It’s inevitable that at one point or another you’ll need to convince someone of your business. Maybe you’ll need the support of an investor to expand or introduce new products. Perhaps you’ll need to convince a client that your solution is the one they’re looking for. Either way, having a pitch all planned out can be an invaluable asset to have.
That said, here are five of my top tips for when it comes to blowing people away with a pitch.
It seems like common sense to tell the listener what you want from them, but asking for anything can be hard. All too often people use pitches to explain what they want to achieve, but not how the other party can contribute.
You don’t want to get to the end of your speech only to be asked ‘so, what’s my role in all this?’.
Sit down before your meeting and make sure you know exactly what you want, and exactly what you can give. You want to convince the client or investor that you have the solution to their problems! Avoid any unnecessary information, and keep it short and sweet. The last thing you want is for your audience to finish listening before you finish speaking!
As George Burns once said – “The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, and to have the two as close together as possible.”
Avoid beating around the bush, and communicate exactly what the goal is as quickly and clearly as you can.
Using words your client or investor doesn’t understand doesn’t make you seem smart – it just makes listening to you frustrating. Make sure you avoid buzzwords and industry specific terms, even commonly used ones. When you’re planning a pitch use language that anyone could understand.
It’s impossible to know the background of everyone you pitch to, and you don’t want to alienate a potential asset because they don’t understand what you’re saying!
Studies have shown that complex writing and speech actually make you sound small minded, and using open language everyone understands impresses people far more.
So instead of sounding like a thesaurus, prove to the room that you could convince anyone of your idea.
It can be all too easy to fall into the ‘professionalism’ trap. You want to make a good impression, so you try to be as professional as possible and end up like a robot. Don’t strip away your personality when it comes to pitching – human connections are a huge part of what convince us to invest in an idea!
Try to be yourself, and talk about your own skills and abilities, and those of your team. After all, a great idea or product is only as good as the people behind it.
Using words your client or investor doesn’t understand doesn’t make you seem smart – it just makes listening to you frustrating. Make sure you avoid buzzwords and industry specific terms, even commonly used ones, when you’re pitching.Click To Tweet
When it comes to pitching LinkedIn could be your new best friend. Take the time to look up who you’ll be speaking to – if they have an account, learning about their education and experience could give you an insight into what their interests are and what they’re looking for. This can help you tailor your presentation to them, making for a more engaging speech.
It’s also important to ask questions – this will help build a rapport between you. Studies show that small-talk can help maximize your studies of making a sale, so get personal.
Try to find out about what you can about the client or investor, the next steps you’ll be taking, and any other details that are relevant to the transaction.
At the end of the day, a pitch is all about making a connection. Don’t be afraid to make jokes, share stories, and talk about how you got to where you are. Enthusiasm isn’t a crime! It can be a great tool to keep your audience engaged.
That said, make sure to read the room. If your client or potential investor isn’t reacting at all, tone it down and stick to the facts.
Pitching can be a stressful time, but there’s no need for it to be. Walk into your next meeting prepared, with a clear goal and questions, and don’t be afraid to be yourself.
If you do get turned down, try not to take it personally: after all, it’s not that you’re being rejected, it’s just that your solution isn’t the one that’s being looked for. Good luck!