Pitch ‘not so’ Perfect? – The 10 Client Key rules that will get you to Pitch Perfect. Every single time.

Life is a pitch. Never a truer word said, particularly with creative businesses. We are constantly pitching in the creative industry and it is truly an art form in itself.

I’ve attended a lot of events in the last few months and I’ve been very surprised at the varying degrees of success to social or classic ‘elevator’ pitches. “What do you do? Or… What kind of business are you in?” is a golden opportunity to make a great first impression.

I’ve heard some fairly confusing answers to that question recently. Some of them, in fact, have been downright terrible. Along the lines of…

“So, what do you do?”

“I run a B2B/B2C, geo locator app plug-in that increases proximity marketing for geo tagging and meta data tracking for large scale consumer brands and IP rights holders”

That was an actual pitch that someone said to me, I kid you not. Instead of saying something like this…

“I’ve built an app that helps big brands understand where their customers are and what they’re doing in different locations. Our technology gives brands information that increases their sales conversions and ultimately helps grow my clients businesses.”

A great first pitch should leave the person feeling enlightened, engaged and intrigued to find out more about you and your business. The opposite emotional responses are confused, bored and disengaged but most people are way too polite to ever tell you that’s how they’re feeling!

So I thought I would share my suggestions on how to make a great first pitch in a social or business networking environment and leave the person you’re talking to excited and ready to talk. Not totally baffled and ready to move on!

1. Start with Why – tell the person WHY you do what you do, what gets you excited? Why does your business exist? What gets you out of bed in the morning? Why are you passionate about it?

2. Have confidence – be bold, be confident. This is your chance to shine and make an impact! Don’t blow it by mumbling, looking at the floor (or far worse, over the persons shoulder) and speaking incoherently. If you struggle with these things, practice and try it out on people until your confidence improves. (See rehearse, rehearse, rehearse below)

3. Tell a story – try and put some emotive storytelling into your pitch. We all love a good story so think about your own personal experiences. Cold hard logic and facts about why your business is brilliant are not enough on their own. Remember: Logic makes people think, emotion makes people act

4. Be passionate – delivering your elevator or social pitch should get you excited. Your face should light up when asked what you do! If you are not excited by it then why should the person you are talking to be?

5. Jargon buster – Avoid. Avoid. Avoid jargon. There is already too much of it in business today. If you really want to speak technically and dazzle them with your business brilliance then keep it for later. At a time when you have more time with a client or prospect and, first and foremost, they already have a sense of what you do and how you can help them.

6. Keep it simple – we usually like to get things straight away so keep it very, very simple! At least initially. Don’t make it any harder than it needs to be for the person you’re talking to understand what you do. A good test is would your granny or 10 year old child understand what you do if you told them? That might sound too simplistic but trust me that’s a better place to start than confusing the hell out of someone and then trying to clarify it.

7. Add value – you’ve covered why you do what you do. Now think value. What’s in it for your clients? How do you deliver value and help them or their business. Think value, impact and results. Which aspects of your pitch will they relate to and where’s the value for them?

8. Practice makes perfect – rehearse, rehearse and rehearse again. Change if needed. There is, of course, no such thing as perfection but there is certainly no harm in trying!

9. Enjoy it – pitching is a great way to share experiences, tell people about your business and get feedback on what you’re doing. Keep an open mind and most of all, have fun and enjoy it. It’s all part of the big game we play called business. The more you enjoy any game, the more you enjoy it.

10. Learn & improve – once you’ve done all of these things, practiced your new communication skills and begun to make consistently good pitches understand whats working and what isn’t.  Are there specific aspects of your business you need to focus more or less on? Have you noticed people respond better to certain phrases you’re using? Now it’s time to observe, listen and improve.

The Client Key runs regular pitching workshops and training programs. If you’d like to know more about how a pitching workshop could help your business or engage your team then drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you… use@theclientkey.com

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