Business Development Series Posted by David McDermott

10 Tips To Win a Pitch

Following on from where David left off with his article on 10 points that may lose you a pitch we thought we’d stay positive, and share 10 top tips for improving your pitching.

1. “Hook” your audience

Make your audience want to listen by giving a strong hook at the beginning. Active listening is hard work and without this motivation to listen your audience will switch on and off randomly. Some examples include an opportunity e.g. to make money or grow their business, fear factor e.g. the consequences of not taking action. Others include a killer fact or engaging rhetorical question. See the edoMidas article, “Top ten attention grabbers”.

2. Show enthusiasm for winning the business

Showing that you are keen to win the business is viewed positively so tell your audience you are very excited about the prospect of working with them. It is often the case that when there is very little to differentiate presenting teams that the audience select the team who “really wanted the business”.

3. Give relevant information only

In terms of content the biggest mistake presenters make is the “information dump”. Successful presenters are selective about the facts and information they present sticking to the most important and relevant for their audience.

4. Use the “You” factor

It is important that you make your content relevant. Therefore, the term, “You” should be used throughout. This way you can state benefits very clearly and demonstrate that you understand the audience’s issues and problems.

5. Give examples for credibility

There is no point telling your audience you are innovative or experienced unless you can prove it. So, use relevant examples to back up your case.

6. Be clear about your USP’s

Your USP’s are your unique selling points i.e. areas where you add value over and above your competitors. It is important that your audience know how you stack up against the competition but avoid naming your competitors in your pitch.

7. Use rhetorical questions to engage

Rhetorical questions are very powerful as they make your audience think about your proposition. They can also be used to emphasise your USP’s e.g. “Given the ratings of our analysts, who else could put over a more credible story to the investment community?”

8. Deliver enthusiastically

Make sure your body language is open and use your hands to make gestures supporting your content. Vary the pace and pitch of your voice and scan everyone in the audience.

9. Put strap lines on visuals

These are key messages along the foot of your visuals. You should have three key strap lines, which are your three key messages, i.e. your three strongest reasons for being appointed. That way your audience take in the messages using two senses instead of one. It also means that the audience “take away” i.e. hard copy of the presentation is a more effective stand-alone document.

10. Anticipate questions and prepare answers

Many business pitches fail in the question and answer session, especially when a team is pitching. Therefore, it is vital that you anticipate questions and prepare the answers, deciding who will answer each question.

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