Whether you are helping your sales team secure new business or talking to higher management about making changes that would benefit your team, knowing how to pitch effectively can make a big difference.
Of course, not every single pitch you make will pay off, but having the right strategy can make it much more likely. Here are three of the best tips for how to make sure you make the right impression:
1. Listen, don't just talk
It's important to give the person you're delivering the pitch to all the information they need to make a well-informed decision - and if they agree with you that's a bonus! - but it's also incredibly important to listen to them.
In most industries, the traditional pitch can be ineffective, because it relies on you reading out a pre-prepared speech that lists figures or statistics that will persuade them to go with your ideas. However, you'll find that you are much more effective if you can have a conversation with the person you are pitching to, where you are both able to explain what it is you are looking for. Of course, you'll want to have certain facts or figures to draw on or maybe just areas that you want to cover in the pitch, but it's essential that you understand their key motivations.
2. Think about body language
Whilst you might be listening attentively, if you're in a face-to-face meeting, you need to think about your body language. You might not realize it but your body language can actually say a lot more than you think and so it's important that you give the right message to the person your pitching to.
Spend some time practicing how you sit or stand natural and think of ways in which you can adopt this to be more open and positive. For example, slouching and crossing your arms doesn't tell the other person that your interested. It gives the impression that you're bored and it will also likely keep you feeling tense. Think about sitting or standing straighter and uncrossing your arms to have a more approachable countenance.
If you're talking about your product, remember to use hand gestures. Not only does this showcase your enthusiasm, it also helps to keep people interested in what you're saying. But remember to vary the gestures you use; small gestures, open gestures, just your hands, or your whole arm, varying the gestures you sue will go a long way to ensuring your pitch is as interesting as it is informative.
3. Tell a story, but get to the point
Storytelling can be a fantastic way to make your point relevant to the person you are pitching to, and make it clear that you're there for more than just getting something out of them. However, professionals are often short on time and are unlikely to appreciate you telling them on a hour-long tale. Finding a balance between these two is the secret for a successful pitch.
So leave out the statistics and figures - but have them on hand should they ask for more specifics - and make your demand into a story. If you're making a sales pitch, tell them how your product or service will make a real-life difference to their business. Just remember that you need to be concise with how you tell the story.
4. Call to action
Whether you are pitching to your boss or to a client, it's important that you follow it up with a call to action. This can be anything from an email recapping the main points of the meeting - including any concerns they had - or an appointment to check the progress in a few weeks’ time. People are busy and making sure your pitch isn't something that falls by the wayside is a crucial way to ensure its success.