above are brief examples of two working styles, but there are many more. Most people are a combination of at least two, so if you’re pitching to a group of people, be prepared to face a range of working styles. Once you’re comfortable presenting to different working styles, this will not only help you to create a great pitch, but it will also help you to manage your clients too.
Make them feel valued
Begin by asking the person or group questions - bring their focus straight into your pitch. Make your potential client feel important by getting their attention (in a positive way!). Look and feel the part – meet their expectations and mirror their body language. Like it or not, we are all judged in the first few seconds of meeting someone, so make sure you give them the right impression from the start.
Our Concannon Connection Business Club are now busy preparing to pitch at our December session. With such a fabulously diverse range of businesses in the room, I’m really looking forward to their pitches!
Coming soon – second Concannon Connection Business Club!
As our Concannon Connection Business Club is already proving to be a great success, I will be running a second group from January. If you’re an ambitious small business looking for support to achieve success, then please...