What is your story? In business today, whether or not you’re in sales or marketing, the time will come where you’re at an event and asked to introduce yourself, and what you do. Many call this introduction, an elevator pitch.
Recently, I got asked to be the first guest on a new Facebook Live series hosted by branding expert, Jamessina Hille called “The Art Of…” She wanted me to talk with her and her viewers about the art of the pitch. The following are some excerpts from that discussion.
At the very beginning of working with my coaching clients on developing branding and messaging, I start with these three questions for them to ask themselves:
Who are my “peeps?”
Who’s your target client profile?
Where do I find them?
Where do your prospects go? Which events? Which websites and social media sites do they visit?
What do I say to them?
Once you find a prospect, what’s the short, compelling message that’s going to create enough value for them to want to learn more about you or want to work with you?
So, when it comes to what to “say,” when talking about yourself or your business, here are my four tips for a great pitch:
Don’t Make it a pitch:
People don’t like to be sold. Tell them a story. Create value for them. Tell how you can solve one of their problems.
If you don’t capture attention in the first 5-10 seconds, you’ve lost your audience. Start with a compelling, memorable opening. Here’s mine: “Hi, my name is Thomas Heath, and I’m an entrepreneurial geek.”
Focus on Your “C”s:
Connect, clarity, concise and call-to-action.
Connect: Make eye contact. Use authentic body language. Smile, frown, be expressive. Continue to engage. Clarity: Just because you easily understand your message or business doesn’t mean that everyone else will. Make sure your content is clear and comprehensible. Can your words be understood by a sixth grader? And don’t forget the WIIFM Principle (“What’s in it for me?”... What is in it for the listener? Put yourself in their shoes.)
Concise: The No. 1 mistake with elevator speeches or pitch decks is that they’re way too long. It’s alright to leave the audience with additional questions. For an elevator speech, 30 seconds is a good target. For a pitch deck, no more than 10 minutes or 10 slides. Give them just enough to say: “Hmmm, I want to learn more.”
Call to Action: The No. 2 biggest mistake? Forgetting about the “ask.” What do you want your audience to do after you’re done speaking? Ask for your card? Grab a flyer? Schedule a chat over coffee? Download your app?
Practice Your pitch: Once you develop your initial elevator speech or story, go practice it on a few, honest and supportive people for feedback on how to improve it.
Want to learn more about the art of the pitch? Go see my full interview on Facebook.
Thomas Heath, CLC, is a business coach, strategic advisor and founder of Thomas Heath Coaching. Have a question? Planning a great startup event? He loves to respond to our readers. Contact him at Thomas@ThomasHeathCoaching.com or on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/AskThomasHeath.