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Tag Archive Pitch

It’s Not About You

I was working with a client to help him develop a client presentation.  His pitch was “we do this”, “our services provide”, etc.  What was missing was what’s in it for the client.  What are their needs and how was he going to meet them.  So, I asked him how this pitch had worked so far, and he admitted not so great.

Then I asked him, “You’ve been on the buying side, what were your needs?”

“I wanted a reliable provider who would deliver a consistent product on time at the price quoted.  No last-minute changes, delays or excuses.  And if there was a problem, would answer my calls and make it right.”

He quickly realized that his pitch wouldn’t have sold him either.  It was time to change his approach.

It's Not About You

Too often our pitches are simply about what we offer.  Whereas, it is about understanding the client’s needs and conveying how you can help.  Simply pitching a service without first identifying a need is like a putting a “Square peg in a round hole.” Yeah, you might be able to make it fit, but you have to force it.  That’s not how you win new customers.

Instead, ask a few questions –

“What’s your biggest challenge?”

“What’s working and what’s not?”

“How can I help you?”

Once you understand what the client needs, then you offer a solution.  It doesn’t feel like a pitch anymore, now you are helping them out.  And your prospect will see you as a partner, not a salesperson.

Honestly, no one wants to hear you talk about yourself or your company. Your clients are focused on themselves, their needs, and finding someone to offer the best solution. Your job is to figure out how to meet their needs.

Thoughtful, provocative, and probing questioning demonstrates that you are looking to address the client’s needs, not just simply pitch a service to make a sale.

Remember, it’s not about you.

 

It’s Not About You

Revolutionizing the Elevator Pitch

Recently, we sat down with Micheal Platania of Powerfully Committed to talk about Elevator Pitches.  We met Michael a few years back at Toastmasters in San Francisco.

Can you offer a brief Elevator Pitch to the new service?

Do you know that uncomfortable feeling when you are giving your Elevator Pitch and you instinctively know that the person is not interested? As the Elevator Pitch doctor, I can make sure that never happens again.

Revolutionizing the Elevator Pitch

So define an elevator pitch for us.

An elevator pitch is simply an opening to a conversation. The goal of an elevator pitch is for the client to say “Tell me more.”

Who needs them?

Everyone who is looking for new business and new clients, and even those looking to expand their business with existing clients (though the exact focus of the pitch would change in those circumstances).

I often tell people the Elevator Pitch is getting the client to go on a Business Blind Date.

Why do we struggle with them?

Because most people don’t understand how to engage on a personal (and emotional) level. In business, we are taught the tips and tricks of elevator pitches – how to put your lifetime of experience into a 30-second resume or one-minute bio, how to explain your accomplishments and successes but this is never what the person you are talking to wants to hear.

I attended an Elevator Pitch workshop last week, and one of the tricks this guy gave was to “speak loud.” Is being loud really what is going to make someone want to know more?

and how do you help?

We revolutionize the elevator pitch by approaching it from a completely different paradigm. Madison Avenue knows that the way to sell a product is to connect with people on an emotional level, and billions are spent to do this through advertising. We approach the elevator pitch the same way – from an emotional level.

It’s scary for a lot of people because talking about emotion is business is not something most people are familiar with. So our clients have to come into this with a certain amount of openness and self-confidence.

What should we avoid in our elevator pitches?

Number one rule – talk less, a lot less. Remember that the point of a pitch is to engage and have a dialogue and if you are doing all the talking there is no room in the conversation for the other person.

Number two rule – it’s not about you and what you have done with your life and your career. My eyes start to glaze over when I hear about sales numbers and quotas and targets. Nobody cares.

In fact, people don’t care what you know, they want to know how much you care.

Does all this take practice?

Yes, it does. I practice walking down the street. I walk past a dry cleaner or pizza place and imagine I am the owner and practice a pitch for them. The is one of the things I was taught by my mentor, Cynthia Malaran who developed the Malaran Method™ for elevator pitches during her time as an advertising professional. Once our clients go through and understand the process they can practice it and tailor it to any situation.

Any parting thoughts?

What is unique and different about this process is that we are less focused on the résumé and more concerned about connecting with your passion and tying that passion to the client’s need, because once we connect your passion to their need, the client is left with one thought on their mind…”Tell Me More!”

And if our readers want to learn more?

The can contact me directly at mplatania@mail.com or through my website powerfullycommitted.com. I am available to work with people in person, via phone or Skype. People who have gone through this process say it not only changes their elevator pitch but changes how they feel about their business and themselves.

Revolutionizing the Elevator Pitch

You’ve gotta send the CEO

Recently, I was sitting on a panel that was tasked with deciding the recipient of 1 million euro grant to grow their businesses. I was one of five and we all came from an investor business backgrounds. We were provided the respective business plans in advance and each came to the table with our respective questions and concerns. Each company was provided 10 minutes to present the projects followed by a 20 minute Q&A.

One of the companies was represented by the founder/CEO, while the other chose to send the lead project manager of the research team. Neither presentation did. Much to move the needle and offered little beyond the business plan already submitted. Both presentations focused heavily on their respective technologies and were light on the business details of execution.

It was up to us to glean these details through the Q&A.

The CEO was forthright and acknowledged the weaknesses of his financial projections (his plan offered a 10-year projection with a hockey stick recently revenue curve). When pressed, he was confident in the first 24 months but beyond that was anyone’s guess. One of the other evaluators commented, “at least he’s honest….” He did demonstrate a command of the economics of his go to market strategy and provided a convincing argument for his approach. Further, when asked about why he was doing this, he offered a passionate reply that made me want to write him a check myself (OK, I wasn’t really going to write a check for a million euros, but you get my point). Needless to say, he got my vote, as well as, the vote of my fellow evaluators.

The second presentation did not go so well. To be honest, when a company CEO fails to present, the evaluators are already put off.  We were told he was very busy – yeah me too, but I made time to be here. At this point, even the best presentation would be facing an uphill battle to win us over.

As the discussion shifted from technology to execution, the presenter was challenged to justify the business strategy and the underlying financial assumptions.  Clearly, this was beyond her scope as a researcher. She offered that the financial details were produced by another department. The takeaway for the evaluators was that the company had sent the wrong person.

I do not know if in reality that the CEO would have done a better job, maybe it was just a flawed plan. But I do know in the first case, we were able to discuss with the principal our concerns proving him an opportunity to address and assuage them. In the second scenario, the presenter simply raised more concerns than she resolved.

Ultimately, we want to get it directly from the horse’s – and that means the CEO needs to be there. I get that you’re busy and it may not always be feasible to be at every meeting.  But I can tell then your absence is the elephant in the room and will be a challenge to overcome with a PowerPoint, regardless of how good it is.

You’ve gotta send the CEO

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