In corporate offices all over the world public relations departments are pitching new ideas that resonate with key audiences.These ideas are constantly emerging in the marketplace, making it a continual challenge to getting your idea to the forefront.
It takes a skilled communicator to grab the attention of your listener. You need to know your audience and speak their language to get your message across. You have to understand the motivation of your listener. Be very specific about the details of your idea, for example, explaining specifically how much money it could potentially produce or save them.
Neil Racham, author of the bestseller Spin Selling says buyers ask themselves:
“Is this person competent, based upon past performance? And Is this person speaking with candor or handing me some BS?”
Decision makers are going to filter a pitch from their own perspective. So keep who the audience is at the top of your focus. Explaining your idea from a practical business standpoint will allow the investor to see your idea from their own perspective.
Beyond your business plan, it is important to adapt your story to whoever the listener is. Be able to talk technology with someone in IT; or if you’re talking to an accountant, focus on ROI.
According to Edward R. Weiss, who is general counsel at Group One Software and oversaw the acquisition of 15 firms:
“Investment decisions usually involve teams of people, each with different expertise.”
Skilled communicators take nothing for granted. They don’t just wing it, they know how they’re going to grab the attention of their listener and they know the key messages that they’re going to get across.
In order for a pitch to be effective it needs to be clear, concise, specific and emotional. You want to be able to explain your idea in just a few sentences and avoid using jargon.
Buying is always an emotional act, especially when it’s an idea being sold. People get excited when an idea makes intuitive sense, and it is those feelings that ultimately culminate into actions.
After you know the words that you’re going to use and you know the key messages you’re going to hit, it’s all a matter of applying that pitch to the real world.
When you are pitching an idea you are really pitching yourself. You are the brand. How you talk, walk and look will all reflect upon that brand. How you are coming across is all very important.
Seth Godin, author of Permission Marketing says:
“When you’re trying to sell somebody a new idea, you must persuade them that the idea confirms their own opinions, rather than proves them wrong.”
After you have pitched the upside of your idea, make sure your listeners know that you have considered the potential risks and that you have taken steps to minimize them. Acknowledge potential problems but offer solutions. You have to be ready for objections, like “your idea has not worked in the past.” Be ready to tell your listener why your idea is new and why it’s different, or how the environment has changed and now is the time to implement your idea.
Follow up your pitch to keep the momentum going. Ask questions to keep your listener engaged and involved in the conversation. Set a plan of action and get involved.
You have rehearsed, you know your story, you know your audience, you’re speaking their language, the pitch itself is clear, concise and concrete. Now the pitch has a good chance at working because you will tell a compelling story around a sound business idea.