As business owners, being able to “pitch”, or talk about your business without notice is a vital skill. Pitching is challenging and whilst it’s not technically hard, it’s emotionally hard. This can lead to underselling your business or sounding less sure of yourself.
Here are some tips to help you clearly and confidently pitch your idea and gain buy-in for whatever your “ask” is – a sale, an introduction, a partnership, or an investment.
It’s important to capture attention and interest fast and explain what your business does in a concise and easy to understand manner. People are short on time and have short attention spans.
Make a great first impression with an “elevator” pitch. The aim is to articulate who you are, what the business is, and most importantly emotionally connect with your listener in under a minute. Can they answer “yes” to these questions?
- Are you passionate about the business?
- Does your story connect with the problem you are solving?
- Did you create an emotional connection with me?
It takes practice to confidently articulate what you do and why in under a minute. Prepare and know your pitch beforehand and consider questions such as:
- Who is your target audience? Be specific about who your ideal customer is.
- What are the problems they face and how can you solve them?
- What do you do? What are your three key offerings.
- What is the benefit in doing business with you – why are you different or worth paying attention to?
- How will your customers or clients feel when they use your services or products?
- What is your vision? Think about what world you want to create in 10 years.
Cut out anything that doesn’t add value – your pitch needs to be concise and captivating, so the shorter, the better.
Here are some of the common mistakes that can trip you up:
Mistake #1: Not focusing on your key message
When it comes to pitching, whether it’s one minute or five, all is lost if your audience doesn’t even understand what you do!
Think about the three key messages you want your listener to take away. Don’t ramble. Make your pitch friendly for all to understand and keep the jargon at bay.
Mistake #2: Not customising your pitch
Always think of who you’re communicating to. You won’t be able to unlock key connections if you use the same generic pitch on every person.
If you can, do some research. Customise your pitch based on who you’re talking to, what they’re most interested in, and where your values align.
Mistake #3: Not making an emotional connection
What you tell someone is not as important as how you make them feel. Connect with people by taking them through your journey.
Why? Storytelling is powerful. Humans are hardwired to tell and listen to stories. The more powerful the story, the more it tends to stick with us.
- What will the recipient hear?
- What will excite them?
- What will they remember?
Mistake #4: Not showing your passion
What good is a beautiful story if you don’t believe in it yourself?
Passion is contagious!
My advice here is simple: Be passionate! Be yourself!
Mistake #5: Not being prepared
Preparation is key with anything in life, and that includes pitching! Memorise your pitch and practice it as many times as you can.
Practice in front of a mirror or record yourself. You might be surprised to realise that you sound less or more enthusiastic than what you envisioned.
Take note of the time it takes you to say your pitch. Have you said everything you needed to say in under a minute?
As they say, practice makes perfect!