Being an entrepreneur is fun and simultaneously challenging, but that is all part of the appeal.
One of the tasks you should always be prepared for is to talk about yourself and your product, no matter where you are.
The settings might change, but one thing remains the same – no matter if you’re talking with customers, partners, prospects, or investors, you need a laser-focused pitch. This highly beneficial skill is something you can learn, and this article will try to help you discover what you need to know to give a perfect pitch at the drop of a hat.
Know your audience
This is rule number one when it comes to presenting your product or idea in a short amount of time.
Do your homework and learn all there is to know about the person or the company you’re trying to pitch. You should always be one step ahead of your audience and anticipate their needs and questions.
Research your target beforehand. People want to hear how they can benefit from you, i.e., how your idea or product can help them do better or make more money. Therefore, have every pitch tailored for the person you are presenting it to.
Get to the point fast
People’s attention spans are getting shorter. If you don’t grab someone’s attention within the first few seconds of the conversation, it will be much harder for you to win them over later, if you even get a chance.
Fortunately, there are tools out there that can help you, such as Harvard Business School’s Elevator Pitch Builder, which can help you learn how to present your pitch in less than a minute.
Once you master this tool, the matter of presenting who you are and what is your business and your goals in a short amount of time should be a part of your second nature.
Sum up your idea is as few words as possible
This widespread idea says that all the great products and services can be summed up in just two words. For instance, Facebook would be “connect friends,” Dropbox would be “share files,” and so on.
The audience needs to hear a quick solution to a well-known problem. This is particularly true in the world of startups, where the main focus is on finding more effective solutions to already known issues.
Use the Message Map to tune your pitching skills even further
Once you have mastered making your idea compact enough that it can be communicated in a single minute, it’s time to take the whole thing to the next level. What would you do if you had only 15 seconds to pitch your concept?
There is a tool that can help you with this one, as well. It’s called Message Map, and it aims to help you learn how to condense your message in a neat bundle that can be presented in under fifteen seconds.
The process involves creating a Twitter-friendly headline, followed by three key benefits to support the headline. It ends with a reinforcement of the three advantages through stories, statistics, and examples.
Explain what makes you better than the competition
Remember the statement made earlier in this article stating that investors and business partners search for new solutions to old problems?
Show them how what you are pitching is better than what your competitors are offering—or at least, how it is different. Try to anticipate some other answers to your proposal’s problem and explain how your idea is better than those alternatives.
Know what you are offering, and the values your offerings bring
By now, you must have realized that creating a perfect pitch is very similar to a competitive sport. Moreover, all of this vocabulary can be eerily similar to a situation where someone is getting ready for the Olympics.
It’s all about getting to the goal in the shortest amount of time possible and about finely tuning your skills even when you think you are already good enough if you want to stay at the top.
One skill that can help you learn how to make a better pitch, and help you in life, in general, is getting better at making decisions. When it comes to this line of work, it will help you learn how to recognize the critical aspect of your pitch and important talking points, which will help you trim off a few extra seconds from your ideal pitch.
The five-second pitch
You must have known by now that this moment is coming.
In an essay titled How to pitch an idea, Scott Berkun recommends creating three depth levels in preparing your pitch: 5 seconds, 30 seconds, and 5 minutes. Use the five seconds version to give a concise, single sentence explanation of your idea. In the 30-second version, you explain how you plan to achieve your argument by providing just enough exciting detail to get the audience hooked.
Once you have their attention, you move on to the five-minute version that explains the proposal in finer details. Just as it has been stated several times before in this article, brevity is the key to grabbing your audience’s attention.
Learn when to stop
While the better part of this text has been focused on teaching you how to present your idea, knowing when to stop can be equally important.
Learn to read the signs that tell you your idea has hit home. The more you continue to talk beyond that point, the more you’re likely to say something that can make the other party change their mind.
Presenting a concept or an idea in the shortest time possible is a fine skill that can be tuned and improved upon. To make a perfect pitch, you must know your audience, how to approach them, and the issue that your idea is solving while being able to grab their attention in less than fifteen seconds. It is a demanding skill, but one that will become more and more valuable in the modern, fast-paced world.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.