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10 Tips for a Successful Pitch

When you’re pitching an idea, product or service, you only have your audience for a short time — make it count!

  1. Know What You are Pitching Against There is almost always another supplier, budget constraints, history etc.—the more you know, the better you can highlight the benefits of your option.
  2. Paint a Picture of the Benefit Give your audience a clear view of what the future will look like with your product or service.  How will it make people behave or feel differently?
  3. Grab Your Audience’s Attention Immediately Rather than starting with an “I” (“Let me tell you about what I do”), start with a “You” (“Your industry is changing, and my product fits perfectly with your future.”)
  4. Create a Personal Connection People prefer to do business with like-minded people that they feel comfortable with. Find a way to connect with your decision-maker—use a personal story on a topic that would interest the listener and you will be remembered as a person rather than a presenter.
  5. Keep it Simple Don’t make your audience work to figure out what they are hearing or why it matters. Hone your pitch to the essentials so they understand what you are saying and what they should do with that information.
  6. Address Your Perceived Shortcomings Instead of trying to hide things that might make your decision-maker reluctant, explain why they are not a concern. For instance, if your company isn’t as large as your competition, mention that client ABC chose you because you are able to offer faster turnaround with less bureaucracy.
  7. Listen as Well as Talk Don’t worry if the audience wants to talk—that’s actually a terrific opportunity to hear their concerns, fears and desires. What you learn will allow you to speak to their needs, so listen hard and incorporate what you hear.
  8. Don’t be Afraid to Show Passion If you are truly passionate and truly believe in what you do, you aren’t selling; you’re sharing your vision. Just be sure you make the link between your passion and solving their problem.
  9. Prepare and Prepare Some More Go over and over and over your material. Prepare your pitch, review it, re-do and do it again. Try to cut rather than add. Creating a PowerPoint is easy.  What takes time and effort is creating a memorable story that is meaningful and easy to follow.  It should never appear that the pitch was simply pulled from the shelf.  Always anticipate and prepare for questions.
  10. Practise and Practise Some More Say your pitch out loud, say it to different audiences, get feedback, record yourself, watch yourself and practise again. Try a variety of wordings to keep things fresh—don’t fall into a monotone or singsong delivery because you’re on auto-pilot.

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