If you think a pitch is only for businesses seeking investment, think again. Every small business needs a short, enticing answer to the question, 'what do you do?' A great pitch will quickly sum up who you are, what you do and why people will love doing business with you.
Small business owners often have difficulty explaining what they do. A well crafted pitch can make all the difference, it be used on your website, brochures, recruitment ads, social media profiles, as part of your sales pitch, or anywhere you need to post a bio.
In the 40 week entrepreneur masterclass called Key Person of Influence, best-selling author, Daniel Priestley lays out the fundamentals of the perfect pitch. He says, "You get what you pitch for, and you are always pitching!" So start pitching for what you want.
1. Position Yourself with Precision
When pitching, you need to open strong. Begin with a focused sentence about who you are, the industry you play in, what your specialty is and who you serve. Your level of clarity in this opening sentence will determine whether your audience will continue to listen to you, if they will understand what you do and, importantly, if they will be able to share what you do with others.
A great way to do this is to start with your name and then take them on a journey delivering your information in macro to micro order. So start with the outer perimeter being your general industry, then move toward the centre and mention what you specialize in, what your niche is and possibly identify your target market. Do not try to be tricky here, keep it simple and clear; once you have their attention up front then you can tell the rest of your story.
2. Stand by Your Achievements
The next few sentences are where you build your credibility. Keep it short and powerful, no need to ramble on listing all your achievements, just pick the top one or two rock star moments of your career. Work in the credibility that is relevant to your desired positioning and your pitch will quickly gain depth. You really just want to pique interest and get people wanting to know more.
3. Unveil the Problems
Now that you have engaged your audience and established why they should listen to you it's time to get to the heart of your pitch. Here you will talk about the two or three main problems you have observed among your target market before going on to explain the unique and compelling solutions you offer to those issues.
Don't be tempted to oversell here. You might actually offer an all-singing all-dancing solution to a dozen problems, but stick to the issues that will strike the strongest chord in your audience. Be empathetic, be knowledgeable and get them hungry for answers.
4. Shine the Light on Your Solutions
Describe the solutions in the same order as you mentioned the problems. This is where you will begin to mention your methodology, for example:
"My 4 week program to building a brilliant brand will teach you..."
"My gluten free pizza bases..."
Whatever your business, it's a good idea to codify your solution, by that I mean think about what you do and explore ways you can package up your offerings into clear "products" for maximum impact. This helps your audience get an instant snapshot of what you are selling.
5. Say it From the Heart
Up to this point in your pitch, all things being right, you will have engaged the listener, wowed them with some facts and figures and got them thinking about how you can help them with a specific problem. Now is the time to evoke an emotional connection. Share your purpose or mission and share it from the heart -- honesty and passion will go a long way.
Build an authentic connection by using emotive phrases such as:
"My mission is..."
"We believe that..."
"I see a world where..."
Paint a picture of how your business will transform your niche or your listener's life.
6. Ask for What You Want
While this kind of pitch is not designed to close a sale, it is a good idea to ask for what you want in a clear way. Don't be shy! Asking sends a clear message that you know what you want, and it will only be a matter of time before you get it.
If you are looking for customers, ask for referrals. If you need capital, ask for introductions to investors. If you want to appear on a popular morning talk show, ask for television media introductions. Once again a pitch is not a sales conversation, it's an opening line that will get you to the next step. This step can be left out if you are simply using the pitch to brand or position yourself.
7. Brilliant Branding Finale!
If you thought your opening was good, your ending is going to be pure gold. The end of your pitch is a priceless opportunity to leave your brand in the mind of your audience, teaching them how to talk about you and solidifying what you want to be known for.
Strengthen your brand association further by adding a simple statement about the transformation your clients undergo. The last few words of your pitch have the power to leave a lasting impression. Brilliant branding is about owning a space in people's mind for your niche. Claim this space with confidence, flair and a deliberate pitch strategy!
These seven steps make up the most effective and versatile pitching architecture for entrepreneurs I have ever come across. To reiterate just how important your pitch can be, it's been rated number one in our latest report: The 11 Essentials of a Successful Website.