As a business owner you are always pitching your products, whether you are giving a presentation, at an event showcasing your products or chatting to someone in the queue at the coffee shop. Here are some tips on getting your message across with impact.
Keep talking about your offering, every time you tell someone about it you are practicing your pitch. At the beginning you’ll stumble over your words and you’ll get some blank looks as your audience (of one or two, usually) will wonder what the hell you’re talking about. But in time you’ll nail it, you will speak clearly and succinctly, your confidence will grow and you’ll see people’s faces light up as they want to hear more about your product.
Be clear on what you are offering
I can’t emphasise how important it is to be able to talk about your offering succinctly. Often we have so many reasons why our products are the best but when we talk about them it comes out in a jumbled mess. The message map is an excellent framework for coming up with a powerful way of describing you products. I strongly recommend it.
5 seconds, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes and 10 minutes
People talk about elevator pitches, this is ability to explain what you do in the time that you have in an elevator. The point is that the time you have to describe what you offer varies according to where you are and what you’re doing. You can’t keep talking once this time is up because you’ll lose the other person’s attention. You must be comfortable with the short descriptions as well as long. You must be succinct in your description. The key to doing this is practicing by talking to people and using the pitching tips in this post.
Passion, aka your story
Above all, you have to know why you set up your business. This isn’t necessarily the practicalities or benefits of the business. It’s the thing you really care about that made you know that you just had to do something about it. For us, it’s the absolute need to reduce food and packaging waste – that’s the reason why we had to set up this business. When you describe this underlying reason your passion will be obvious and it is that passion that will engage, even mesmerise, your audience. It’s magic!!
Know your worth
It’s the way that people engage with you that helps you decide whether to believe them or not. You are the expert in what you are offering. It’s you that has put in the hours, the blood, sweat and tears. It’s you that cares enough about what you are offering to make sure that every little detail is correct. What does that mean? It means you know what you are talking about! So go out there and speak as if you are worth listening to, because you are.
Things to include in your pitch
Once again, the pitch could be a 5 second sentence or a 20 minute presentation. In a shorter pitch you will be able to incorporate less of these elements than in a longer pitch. Here’s a list of key information you might want to include.
Company name and website
Get this in later on in your pitch if you can, once people have had a chance to hear you out and decide whether they want that information. Before you tell them, tell them that you are going to tell them, that gives them essential time to get their brain in gear and their pens or phones ready to take note. When you state your website it’s worth saying the www bit because that will give the listener the signpost that the website is coming up and they will be prepared to listen and take note.
What you offer
Give a basic overview of what you offer then add how you differ to the rest of the market. What makes you special? Explain the pain points your products seek to resolve.
This is the passion bit, no matter how much time you have, this is the bit you want to bring out as it’s the bit that’ll get the audience hooked and they will seek you out.
You want to offer some form of next steps. If it’s a potential customer, direct them to your website or shop. If it’s a pitch to an investor, let them know you would like to raise £X and let them know how to take the first step. If you would like feedback on your products, ask for it.
Pitching, or selling, is the same as any other human interaction. Leave them wanting more – don’t tell them everything to the point they can’t wait to break free. Leave them with the essence of the product lingering in their minds and hearts.