A sales pitch refers to a condensed sales presentation during which you explain the products or services offered by your business and how they can benefit the other party. While many sales representatives create pitches for specific meetings, you can never anticipate when the opportunity will arise to pitch an idea to a potential investor or sales client. Someone you casually chat with while waiting in line at your local café or working out at the gym may be exactly the person you are looking for to invest in your idea or purchase the finished product. Because opportunities can present themselves at any time, it is vital that you are prepared to effectively pitch your idea in any situation, with or without reference materials.
What Makes a Good Pitch?
A good sales pitch is focused, clear, and concise. You must carefully structure the pitch around a compelling narrative that explains your offering while balancing the practical and emotional needs of the other party. A good pitch emphasizes a challenge they face and illustrates the value your idea can provide by helping them overcome this challenge. It should be long enough to outline your business model and the benefits of your idea, but short enough to retain momentum without falling flat and losing their attention. After hearing your pitch, the other party should feel fully informed and encouraged to seek further interactions to learn more about your offering.
How to Make a Pitch in 10 Steps
Although there is no one-size-fits-all template you can use for every pitch, there are certain components that successful pitches have in common. Follow the steps below to learn how to make a pitch that most effectively captures the interest of the other party and prompts them to continue down the conversion funnel.
1. Design a pitch that is flexible enough that you can customize it for different parties.
You should be able to tailor your pitch to a specific person based on their level of understanding in your field and interest in your proposal. However, you must also retain a solid foundation of data and experience that will convert them. Etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore compares giving a pitch to playing a song in that you must memorize the melody as the core foundation but remain open to improvisation based on the circumstances. This allows your pitch to come across as authentic and personalized to the individual, rather than a rehearsed set of lines you apply to every situation.
2. Understand the other party’s needs, interests, motivations, priorities, and challenges.
To modify your pitch to the other party, you must ask thoughtful, open-ended questions to gain insight into their needs, interests, and priorities, as well as what is motivating them to consider your offering. The information you gain is essential to directing the flow of your pitch and keeping them emotionally engaged in your presentation. Because they are interested in your product for what it offers them, you must also consider the challenges they face. Effectively expressing the value of your product requires you to identify these challenges, understand them, and convince the other party that your product is uniquely qualified to overcome them. You must empathize with them to demonstrate your trustworthiness, then provide factual evidence to support your claims.
3. Create a visually appealing, informative, and compelling pitch deck.
The essence of any successful pitch is a pitch deck, a presentation that is designed to share valuable information with potential investors and clients. A pitch deck should cover your business plan, the details of your product, and how it can benefit the specific person you are communicating with. Slidebean is a popular tool for entrepreneurs and business owners because it offers templates you can easily and quickly customize to make your presentation attractive and on-brand. When presenting during a virtual meeting, Slidebean allows you to track the activity of participants to discover areas of high engagement and areas that lose their attention so you can make improvements for the future.
4. Start with an exciting introduction.
The first two slides in your pitch deck should consist of an exciting introduction that immediately grabs the attention of the other party. You can use a personal anecdote related to the product, a question that prompts them to think about their needs, or a statistic that offers stakes by showing why it is important that they meet these needs to achieve success. The second slide should feature your hero image, which is the first image viewers see when looking at your webpage or company media. The hero image should be custom designed to represent your brand in a creative way and drive engagement. It should also include an elevator pitch, a condensed, one-sentence blurb explaining what your company does.
5. Explain the details of the business opportunity.
After introducing your company, your pitch deck will explain the details of the business opportunity you are offering by using three main components:
- Problem – Use the information you gathered earlier regarding the individual’s needs and challenges to present the problem they face in a few clear bullet points.
- Solution – Establish a value proposition for how your product can solve this problem by listing three key benefits it provides.
- Market – Address the need for your product in the current market and the percentage of the market you are hoping to influence.
The goal of this section is to communicate to the other party that you are aware of their needs, you have a solution to meet these needs, and you have identified a lucrative, engaged market of potential clients who would be interested in your products. This is your time to explain who these customers are, explain the challenges they face in their daily lives, and establish how your product can make their lives better by helping them overcome these challenges.
6. Briefly outline your business model.
This section can be the most exciting part of your pitch deck or the most monotonous, depending on how you present the information. Explain your business model in clear, easily understood terms with as few words as possible. Then, describe what success would look like for consumers who use your product. Provide proof points, or evidence that supports the truth of your claim, such as an updated mockup or rendering of your final product so they can see how it works for themselves. Include statistics from reputable sources as well as any industry achievements or awards you have received. Present reviews and testimonials from current, satisfied clients to engage your prospect emotionally with tangible, real-life examples of your product’s success.
7. Describe how your products can beat the competition.
Now you have reached the pivotal moment in your pitch deck – why should the other party choose your company rather than the competition? You should begin by acknowledging your competition to let the other party know you are up to date on the market and understand the needs of your target audience. Then, transition into discussing the types of technologies, innovations, and intellectual property that are unique to your company and will allow you to outclass the competition. Finally, outline your long-term plans for acquiring customers and describe the strategies you plan to use to engage them and successfully influence their decision-making.
8. Introduce your team.
Before making your offer, you should make a final appeal to the other party’s emotional needs by humanizing your company and showing that your team is the best suited to deliver the optimal results for them. Briefly introduce your team members, discuss the skills they bring to the table, and explain how their skills complement one another to create a strong team. You can also include images of your team, such as a group photo or candid shots taken of them working together on product design and development.
9. Ask for what you want.
This is the part of your presentation where you ask the other party to enter a business relationship with you. Although your intentions should be clear at this point, you cannot expect the prospect to simply make an offer. Instead, it is your responsibility to make your company and your product as appealing as possible, then ask for what you want in a persuasive way. Know whether you are seeking an investment or a partnership and how this relationship would work so you can clearly explain it to them.
10. Anticipate potential concerns and prepare responses.
After completing your ask, you will face comments and questions from the other party. To instill confidence in your abilities, you can anticipate these questions beforehand by viewing your pitch deck from an outsider’s perspective and imagining what they would want to know about your idea before deciding to accept. Either include this information throughout your presentation or introduce a Q&A section after your final slide. Remember that concerns are not negative, but positive, because they show you have succeeded in making your audience think critically about your offering. Resolving these concerns brings you one step closer to them accepting your pitch.
Tips for Making Virtual Pitches
Making virtual pitches involves its own set of unique challenges, but with the right strategy, you can use remote presentations to your advantage. Making an effective virtual pitch involves the following four primary components:
Engage Your Audience
Offer the minimum amount of information in the most easily digestible format that informs your audience and keeps them interested in your topic without becoming overwhelming or boring. Structure your pitch like a story, in which a character (the other party) experiences a problem and then meets a guide (your company) who offers a valuable plan that prompts them to act, helps them avoid failure, and allows them to achieve success. After making your pitch, send a review email to remind the participants of your message and ensure it remains in the forefront of their minds.
Design Your Pitch Around Specific Goals
Design is not only important for making your information easy to read and understand but is fundamental to engaging your audience and influencing them to convert. Make sure each one of your key points has its own slide and contains enough data to convey adequate information. Yet, each slide must present information in simple terms so the other party can follow along while you explain your idea. You can include images, infographics, or other visual aids, but do so sparingly so as not to distract from your presentation.
Use the Right Technical Set-Up
To make a virtual pitch, you need a solid internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone. Do not make a pitch on your cell phone! Find a quiet location to set up your equipment and gather the tools you need to remain in that spot throughout the duration of the meeting without distractions. Present your pitch in a well-lit room and sit in front of a plain, light-colored wall rather than a window to ensure you are the focal point of the screen. Place the brightest light source behind your camera and adjust your camera slightly above eye-level.
Pay Attention to Physicality
Physicality refers to how you deliver a pitch and involves voice, posture, and facial expression. While you would typically stand during an in-person presentation, you should sit at your desk for a virtual pitch and keep an upright, confident posture approximately two feet from your webcam. Look directly into the camera, not at the screen, speak clearly, and know where to pause or change pitch to add emphasis. Presenting virtually means you will not be able to pick up on the micro-expressions and tonal shifts that occur during an in-person conversation, so be sensitive to the other party’s reactions and prepare to navigate awkward silences without stumbling.
Prepare Your Team for Virtual Negotiations
If you are interested in teaching your team how to make a pitch that has the best chances of converting potential investors and clients, contact Shapiro Negotiations Institute today. We offer a fully inclusive, hands-on negotiation training program based on science and experience and customized to the specific needs and objectives of your business. Our team of expert instructors provide in-depth guidance and guided practice to prepare your team for success in every stage of a virtual negotiation, from pitching an idea to closing the deal. With our help, your sales representatives will be able to take advantage of any opportunity that arises and secure the best outcome for your business.