Did you ever walk out of a meeting with a prospective client and wish you could reverse the clock and start all over again? I have. I was in one of those meetings and you would think after all my years of presenting and pitching, I would have it perfected. Wrong. I went into the meeting highly confident, knew my stuff, did some industry research with data to support my key points. However, I got sidetracked talking about the exciting parts of the idea and it threw me off. My solid pitch plan was derailed with an unforeseen conversation, which quickly lead me down the wrong path. After realizing that all of my key points didn’t come across and I needed them to, I tried to re-trace my steps and start over. However, it was too late. The person has already made up their mind and it was not what I was hoping. Don’t let this happen to you.
DNA of a Great Pitch
A great pitch can include some of the same content, and it really doesn’t matter if you’re pitching a prospective client, looking for venture capital for your start-up or even trying to find someone to be a donor for your cause. The style and DNA of what you’re talking about is very similar.
Before you begin, your pitch, remember; let your presentation material drive your talking and leave room for the person to ask questions. Sometimes silence and pausing can be very effective. That means thinking is happening. One of the biggest things I learned to ask before each presentation or pitch was to confirm how much time we have. Because you never know when you thought you had 30 minutes and all of a sudden it was 15. Be prepared for that because it does happen.
Before the presentation: Determine the goal of the meeting and be realistic. It may not end up being what you think it should be. For instance, if you’re looking for venture capital and this is your first meeting, the goal is not to get the money but to get invited to the second meeting. Make sure you understand this because it impacts what you say and how you say it.
13 Tips For Your Next Important Business Pitch
- Have a pre-established plan to keep your pitch delivery on-track and easy to understand
- Communicate what your pitch value proposition is in the first 30-seconds – Give a brief, big picture overview – almost like an elevator pitch
- Tell a very brief personal story about why you are doing what you do (less than a minute)
- Produce a short video that’s about 1-2 minutes. This is a powerful medium to get your emotion across. Work this into your presentation where it can have the most impact.
- Answer these questions in your pitch: “Why would you want to buy this?” and “How does this help solve your problem?” Don’t ask them these questions. Your key messages and explanation should answer these.
- Your content in your presentation are drivers for what you say – don’t read word for word from a PowerPoint presentation.
- Forecast: Tell your audience what you are going to talk about in your presentation, and tell them in 10 seconds or less
- Key Points: Choose 3-5 key points you want to communicate and stick to those points in order, without wavering. These key points will be different based on the nature of the pitch.
- Provide a visual representation of your overall big picture – this helps the person to actually see what you are talking about – use graphs and charts, not a PowerPoint with lots of words on the screen.
- Do your research and look for substantiated data that helps communicate your message.
- Don’t use industry buzzwords that only you understand. Make sure to clearly articulate your thoughts in terms your audience will instantly be able to grasp.
- Since this meeting is designed to lead to a monetary transaction, it’s critical to talk about your company/team’s credibility and ability to carry out the mission.
- Final wrap-up: Ask the question, “If this is not clear, what questions do you have I can answer?”
Note: if your pitch is for seed capital or early series round funding, your key points need to be more like a simplified business plan. You should have key points similar to: Defining the market, competition, problem and solution, value proposition and company’s distinctive business model, go to market execution, sales and marketing, the team, list any key financial metrics and how your business will allocate funds and finally, a forecast for the future.
YourBrandExposed.com is a digital marketing and strategy consultancy that works with businesses big and small to solve their most difficult questions surrounding digital, brand development, generating qualified leads, business growth and strategic partnerships.
Scott MacFarland – Founder, Chief Content Marketer, Digital Strategist
Photo Credit: Pexels, Kaboompics // Karolina
Original Bog on Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-macfarland/