Tips for a successful business pitch, according to the Forbes Coaches Council
Presenting a business pitch as the business founder or owner is fairly standard practice, however, methods of execution could either make or break your business or its growth. To present effectively, a pitch needs to be finely tuned and directly aimed at your audience.
A business pitch is a short presentation that should be able to explain your business in less than ten minutes, a verbal representation of your ideas. Why is it important? No product or service can be sold effectively to customers unless it is marketed effectively.
Marketing effectively and efficiently means convincing an audience to believe in your product as passionately as you do. Especially in a highly hyper-competitive market, being able to communicate and summarise your efforts clearly and in detail is an important skill to have.
“If you want to be an entrepreneur, and you’re not yet ready to go after your concept, do something in sales because whether you’re pitching a venture capitalist, pitching a cofounder, pitching someone to join your team, or pitching a landlord to give you space for cheap, it’s really important to have that sales skill”, says Jennifer Fleiss, co-founder of Rent the Runway and Walmart’s Jetblack service.
Entrepreneurs who show clear signs of preparedness and a strong handle on their material create credibility with investors and receive more funding, regardless of the project.
Study your audience
CEO of talent acquisition firm, ryan partners, Dan Ryan shares, “I have found that doing my homework to know who my audience is and what they have done makes everything work better for me. By doing this research, I am better able to understand the context of their needs while also finding ways to better connect.”
Have a clear ‘headline’
Christine Grimm, executive coach at Aria Consulting International shares that when pitching an idea to senior leaders, investors, or a board, a clear headline is crucial for your pitch to have a significant business impact.
“Show them you have done your homework, really understand the data and financials, and have played out the scenarios and key decisions. This will give them confidence that an investment in you and your idea is a ‘sure thing’”, she says.
Care about what your audience cares about
“Stay connected with what senior executive leaders and investors care most about”, advises Angela Cusack, CEO of Igniting Success. She mentions it is important to demonstrate that you care about their concerns, generating a strong emotional connection, allowing experience and expertise to shine through.
“From here, you can evolve the conversation together, inviting new possibilities for how you might support the development and ongoing growth of leaders and the organization”, she says.
Get to the point within a minute
“Get to the point as quickly you can, within the first 30 to 60 seconds, when pitching to senior leaders or investors. By giving them a hook with an excellent executive presence, you will get their full attention and interest. After that, expect lots of questions, disruptions, and buzzing conversations. Be ready for an avalanche; just don’t allow yourself to get buried”, shares Izabela Lundberg, founder, and CEO of the Legacy Leaders Institute.
Start with a question or two
Follow up by briefly sharing your past experiences in providing solutions to individuals, with examples of their pain points. “When you ask the right questions and get individuals to see their visions coming into reality, they’ll see the value”, she shares.
Make everything quantifiable
“This is the main thing they need to see and the main information you have to come equipped with. Once your information is quantified, ensure that your delivery is smooth by talking in specifics and metrics to gain your desired effect” shares Jon Dwoskin, business coach and executive advisor at The Jon Dwoskin Experience.
Highlight your collaborative efforts
She shares that this can also be done through LinkedIn articles, white papers, and case studies.
Address weak points upfront
“Anticipate difficult questions and weak points in your offering and address them up front, before the potential stakeholders do. Then, let them know that you have plans in place to mitigate those concerns. If you get there first and speak to what they’re already thinking, you can maintain control of the pitch”, shares Dhru Beeharilal, principal and identity coach at Nayan Leadership, LCC.
Leverage your voice
Ruben Crawford, executive performance coach at Empowertale Ltd, suggests that presenters should come in “playful with an upward-directed, inquisitive tonality”. Crawford also shares that sincere interest and ensuring the other side “feels heard like never before” is key.
“Once you’ve caught their attention, move toward a downward-directed voice. State your plans as if they are unshakable facts”, he shares.