Elevator pitch, rocket pitch, sales pitch, pitch presentation or whatever you might call it is the ability to convey your message precisely, succinctly with as much brevity as possible.
There are actually training courses that can teach you to be more proficient at pitching but I am here to say that pitching is something most of you can master without too much trouble.
There are different pitches; elevator pitches, sales pitches, bank pitches, investor pitches to name just a few. They all start at the same place but differ widely from one to the other.
Let’s take a look at the differences.
Often take place in networking situations or on initial meetings where you need to answer “What does your company do?” Most people identify this an elevator pitch. Those opportunities are about prompting a conversation with the questioner.
“We do advertising.” – “We do Wealth Management.” – “We do Business Insurance.”
“We build widgets.” are non-starters, conversations killers. Most people have meet a thousand advertisers, financial managers and insurance reps and don’t have time or the desire to listen to them again. So what to do? Two things you should never do. Never answer with the examples above and never with a flat statement.
You are describing your business, or product, which is like so many others of your kind. What you want to do is add a differentiator…. “We look at clients advertising holistically and consider where and how to reach their target audiences for the best result. How does your company use the different approaches for the most efficient advertising or marketing?” Do you see what I have just done? I mentioned that our company was in the advertising space but then went on to describe our approach followed by asking if the questioner did the same or was able to execute in a similar way. The hoped for result of this type of pitch is being asked “How do you do that?”
From there the conversation and conversion process begins.
Holy Tuff Stuff, Batman. Asking or money from a financial institution has a whole other level of communication. What I am talking about in this situation is the personal pitch – from you to the banker. Your accountant and lawyers should have provided you with the appropriate documentation that has allowed you this opportunity. It is up to you to bring it over the goal line. This part of the pitch is about how you understand the business you are presenting, the reason for the monetary need and why the bank should work with you.
Here is where you need to assess if you are the right person to make this pitch.
If you are a low energy, quiet and shy individual you should probably recruit one of your business associates or professional advisors to stand in. However if this pitch is for a business situation that is very close to your heart you are the best person. You will have to weigh the difference between you and someone else. I would always suggest that it is you. If you need to overcome your discomfort you need to practice, practice, practice until the delivery is automatic. Your mirror will not lie.
Stand there and make your pitch over and over until you can see the desire, emotion and confidence in your words.
Think Shark Tank, the television show, as a valuable well for ideas on just how to approach strangers and ask them to invest in your company. Again, your professional advisors will have provided you with the numbers behind the pitch. You need to know those inside and out. In fact you should make the same pitch you hope to use to a completely different set of strangers for two reasons. They will ask you specific questions that will need to be answered quickly, precisely and with confidence. They will also give you honest feedback on whether or not you convinced them in the value of investing in you an your company.
The best advice for these pitches is preparation. Knowing what your potential investors will be looking for from you is helpful, not always knowable. Perhaps you can contact someone who previously presented to the same group – whether they were successful or not – and seek their input about their experience. If you are pitching a product you will need to have that product available to the investors to touch, feel and possibly use themselves. Make sure they work! The absolute last thing you want to happen is a mechanical failure. If you are pitching a service you will need display collateral in the form of posters, pictures, easels, etc. Your design of any presentation item needs to be first class. Do not skimp on the graphic design or the printing quality. Make sure any text is clear, concise and presents your brand messaging across all the items. You need your words to be backed up with show and tell that supports the pitch.
Whether it is Sales, Bank or Investor pitching the common denominator is engaging the audience. The goal is to transcend bland facts and cold data and bring the conversation into the human realm where relationships can blossom and be solidified.