For most small businesses, irrelevant of what they offer or what industry they operate in, chances are they’ll have to pitch to prospective clients at least a handful of times throughout the year.
Sometimes, these pitches can be nothing more than a well put together report that provides in-depth information about the business.
On other occasions, however, the more traditional route needs to be taken and a face-to-face pitch has to be delivered.
If you’re in this scenario at the moment or you simply want to prepare for when the moment does come along, check out these 3 simple steps to delivering an effective pitch.
Possibly the most difficult step to abide by, if you’re not used to speaking in a promotional, sales way to others, delivering a face-to-face pitch can be nothing short of excruciatingly nerve wracking.
However, you can overcome a lot of these nerves by doing one simple thing – preparing.
Firstly, find out what it is that the client you’re pitching to exactly wants and ensure that your pitch focuses heavily around this point. Include other supporting information, but be sure that you’re always going back to the main reason you’re pitching.
Next, be sure that you know fully not only your own data and statistics, but that of your competitors, too. It doesn’t need to be in-depth financial information about rival companies, but you can bet your bottom dollar that one of the questions you’ll be asked is why the client should work with you and not your competitors – and you need to have a fantastic response full of cold, hard facts ready.
Finally, simply remember that it’s your product or service and no one knows it better than you do. Don’t worry if you’re a little nervous and don’t worry if you head a little off track – if you’re delivering the goods, the client will see past your nerves.
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Finding the line between a personal friend and a business colleague is a difficult one to distinguish, but once you’ve managed to be friendly with business colleagues without being too personal once or twice, it begins to come as second nature and it’s something that can help you tremendously when pitching to prospective clients.
Ideally, you want to put the client in a place where they feel like they know you and can relate to you as a person, but without them knowing the ins and outs of your personal life.
Anything less and you can come across as being cold and remote and anything more and you risk being overly-friendly and needy.
Remember, all you have to do is keep to the basics – be polite, smile and don’t be too pushy.
One of the reasons a lot of people come into problems when delivering pitches is because they try to sugarcoat data too much or include points which stretch the truth a little too far.
Stick to what you know, tell the potential client what they need to be know and focus on the positive points of your business – every organization has negative aspects, but clients don’t need to know what they are unless they ask (and then you should be turning them into positive points, explaining that, for example, you’re amending a process to ensure that the negative point doesn’t happen in the future and that you have learnt and developed from it).
A good pitch is made up of a whole range of different aspects, but if you stick to these 3 steps and develop from them, you should be able to deliver an effective pitch which sees both your workload and personal confidence levels increase substantially.
Note: This post was originally published on September 21, 2010.