Making your first pitch – some practical dos and don’ts
For some people, presenting or pitching or selling is second nature. For others, these tasks represent all their worst nightmares rolled into one. And then comes that almost inevitable set of questions: What discount should I offer? How should I respond if they demand a discount?
It is panic time! Fortunately, there are practical guidelines to follow in order to ease the pain and halt the rush of blood.
Let us start with your ‘core value proposition’. Whoever you are pitching to, your base should not change. You should know what it is, why it is so unbeatable, and how you are going to describe it with immense natural passion. Once clearly on the table, the other side will find it very difficult to ask for a price reduction.
Want an example? Some years ago, my wife and I were looking to move house. We came up against yet another agent. In five seconds, he had described the size, layout and price, and he also knew from our body language that he had hooked us. Straight to the paperwork!
Second, keep some perspective and thus put your adrenalin in the correct place. Your prospective could be an individual or a team. More often than not, they are just as anxious as you are. They are looking to you for help of some kind. Ironically, that puts you in the driving seat, and not the other way around.
To explain that in another way, it is you that should set the tone. When I am acting as a business coach and mentor to larger organisations, I often find that they require meetings to clarify issues and progress. I very early on in the proceedings will look for a way to set the agenda, and frequently find that participants are relieved by that leadership.
Finally, find time in your life for a 7 letter word: p r a c t i c e. Too many people approach me within 24 hours of their big event to ask for help. And I know that even if I fix up the approach, that usually does not leave them enough time to internalize the changes and learn how to express them. That is so disappointing for all concerned.
All of these action items are doable. Much will depend on you. Are you prepared to let your strengths have priority over your fears, which are sometimes also known as those ‘what if’ statements? Worth considering before your next pitch, no?