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Pitching is an important way to gain new customers and grow your business but, if you really had to, could you explain what your company does and why it’s unique in a single, easily digestible message?
If you haven’t tried this before, it can be tough. When put on the spot, many owners struggle to deliver a succinct pitch to sell themselves and their business.
The good news, however, is that by following these practical steps in the five areas highlighted below, you can gain the confidence and knowledge to help you define and deliver your pitch with ease.
1. Showcase your strengths
If your business offers the best products or customer service – or has staff that are helpful and knowledgeable – you’re going to need to communicate this.
Ahead of time, make a list of your strengths and the ways you’re better than the competition. Keep running through this list until you can easily explain why your business represents the best deal for customers.
2. Refine your message
A common mistake some people make is trying to describe their entire organisation. You need to concentrate on your previously identified strengths and areas of competitive advantage. Try and work your key points into a single message that can be explained in just a few seconds as the opening of your pitch.
3. Focus on your audience
Turning to a pitch without understanding who you’re talking to can do you a disservice, so do your homework. Get names and titles right, try to understand the business you’re pitching to and, importantly, focus your effort on how their business would benefit, not how great it would be for you.
In fact, before any meeting, list the key benefits of working with your organisation. After opening your pitch, this element could be what you focus on next.
It’s important to keep all this brief. Really, you don’t want to say too much and you don’t want to bore anyone. Make the key points about your business, and the benefits, then wait for questions.
4. Focus on your body language
To make others believe in your business, you must appear to believe in it yourself. If you impassively run through a dry list of facts, strengths and benefits, that’s hardly as effective as showing a bit of passion.
Let your enthusiasm shine through, but don’t go crazy. This can be just as off-putting as someone with low energy. It’s best to look confident and approachable, and to shake lots of hands while smiling, making eye-contact and resisting any urge to crush bones. Firm and friendly will do nicely.
5. Prepare to negotiate
If your pitch turns into a negotiation, things will be going well. A potential sale or new customer/client is a distinct possibility. So, how do you handle it?
The last thing you want is for a successful pitch to be snookered by questions about a potential deal. Know before you go into your meeting what you’d ideally like to happen. Know the deal you’d like to aim for – and the one you’d willingly accept.
Be prepared for the other party to make a counter offer to any you present. What will you say next to ensure the terms would represent a ‘win’ for both parties? How will you stress the benefits of working with you, rather than a rival?
Once you’ve had time to digest these five simple steps you should be well on the way to delivering the perfect pitch.