In messaging the value of your product, your company, or your consultancy, you must speak directly to each targeted audience and its decision makers.
Now, your pitch and your value proposition will be different as you speak to various constituents: your strategic or channel partners need a different message than your investors; your board needs specific reports; your advisory council needs different requests.
In all cases, though, you must create a message that speaks to the decision maker who can say yes and follow through with a check, a signed agreement to partner or to become your client, or a strategic introduction.
Here are some guidelines for creating your various pitches:
- Start at the end: what do you want from this pitch?
- Start at the end again: what does your request gain the listener who must say yes?
- Focus on the win/win – -what your listener will win, if you win what you want.
- Narrow your focus to only one request: what do you really need? (capital? an introduction? access to a distribution channel? a new client for your consultancy?)
- Do not confuse the “sale” — do not bring into the conversation other issues that distract from your request. This discipline is more difficult than you may think. Stay focused.
- Use simple language, in straightforward sentences. Too much “clutter” at the beginning of your sentences will confuse you and the listener. Start with a subject, verb, and object (I’m not kidding — straight simple talk wins deals).
- Say what you want at or near the beginning of your pitch. Yes, at the beginning. Then repeat it at the end. In this way, your listener will know what you want, and will relax and let you build your case, rather than wondering or dreading or being confused at what you are leading up to. This simplifies the conversation and reduces tension.
- Use shorter sentences to build your case. Start by saying what you want. Then start another sentence (and another after that) which supports what you want.
- Make a direct request. Make the “ask.” I am often surprised at competent speakers who, at the end of their pitch (or at the beginning), can not ask simply and directly for what they want. If you stumble here, get some training.
These ideas seem simple. So does good selling and closing, when done well. But it is neither simple nor easy. If so,we would get what we want by just asking, and sales people wouldn’t need training.
As a CEO, or the head of your practice, you must be your best evangelist. Time to learn, or refine, that evangelism (and its pitching and closing) now.