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The art of the Pitch

In my mind, no matter what you are doing - selling, , asking for money, asking a friend to do you a favour... in one form or another you're pitching your position to convince another person to do something.

Throughout my career I have seen people that do good pitches and people that do bad pitches. I've seen people that "hate" doing the pitch and I've seen the most natural presenters bring people along with them on their pitch.

The art of the pitch
The art of the pitch

If you're selling... you're pitching

Many people miss this simple fact that a sales call is technically a sales pitch.

You're going to go to a prospect and try and convince them to give you money in return for goods or services.

Often you will use materials such as videos, , brochures, VR headsets - or some form of visual aid to help to get your complex ideas in an easy to understand format.

Often that supporting material - if done right - creates a compelling talk track that will help, with visuals, to get your concepts deeper into the prospect's minds. I will do a full course on creating compelling marketing materials in the near future.

If you're raising money... you're pitching

I've asked people to part with anything from $500K to $600 million. And you know what - the process is the same. It requires a compelling pitch (which unlike sales where you deliver now) you are selling a possible future vision and return.

You're prospect is an "Investor"and your pitch is all about them understanding an idea (which is often new... so not clear) and helping them to understand how - if they give you some money today - they can get lots more money back in the future.

I cover the art of the Pitch for investors in this comprehensive Online course here

What makes a compelling pitch?

In my experience the most compelling pitches are the most compelling stories.

I have travelled with thousands of sales people - all across the world.

The one thing I've noticed is that the most compelling (and successful) sales people is that they do not just "show up and throw up" - and start telling every feature and benefit - and ramming the product down a client's throat.

Instead - they build rapport - and they share a genuine and real interest in the problem that the client has.

It starts with the problem. It starts with the problem. It starts with the problem.

That is equally true for the best start up ideas - they start with the problem. And the pitch deck for a startup - or any company asking for investors - or new employees - or to work with customers. It starts with understanding - deeply understanding the problem.

If you start from my problem - asking me about me and my problem - I'm going to listen to you.

If you start with you and what you can do for the world at large - I'm not going to listen to you. Because I'm human. And human's are the star of their own movie of life. Get it?

So when you start by digging into their problems - you hit a very basic human instinct. You start to hit the limbic system with "this person cares."

That is true for an investor pitch - "this person cares" - No! Not about he investors - but about the people you are solving the problem for. It builds empathy at a subconscious level.

And from empathy you get the mind to be open and accepting of new ideas. It's all deeply engrained in us as human beings.

Talk in story arcs

Once you understand the problem - and can articulate the problem - you must take the listener on an actual journey with you.

No one gives a flying F about the micro details of a switch in your product (well not until they are emotionally bought in.)

Instead you need to hit deeper into that emotional connection with the product or the idea you are trying to pitch.

If I just turn up and tell a child about grey fur, binocular vision, large enamel coated dentine points, quadruped movement, acute ability for acoustics, olfactory abilities.

They're going to struggle to understand what the hell I'm talking about - even if I show them a picture of a wolf. They will just get frustrated.

But... if I tell them the tale of Little Red Riding Hood - and embed the wolf into the story - oh boy will they listen. They'll understand why big eyes, big ears and a big nose are important and what the benefits are to the wolf. Oh they will fully understand.

Red Riding Hood has a start to the story - a set up - a problem - and a conclusion. The problem gets solved. And that story arc is why we listen from start to finish.

Same in a sales pitch - we need a start - a middle and end that resolves the problem. Who wouldn't want to spend a few bucks on a woodsman with an axe? Right?

Same in an Investor pitch - set up - problem - solution - how that will make money: And make it a compelling story of how the investor can buy into "Woodsman Wolf Exterminators inc."

Be a great story teller

I have died inside a hundred times watching bad pitches in both sales and to investors. Either rambling "Show up an throw up" tech sessions. Or utterly boring - monotone - flat - reading of a product brochure line by line.

I've seen the spectrum of it.

But the one commonality in the greatest pitchers - be they the best sales people - the best investor pitchers - the best marketeers. They are all amazingly great communicators - and story tellers. You can see the clients or investors lean in. They hang on every word. They feel involved in the story.

And as a great story teller - they make sure that everyone is following along - and buying into the story. They have the ability to adjust the details and ensure everyone is on the same page - engaged and waiting for the ending. They are verbal page turners -- "What's next????"

If you combine a great story - with a great way of telling the story - and that story is centred around solving a problem - then you will have wins way more often.

And the best pitchers I've seen, are those that just do this naturally. But all of these skills can be learned.

It doesn't matter if you are a seasoned sales professional - a person new to business - or an accomplished marketer - you can improve your results by working harder on the above.

If you wish to go deeper in the subject to raise money with investors - then my PITCH PERFECT course will take you from start to finish. Sign up now.

If you are a sales professional or marketeer - why not book some of my time as an advisor to help you go deeper. Book my time here.

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