One thing is certain: pitching is the order of the day and is becoming increasingly important.
To pitch: pleasure or burden?In this blog post, I’m going to address the following of pitching:
- What is a pitch?
- What do experts say regarding this subject?
- What are my own experiences?
- How can you train your pitch to gain more revenue?
Pitch: a definitionYou often hear terms such as ‘elevator pitch’, ‘desk bitch’ or ‘personal pitch’. But what is a pitch exactly?
Elements of a PitchLet’s quickly review the elements of a pitch: Convincing In order to persuade you must be fully persuaded. Only if you’re convinced a full 100% yourself, you’ll be able to persuade others.
Pacelle van Goethem, a persuasion expert, sees a connection with the hippocampus. It’s important that the one who wants to persuade the other(s) relaxes them by doing something that is recognized by their hippocampus – a part of the brain that is partly responsible for quick recognition and memory.
Story The second element of the pitch is the story. What’s the story? What’s in it for hem? It’s the story that you have to transfer to your prospects. It’s about a personal message that needs to get things moving. (S)he who pitches is the product. How important that is? Extremely important. I dare say that Steve Jobs was able to transform Apple into one the most valuable companies ever thanks to his brilliant sales skills. Idea
This is the heart of the pitch. Having somewhat worth saying. Stop speaking start listening. Important is that you’re target audience gets to hear something relevant. It’s not about what you like of find important. What specifically helps the target audience, what keeps them occupied, what challenges are they dealing with? It’s about immersing yourself into the customer or prospect. Investigate how an idea, often one of your products or services, can help them. Its users are key for Google: start with the user and the rest will follow only in a matter of time. Short
We live agitated; this applies to both our private and business life. Each day numerous (un)solicited advertisements reach us from people who want something. A pitch requires energy from the customer. Quickly come to the point of what you want to achieve with your idea. Time is money. Prospect
The prospect is the audience of the pitch. It’s someone of ‘flesh and blood’. The pitch requires personal contact because the message targets the prospect specifically. Making eye contact and asking sufficient questions are both two methods that are used to check whether the story is clear. The pitch involves at least the decision-makers but sometimes even the influencers with a certain company or organization.
Experts on pitchingPitching has been in the spotlight for quite some time now. Life is a pitch is the title of a book from 2007 by Stephen Bayley and Roger Mavity. Want to know more? Watch this video.
Roger Mavity is an experienced advertiser who believes pitching really makes the difference. Most work you daily do is maintaining your customer portfolio, but pitching is the moment of truth that can make the difference. Doing business is more than simply emotions and thought. You have to transfer that emotion! It’s a piece of drama, which loosens your energy.
Andrew Klein, a pitch expert from Australia, suggests that it’s about authenticity and personality. Your pitch should fit you like a glove. Behaving yourself differently to seem ‘ideal’ won’t work. Are you a serious person in real life? Don’t try to play the joker. Radiate and be inspired. It involves engagement and making contact. Tell your story like you’re dinking a cup of tea. On YouTube you can find all sorts of great material from Andrew Klein.
Edo van Santen considers himself a Dutch ‘pitchologist’.He offers training courses and learns people how pitch. Unlike Roger Mavity he states that the message is less important than the way you say it. To get into the hippocampus of others, you have to use your voice. For example: your intonation and communication are big assets. According to van Santen, this is much more important than the content of your message.
Own experiences with pitchingI’ve been an entrepreneur since 2005. In the past 11 years, I’ve encountered numerous successes and disappointments with pitching. That’s not that surprising. Selling is scoring but also taking a ‘no’ when you hear one. Achieving 100% successful pitches is just impossible. What I learned is that pitching and selling is a non-stop process. As an entrepreneur, you should always have a story ready. Sometimes you get an opportunity, but you’ll have to be able to score immediately. I also use multiple pitches because sometimes you have to deal with a different audience or a different context. I also use tags, keywords in support of the content. That often lingers with people. In my case these are: digital, search, analytics, lead generation, conversions, return on investment. Dare to fail. You have nothing to lose apart from the time you’ve invested in pitching. It’s a ‘No’? Maybe next time you’ll hear a definite ‘Yes!’. Never underestimate a pitch. Prepare yourself and most importantly radiate passion and pleasure. People are allergic to negative energy. The pitch is widened by the many contact options that are available today. I sell myself on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, by blogging, in an e-mail, during drinks at a bar, by phone, in the gym, at the golf course, in the sauna and so on. An entrepreneur that stops selling goes broke within an instance.
Train your pitch, double your revenueWhich tips can I offer you to increase your revenue? Consider all elements of the pitch I explained previously first before you continue. You are the product
Carefully consider who and what you want to be for which audience. The WHY model by Simon Senek can get you going. Train, Train, Train
Practice your pitch as much as possible. It’s a subject you’ll have to train for the rest of your career. Otherwise you won’t be successful. Practice in front of the mirror, on video during a Pecha Kucha session, at a master class or in front of another entrepreneur. Ask yourself: do I believe my own story? Endurance
Hold on even when you hear ‘No’. Learn from your failures. Selling is like art en takes years of experience. Some start-ups do up to 150 presentations before they’re able to get financing. Writer J.K. Rowling, known for Harry Potter, was rejected by more than 10 publishers before she became successful. She’s now worth a staggering one billion pounds. Maintenance You also have to maintain and sometimes change your pitch. Work with a version 2.0, 3.0 and so on. Keep your pitch up to date. Take recent experiences into account.