November 2017 (Updated December 2020) · 4 Min Read
At some point in our lives, we all need to pitch something even if we are not pitching for business. In fact, I have been known to pitch for getting a take away in instead of cooking, going to the cinema instead of going out clubbing (I’m an old man at heart) or staying in a hostel instead of a hotel many times. None of these were for business purposes but the same principles applied each time.
So, what exactly is a pitch? In its simplest terms, it is an attempt to persuade a person or group of your point of view.
Why then do pitches go so wrong, so often? WHY!!!
That WHY wasn’t my attempt at a dramatic Hollywood ending. Strangely enough, for this question...
Many times, I have listened to somebody trying to sell me something and all I can hear is what they do. Occasionally, they also say how they do it. “We sell new and used cars.” “We take photos” “We sell books online.” I’m pleased for each one of these companies but I have absolutely no reason to buy what they’re selling. Why do I need a book? Why would I buy it online instead of going to a shop? Even if I already know these things, why would I buy it from them instead of another online book seller?
What makes this a little more challenging is that not everybody has the same why. Let's take another look at the book example. I might want to buy a book online because it saves me time travelling to the shops but my friend Rob might want to buy a book online because he likes the 14 day returns policy given to all online purchases in the UK.
That means that before we even think about pitching, we should be working out the needs of our audience. What's the problem that your product or service solves?
One of my specialities is writing captivating blogs for Puck Creations' clients. There are many benefits to having a blog but why does a business need to hire a professional to write them?
Let’s think about a networking meeting. You are in a room with representatives from businesses in a range of fields. Each of these businesses has different needs. You don’t know exactly why each individual requires your services but you do know that the majority of your audience encounter the problems mentioned above, enabling you to demonstrate your understanding and offer a resolution.
That resolution doesn’t fit every client, which is why if you have the chance to speak to a business directly, you need to increase your preparation. Imagine you knew exactly what a client was worrying about or striving for and you were able to ease their mind or help them to achieve their goals.
The most important part of a pitch happens way before the pitch. How can you answer a client’s WHY if you don’t know what they need? Research! Check their website, find out who their competitors are, delve into their market place, discover the nuances of their company, gain an understanding of who the key decision makers are and work out what is important to them. Some of this can be done before you ever meet a client but the best way to get this information is simply to ask for it and more importantly, to LISTEN.
Most clients are more than willing to talk about their own business so ask them who their core customers are, why they are in business, what makes them ecstatic and what drives them crazy. Take a full brief, analyse it and only then, speak to them about what you do.
By now, you should also be able to explain why they need what you offer. You have enough information to explain what you do, how you do it and WHY it helps them. Make your pitch concise, take away and fluff and back up what you say with substantive research. (eg, the research you did by asking them directly about their business) Your pitch is about your customer, not you but if your pitch goes well, you will see the benefits too.
There are many factors that go into making a pitch “perfect” and I’m not sure that anybody has ever truly achieved that goal but if you understand that both the question and the answer is WHY, your chances of success will be much higher.
If you’d like to find out more about how Puck Creations can help you, email [email protected]
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