"How can I improve my pitch?"
3 people have asked me for advice on their pitches in the last week. I'll offer the most mind-numbingly simple piece of advice.
DBD: Don't be desperate.
Desperation feels "pushy car salesman" gross. You don't want to be that. Not sexy. Scares people away instead of attracting them.
You want it. That's fine. But don't want it too badly.
"But what if I FEEL desperate for the next sale, client, opportunity, resource, job, etc?"
People can smell confidence. And guess what? It smells like... OPTIONS.
Options are made not found.
Make options. There is no scarcity of opportunities, jobs, clients, etc. You must be resourceful. Resourcefulness, as Tony Robbins says, is the ultimate resource. There are 1005 ways to do any 1 thing. If you're attached to one particular way you will try TOO hard, give up TOO much.
A Couple More Simple Tips:
I'd advise a philosophy of "This project's happening. I'd love to work with you but it's not necessary. Do you want in before we get huge?" Money is everywhere but YOU have a monopoly on your unique solution.
Avoid packing peanuts language that like "logistics" and "management". Your solution is more colourful and exciting than these abstractions. Help the listener imagine using IMAGE words (opt for concrete over abstract nouns).
He who best describes the problem is trusted to solve it. Do empathy research. Figure out the EXACT flavour and texture of your audience's challenge. Ask a ton of questions. Then articulate it right back to them, using their language. They must first feel understood in order to trust you to help them.
Really twist the knife and make them feel that it's a painful problem before offering your solution. This is basic human psychology. People are motivated by TWO things: Moving towards pleasure and moving away from pain.
Paint a picture of the pain that your solution solves. [Example: "You struggle to breathe when you walk your kids uphill to school. They say 'Daddy, why won't you play with me?'" and you have to sit down on a park bench to rest.] Now create a dramatic constrast against the pleasure they will gain once they've implemented your solution. ["You are so relieved that you can finally say "Yes" to your kids. They will be so happy to have their dad back. In no time, you'll be hiking and playing soccer with them in the backyard. Playing basketball with your son. Imagine how good it will feel to break free of your body's limitations."] The more detailed and specific, the better.
Where possible, show don't tell. Pick one central analogy or image. Say "Let me tell you a story" or "Close your eyes for a sec and imagine XYZ..."
Emotional appeals are often very persuasive. Just don't overdo it. It's like freshly ground pepper. Less is more. Remember: If you can't get people to FEEL, you can't get people to MOVE.
Distinguishing your solution from what has been done and tried before is powerful. Answering "We're different because ___________" is powerful. I was recently listening to an interesting webinar. During question period, I asked "How are you different than your competition?" His answer helped me decide that I wanted to buy. Prospects must understand FAST why you're different and better. Help them justify the sale to THEMSELVES.
Finally, maintain a feeling of "I want you but I don't need you." You can and must still remain respectful. But you will audition them just as they will audition you. Power goes both ways.
Your pitch is everything. It's where you turn interest into dollars. And strangers into clients. And contacts into collaborators. So you wanna get it right.
Remember: Confidence is authority. Authority is trust. Trust is opportunity.
You can do it!