What makes a good pitch? When planning a pitch, do not overlook simplicity and passion. Recall the teenage years when pitch planning played a big role in every teenagers’ life.
Having to convince Mom and Dad to let you attend sports games, school dances, or go to the movies is how teenagers start making their pitch.
What makes the best pitches exciting, memorable, successful, or even unsuccessful?
Making a pitch is not an unfamiliar task, but in the wide world of enterprise, one must revert to a teenager’s simplicity and passion.
Rejection is a genuine fear that grips many when pitch-making – it’s not unusual.
What will they think of me? What if I screw it all up? What happens if I make a perfect pitch and then experience rejection?
The fear of rejection is a real thing but also quite overrated.
A pitch by nature is a shot into the dark, a chance, or if one is wise, a very measured risk.
The pitch maker must accept the reality that not all attempts will result in success.
The pitch may be flawed, the listeners may be uninterested, or your audience might be unable to take the journey with you.
The pitch maker must also recognize the benefits of repeatedly making a pitch – practice makes perfect:
- The better you become in delivery.
- The more people who will hear the pitch.
- The likelihood of reaching the right person at the right time – Success!
Therefore, do not allow fear to stop you from making a pitch. Use fear as fuel to energize your passion.
Make the pitch, expect rejection, and build the story.
Do not be deterred; you may very well find success in the next pitching opportunity.
THE KEY INGREDIENTS
While making a pitch can be likened to a shot-in-the-dark, it is not without night vision goggles.
The pitch maker should know what crucial elements belong in the pitch.
Additionally, the pitch tone should create a mood in the hearer that intrigues and invites inquiry.
Below are the seven key ingredients to make your pitch a success.
1. Tell an Intriguing Story
As obvious as it may seem, it is essential to remind yourself not to disregard the power of telling a story during your pitch.
The chief concern becomes obtaining “buy-in.”
Selfishness is often the root of the problem when it comes to convincing your audience to buy into your pitch.
As the pitch maker earnestly yearning for support, knowing why help is necessary, tie this dynamic into your pitch.
Do not allow anxiety, fear or zeal to cause you to overlook this necessary story. Remember, people love an engaging story, so tell one.
2. What’s in the Story?
Comprise your story with all the right ingredients to make your pitch as powerful as possible:
- What is the need in the marketplace?
- What drives this need, and how long has it been evident?
- How did the pitch maker come to know of this need?
- Is there a personal experience?
- What does the pitch maker’s idea do to satisfy this market need? How did the idea come to fruition?
- What are the intangibles that make the pitch maker ideal to meet this need?
- What are the hard skills the pitch maker has to meet this need?
- What is the value of partnership to meet this need?
In short, think Shark Tank when forming the framework of your story within your pitch.
3. Consider the Hearer
Pitches tend to have low initial success rates because the pitch maker does not consider the hearer.
It is the pitch maker’s responsibility to know to whom they pitch. The pitch maker should know the right time to approach, whom to approach, how much time the moment should last.
These are critical to success, but there is something far more important – your reputation.
The pitch maker’s name must be worth more than gold.
The title will precede and even open doors of opportunity or ensure their closure. However, there is more to pitch-making.
- Who’s the listener or reader of this fantastic story?
- What is the mindset of the person hearing your story?
- How will your telling relate to them? Will it?
If the pitch maker is afforded analytics about their audience – use it. Commercials are created and canceled because of analytics.
If it works, continue.
If it is not working, discontinue the practice.
4. It is a Commercial Break
The pitch is not a novel, nor is it a saga. Failure will be immediate if the pitch maker’s story drags on and on like a soap opera.
The audience does not have the time to listen to episodic telling. Think of the pitch in terms of a commercial break.
Television commercials have a very definite place in the viewing of sitcoms. They provide a short 3 – 5 minutes reprieve from the saga.
Commercials effectively tell a story to provoke action in those whom the storyline is targeting.
Commercials are a shot-in-the-dark.
Not everyone listening is the intended audience. However, when the pitch is repeatedly delivered, the right people hear the message – which leads to success.
5. The Placement of Your Pitch
Research is essential. Successful pitches find their appropriate spot in a dense crowd of coverage.
Consider commercial breaks.
Certain commercials crowd the day, while others the night.
Other commercials prefer particular channels, while others dare not seek coverage on those same channels.
Knowing where to cast our pitch is vital.
Differentiating your pitch from other pitches that have found the same audience as yours is just as vital.
- What makes your pitch similar to others?
- Is that good or bad or indifferent?
- What makes your pitch distinct from others?
- Why is your pitch worthy of attention?
- Why should the hearer align him/herself with you, as opposed to other worthy pitches?
The pre-considered answers to these questions will prepare the pitch maker for competition in a dense field of other pitch makers.
6. Do Your Homework
Analytics outlined above are essential to bookmark about knowing your audience. Many think analytics are an expensive undertaking, and this stance is not without merit.
However, analytics can take on many forms.
Some of the most accurate analytics are free of charge and simple to ascertain. When making a pitch, know your audience.
Knowing your audience involves:
- Knowledge of your hearer’s schedule.
- Best and worst times to interact.
- What to and not to bring to the pitch?
- How much time should a business pitch occupy?
- Should you provide snacks, coffee, or tea?
- Where are their current interests?
- What are their current publicly known business investments?
- What vision does he/she have for their business or investment portfolio?
- What charitable causes interest him/her and why?
These analytics are perhaps more valuable than the pricey data points purchased from marketing firms.
How so, might you ask?
These analytics are obtainable from many sources:
- Family members
With a bit of networking, these crucial data points can be yours free of charge. “And then what?” you might ask.
Use the data.
Set the appointment, casual meeting, or happenstance convergence in the elevator of the hallway.
Use this data to position your pitch to the right person at the right time.
7. Use the Element of Surprise
The very best pitches come with an element of surprise. The hearer was not expecting to hear about this at any particular time.
Make sure your audience remains in awe.
If timed correctly, the pitch will come at a time of day where the message is a welcomed distraction.
The pitch might even provide a conduit to an answer the hearer has been seeking. The pitch should be a pleasant surprise.
Intrigue, excitement, and inquiry should follow the welcomed commercial break. Your pitch needs a good story to provide a change in momentum and keep your audience connected.
FOUR COMPONENTS TO ADD TO A GREAT PITCH
- What’s in it for Me?
Making you pitch memorable is vital. Making a strong connection is excellent. Making a successful partnership is the aim.
Successful partnerships come because of mutual connection and benefit.
In other words, do not forget to ask What’s in it for me (WIIFM)? Great pitches create profit and solve problems for the audience, also.
When timed accurately, your pitch can be situated to solve a problem efficiently. Additionally, your pitch can be the inroads to an allusive opportunity for the hearer.
So, put fear in its place and put your emotional equity on the back burner. Make a pitch that creates an opportunity for your hearer as well as yourself.
- Be Concrete
Be honest and be earnest. Make your pitch with minimal superlatives. Make sure you address the hardcore data.
Express the market need concisely, not exhaustively.
Create interest and inquiry, but do not attempt to answer all questions in a pitch. The pitch is an appetizer, a commercial break of sorts, possibly a welcome disruption.
Do not complicate it, and do not present with too much fluff.
It is what it is, but it is a good thing for you to make the pitch. Be firm and strong, and you will find success.
- Prove that Growth is Sustainable
Many investors are looking for growth. While short-term investment has its place, long-term growth is ideal.
Investors, especially in this market, seek sustainability.
o Does your pitch offer this?
o What is the trajectory of your idea?
o One year, two years, five years, beyond?
o Is the return diminishing over the years, or is it growing?
o What is the competitive landscape?
Be sure to articulate, possibly as you close the pitch, the future outlook.
- Demonstrate bench strength
Using the old baseball adage, “who’s on deck?” Be sure your audience knows you have a team.
A strong pitch becomes a real opportunity when the hearer knows you are not a solo act.
When others have seen the vision, embraced the idea, and have joined the team, the pitch is more than a shot-in-the-dark. While it may be unknown variables, the pitch maker can provide the audience with night vision to maneuver the business.
Together, the two can find all the treasure hidden in the dark places. Once you turn your audience into allies, thoughts that have not surfaced will come to light.
Making a pitch can be a nervous venture because it has many unknowns.
How will you be received? Will you be made a laughingstock? Or will you be taken seriously, even welcomed to the table?
There will be many variables you will not be aware of when making your pitch, but the reality is, you’ve got an idea to meet a market need.
The world awaits the manifestation of your idea, but you’ve got to pitch it first.
GET A HEADSTART AT PITCH MASTERS ACADEMY
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