For a lot of people, the idea of public speaking sends a cold chill down their spine. Standing in front of an audience, all alone with nothing but your ideas and whatever materials you have to hand… well, let’s just say it’s not for everyone. But when you’re self-employed, pitching to clients is something you’ll want to master.
Making the perfect pitch isn’t as hard as you might think, either, and as long as you’re prepared, anyone can pull it off. So whether you’re pitching to Alan Sugar or Dave the greengrocer, let’s run down the seven golden rules for making the perfect business pitch.
1. Go for the right business
Don’t just pitch for any work. Remember to focus your efforts on the people who might actually be interested in taking you up on the offer. This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people seem to believe the scatter-gun approach is the smart move. Spoiler: it’s not.
2. Do your homework
This one should be a no-brainer, really. The better you understand your business, your prospective client, and how you can work together, the more likely you’ll get a yes.
3. Think in headlines
Get your best and most important information into simple headlines – they’ll grab your client’s attention, and then you can add the detail. Headlines are more likely to stick in their minds when the pitch is over than the heavier detail, too.
4. Be concise and credible
“Less is more” isn’t just a slogan. When it comes to pitches, keep it concise, punchy, and memorable.
5. Practise makes perfect
The more you rehearse your pitch, the less likely you are to stumble, forget, or feel self-conscious when you’re talking to a prospective client. Think about your presentation, your clothes, your demeanour. Be well-prepared, speak with certainty and conviction, and the message will land all the firmer.
6. Focus on them
Remember to use “you” and “your” rather than “me” and “we”. It’s about them, and it’s collaborative – your first duty in a business pitch is to show your client that they are the ones who are going to benefit, so keep it focused.
7. Demonstrate teamwork
You might be making the pitch, but you’re not the only one doing the heavy lifting. Give your talented team the recognition they deserve and highlight the importance of teamwork, collaboration, and a common goal. Even if this is a virtual team, make sure they know the score and that everyone’s on the same page.
If you’d like more information on how to win, woo, and develop relationships with new clients, check out our ultimate business tips for the self-employed article.