On the AMC series The Pitch (watched by advertising nerds like me), the pitching team strides into the conference room with a steely confidence that’s equal parts John Wayne and Kanye West. They are super prepared, they’ve done their research, and they have shiny boards prepared by the design team.
Most of the time, you will not have any of these items when you get the chance to pitch. When you’re starting your own business, you need to take advantage of inexpensive tools that will help you “spread your ideas,” in the words of Nancy Duarte.
Pitch with Purpose and Structure
#1 Nancy DuarteÂs TEDxEast talk about structure
This little 16 minute video will change the way you think, every time you talk. Although on the surface, it seems to be about making speeches, it’s really about storytelling. A pitch is a story.
You can’t tell a story without another person listening. There’s no pitch without a “pitchee.” And John Jantsch is someone who truly understands that successful marketing and sales is all about relationships. Read this excellent book, and arm yourself with the power of becoming a perceptive listener. Sounds counterintuitive, but it’s not. A crucial aspect of the successful pitch is the ability to listen first.
Pitch from Anywhere
Join.me has a free and premium service that allows you to easily share your screen (with audio) with anyone, anywhere. Share your personal URL or a special code, and the other person simply has to click the link. Audio can be done via Internet or via a call-in number (and they do have International numbers available). It’s well worth paying for the premium service, as you can then record sessions, make notes directly on the screen, and change presenters on the fly.
Have you ever been in the middle of a pitch or presentation when your IM pops up with a random message from your colleague? Or you need to browse past your Grumpy Cat photo collection to get to that image you need to pull in, in front of your prospect? Pinstripe is the elegant little solution to this problem. After you install it, you can present a clean, controlled desktop behind your deck or screenshare. You can even put up a logo/branded image instead of the clutter you usually have on your desktop. Pinstriped is in free beta right now.
Know Who You’re Pitching To
I’ve spent a lot of time researching CRM platforms, and Nimble has consistently impressed me. Its “secret sauce” is the 360 degree view of each contact’s social streams, pulled into one interface. If you’re about to meet with someone, you can easily pull up their profile and see what they’ve published recently. If you integrate your email account, you can also have a consolidated viewpoint of all past communications with that person. There is a free personal option, as well as premium business accounts, well worth the investment.
Pitching is an art form that requires practice and discipline. Surround yourself with tools and resources that will help you become a pro and close the deal.
What’s your favorite resource for pitching clients?