Whenever I see a baseball game I’m impressed by how intensely focused a good pitcher is. Even when the crowd is jeering, or it’s starting to rain, or it’s so hot the sweat is trickling down his face, the pitcher concentrates on one thing — the pitch. And if he has his “good stuff,” as they say in baseball, he strikes out the other side and walks off the field like a king.
Making a killer business pitch is kind of like that. You need to enter a meeting prepared, be focused and be ready to throw unhittable strikes. If you don’t, your team loses. Business, like baseball, can sometimes be very black and white! And as anyone who wants to sell their services or products knows, one of the hardest things to get right is a killer pitch.
Image courtesy of Tobyotter’s Flickr photostream.
I’ve written about elevator pitches before (Communication Skills: Why Have An Elevator Pitch), those tightly focused, condensed business pitches to be delivered in the time it takes for the average elevator ride. However, for a business pitch, unless you’re making a venture capital pitch on something like the Dragon’s Den, you usually have more than thirty seconds. This begs the following question: how can you use that time effectively and deliver a killer pitch? So here’s my pitch for making a killer pitch.
The Language Lab’s top tips for making a killer pitch
Study the other team: Make sure you thoroughly research the company or person you are pitching to. How does your offer meet their specific needs? Just as a pitcher watches recordings of great batters in preparation for his game, you too need to know the strengths and weaknesses of the other players.
Do your warm-ups: Making a pitch can be a lot like public speaking. (See: 6 Quick Tips on How Not To Be Boring: Improve Your Presentation Delivery Skills). So you do of course need to practice your pitch. Do it in front of a friend, a trusted colleague, a mirror, or who knows, even your pet! The point is to run through your pitch as though you were truly delivering it to its intended audience.
Stand tall on the pitching mound: You need to be physically focused as well as mentally focused. Cultivate stillness. Nervous energy can lead to nervous physical behavior, such as shifting in your seat. (Or if you’re standing, swaying from side to side). If you are challenged or interrupted during your pitch, take time to breathe before responding. Then, respond calmly as you return to your pitching plan.
Of course, there are other elements to making a killer pitch, from the specific content you include, to the style of language you use in your delivery. If you’d like to learn more about all of the elements that go into making a killer pitch, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why? Because I can help you make a killer pitch. I’ve done this successfully for my own business, The Language Lab, many times over the years, as the “testimonials” on my website show. Come to think of it, that’s the shortest elevator pitch I’ve ever made!
Have you encountered any problems making a business pitch? Share your story through the comments, below.