A sales pitch. Everyone’s favourite pastime. You get to waste a good chunk of your day listening to someone tell you why their product/service is so amazing, and why you should give them all of your money for it. 

Yet, it’s obvious they’ve done absolutely zero research on you, they’re not asking how their product can better your life, they just see you as the money. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. Unfortunately, it seems to be the going rate nowadays.

It’s about time we change things up.

Jon Torrens is a former stand up comic, and current-day Communications Coach.

In this talk, Jon tells us everything you do in a sales pitch needs to be geared towards gaining your audience’s trust. People go off their gut, if something isn’t right then they won’t buy-in, even if you do have the most amazing product the world has ever seen. 

So, how do you win that trust? You’ll just have to listen to the podcast below.

Prefer a read to a listen? We’ve summarised Jon’s main points below.

DO YOUR RESEARCH

Treat a pitch like a job interview. You wouldn’t walk into one having done zero research on the company you’re about to talk to, a pitch should be no different. Below are the 5 key questions you want to be able to answer, before walking into that room.

  • What are your audience’s expectations? 

Do they think you’re going in with a 5-minute talk? Or a 20-minute presentation? Are you taking your product with them so they can see it? Or is it still in production? Having these expectations managed beforehand goes a long way to ensuring you don’t start off on the wrong foot.

  • What do they need or want?

Are these people even interested in your product? If they are, great, you can tailor your pitch to align it with their desires. If not, well, you’re wasting your time, aren’t you?

  • What is their experience with your product/industry?

Jon gives this example: Imagine you’re pitching a video game to someone who doesn’t play video games, you’re in for a loss. However, a video game specialist would know what you’re talking about straight away. Answering this question doesn’t only help you choose the right people to be pitching to, it allows you to tailor your pitch in a manner the investor(s) will understand.  

  • What is the industry culture like?

There’s nothing worse than turning up to a pitch, all guns blazing, to have the people you’re pitching to sit in complete silence the entire time. It’ll throw you off your game. A little research into the industry can go a long way in ensuring this doesn’t happen.

  • How many people are you pitching to? 

Imagine turning up to a pitch expecting a small 1-to-1 session, only to find out you’re pitching to a board of 20 directors. Bet you can already feel the sweat running down your back.

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS LAST

They really do. So, when you’re trying to win someone over, it’s important you make your first impression the best it can be. To do that, follow these steps:

  • Demonstrate your Modus Operandi or M.O.

For those of you who don’t know, your M.O is the way you conduct yourself in a business environment. It includes the way you dress, your punctuality. This needs to be on show from the initial point of contact. Have they just agreed to let you come in and make your pitch? Great. Are you going to be casual about it and end it with a “Fantastic, see you soon” or are you going to confirm all the details there and then. 

  • Be human

We all have flaws, we all make mistakes, own them. Say you turn up 20 minutes late, don’t then waste another 2 minutes of their time apologising and making excuses. You’re only dragging out a bad situation. Instead, thank them for their patience and move on.

  • Convey the right motives

Show them your values, what you’re about. A simple gesture like stopping and listening to them when they speak will really help them buy into the trust factor. You should also be clear and concise with your motives, tell them what your goal is early on so there’s no confusion.

  • Don’t bullsh*t

If you don’t know the answer to a question, be honest and tell them. Even if you’re supposed to know the answer, just tell them you’ll find out and come back to them. Don’t try and wing it, you’ll end up digging yourself a hole and inevitably ruin your credibility.

 

GET TO THE POINT

Think Dragon’s Den. Every pitch starts with “this is who I am, I represent this company, this is our product and this is how much money we want”. From the get-go everyone in the room knows exactly why they’re there. It opens up questions to which you can now add value. You don’t want to drag the pitch out, present your offer to them at the end, only to find out it’s something they never would have invested in anyway. 

 

TELL A STORY

A story paints a picture as well as creates empathy and relevance. It shows why you and your company should be in that room, pitching them your product. A marketing agency might go into a pitch for a contract and say “we offer this range of services, we work with these clients and we have a great working relationship with them” but this issue is, anybody could claim to do that. A story offers something more, the agencies pitch could be turned in to “we were contacted by X company, they weren’t able to generate any leads digitally, we came in, found these problems, implemented these solutions and now they’re pulling in fifty million leads per month”. Instantly the thought process changes from “yeah but anyone can claim to be able to do that” to “I want 50 million leads per month”. 

An added bonus of telling a story is that it sticks. So even if the pitch doesn’t work for them, they might remember your story and tell it to someone else of whom it could be more relevant to.

 

ASK THE QUESTION

TELL THEM WHAT YOU WANT, AND ASK THEM DO THEY WANT TO INVEST? You don’t want to walk away with the uncertainty of not knowing if they’re going to invest or not. If they need time to make a decision, then how long do they need? Should you contact them or wait to be contacted? Answering these questions will let you know where you stand.

 

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