When approaching investors or potential clients, your company pitch is crucial to landing the job or getting investment funding. With only an elevator ride time to get the most important points of your business plan across, the perfect sales pitch can seem harrowing or nearly impossible to make.
The bad news: Many people struggle with getting a pitch together at all, while others battle with honing their spiel or keeping it audience-relevant.
The good news: Ramon Ray happens to judge spitch competitions from time to time, and has given us his insight into how to formulate the ideal business or sales pitch. Here are the top 8 things to consider so that you can form the perfect pitch:
1. Enter Pitch Competitions –
Yes, these are a thing! In pitch competitions, you and other small business owners can toss around your business plans, ideas, and pitches and see if they are caught. Puns aside, these competitions serve as a great opportunity to not only practice telling people about your business, but you have the chance to actually reap the benefits of investment if you win! Pitch competitions include actual potential investors, meaning you could walk in to practice and walk away with funding for your small business.
2. Make Connections –
With pitch competitions, you are able to make connections even if you don’t walk away with a win. Even if the judging investors don’t choose you and your sales pitch, there are typically investors present who may take an interest in you and your company. These connections could then lead to investments and funding to get your business off the ground. Aside from investors, you will meet other small business owners and will network with people going through the same things you are in the small business world. You can potentially toss ideas around and brainstorm with others, only improving your business along the way.
3. Personable Pitch –
Make sure that you are making connections with your potential investors. If you have rehearsed your spiel so much that you sound robotic, you can’t connect with them and get them to become interested and invested in your company or brand. While you want to know your pitch and know it well, you need to practice comfortably proposing it and making those person to person connections throughout so that you draw interest from the people you are trying to sell.
4. Know your Audience –
Depending on the nature of your pitch, you may need to form alternate versions of it. If you are speaking with investors, you’ll need to concentrate on goals for the company and what their contribution would do to help you reach those goals. Make a clear depiction of where their money is going. If you are speaking to potential clients, you are truly trying to sell them on your product or service. Make sure that you are painting a great picture of what you have to offer so that they will ultimately leave with your message in hand and their money in your hand. Being able to have a solid pitch foundation that you can alter for your audience is important and can benefit you greatly.
5. Know the Rules –
For a pitch competition, it is important that you understand the guidelines and rules before you enter. This applies to real life investment opportunities as well. You need to know the rules of how the investor operates to adjust your pitch to best appeal to them and what they do. You don’t want to go in blindly pitching for a $100K investment to a company that’s known for only investing $10K towards new clients. Know your audience and do your research to know the rules.
6. Keep Track of Time –
Manage the time you have to give your pitch wisely. They don’t fall into the category of an elevator talk for nothing. A sales pitch of any sort is no more than 2-3 minutes long, so you want to hit home the most important and relevant points in that short time span. Don’t get bogged down in the details or you could run the risk of striking out before you even get through your spiel. Take your time, but use it wisely to land the investments!
7. Be Clear in Your Intent –
Make sure your pitch is clear and to the point, enough so that it is blatantly obvious what your company does, solves or offers. If your pitch has too much fluff to try to get sales, potential investors or clients won’t be able to clearly tell what you have to offer. Your audience may get lost in the overabundance of detail and get turned off by your company as a result. Remember, you’re trying to grab their interest quickly, and then they can ask follow up questions where you can go into more detail.
8. Provide Examples —
Don’t be afraid to provide an example or two in your pitch. Yes, you are limited on time, but if you strategically place examples you are not only providing proof, but you can also make your points clear. You’re then taking care of two aspects at once, saving time in the long run, and getting the information in there.