Pitching in business refers to presenting business ideas to another party. For example, you may pitch your startup business to potential investors or your products to potential customers. A business pitch needs to give your audience a clear understanding of your plan or goals to gain buy-in.
Types of Business Pitching:
Pitching to Investors or Customers
Professionals commonly use business pitching to gain investors in a new or growing business or sell a business's products or services to customers. Here are a few different types of pitches used in these situations:
A sales pitch is a brief message that attracts your audience's attention and outlines your business plan or the products and services you offer. The goal is to make the audience invest in your business or purchase your products or services. "Elevator pitch" is another term for sales pitch because it should last as long as an elevator ride.
A pitch deck is a slide presentation that outlines your business plan to potential investors. This presentation should include research related to your product, competition, marketing plans and company finances. You need to provide a complete view of your company as it currently exists and the potential value it holds for investors to persuade their decision.
When speaking to customers, you can start your pitch with a series of questions. Your questions focus on the problems they face and how you can solve them. For example, you may ask them to name their most significant challenges. These questions aim to draw their curiosity and make them want to learn more about your offerings.
Pitching when Networking
When networking, you can also use an elevator pitch to sell yourself to a potential employer or connection. In 30 to 60 seconds, this pitch provides an overview of the unique qualifications, skills or accomplishments that make you valuable. You want to make a memorable impression that could lead to new opportunities. After your pitch, try to offer a business card to provide a tangible reminder of who you are.
How to Develop and Deliver an Effective Pitch
You can use the following steps during the business pitching process:
1. Conduct and Gather Research
If you are going to make claims during your pitch, you need to provide accurate data or research to support those claims. This information can help demonstrate your credibility and obtain your audience's trust. Research can also help you prepare to answer potential questions or concerns your audience may have.
For example, when pitching a product to a client, you will want to provide information about its features, benefits and how it compares to similar products in the market. You may also want to provide sales data or customer testimonials to demonstrate its performance thus far.
2. Understand your Audience
In addition to business-related research, you also need to research your audience. Try to learn the individuals' backgrounds and interests to understand what motivates them. These insights can help you tailor your pitch and appeal directly to them. This approach makes your pitch more personal to them, which can serve as an effective motivation method. It helps them understand what they specifically can gain from your idea.
For example, try to learn about potential investors' other business investments. If they show an interest in tech startups, you can focus on technological advancement or innovation within your business.
3. Build a Pitch
Now that you have data or information to support your claims and understand what your audience wants, you can start building your pitch. As mentioned, there are several types of business pitches you can use. Assess your situation to determine the most appropriate option. If you are presenting a business plan to potential investors, you may need to start creating a pitch deck that provides a comprehensive view of your concept. But if you are looking to make connections at a networking event, you only need to develop and practice your elevator pitch.
4. Keep it Focused
When presenting your pitch, get straight to your main message. Explain what your product, idea or business is, then demonstrate why it benefits your audience. The audience needs to understand and follow the purpose of your message to stay engaged. For this reason, it can help to start with an elevator pitch to provide a brief, easy-to-understand summary that attracts attention.
Focus your pitch by only offering the most essential and relevant information to your audience. This information varies based on the type of pitch you are making. For example, when pitching a business to investors, you may need to include details such as the amount of capital you need and the specific business activities it will go toward.
5. Share Successes
Sharing evidence of your success can also demonstrate the value of your business or idea. For example, revenue or sales can show the market interest. Investors can see that your business can sustain itself and potentially grow, so they may get a better return on their investment. You can also share your successes in elevator pitches. Demonstrating the positive results you created for employers can show potential employers the value you can bring to their companies. You can also use successes at your current job to prove why your manager should approve your project idea or give you a raise.
6. Answer Questions
At the end of your pitch, you can give the audience time to ask any questions or voice any remaining concerns. Respond to difficult questions in a calm, confident manner to demonstrate professionalism and make a positive impression. If you do not know the answer, be honest.
You can say something like, "That is a great question. I do not currently have information about that. Let me do some research after this, and I can email you within the next two days." Your audience will appreciate your honesty and willingness to provide them accurate information.
7. Follow your Audience's Cues
At the end of your presentation, use the audience's verbal or physical cues to assess what next steps you need to take. Depending on your situation, they may make an offer, express acceptance or want to negotiate. Prepare yourself for any potential outcomes to feel more confident when you reach this point.
For example, if customers appear enthusiastic about your product, you can start discussing setting up a contract or making an order. If they still seem unsure, you can offer them time to think. You may provide a specific date to follow-up with them for their final decision.
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