7 Elements of a Great Pitch
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In this episode...
7 Elements of a Great Pitch
If you want success, at some point, you’ll need to request help. Episode 57 lays out the essential ingredients of a winning pitch.
[00:05] - Intro
[00:33] - Pitching as a Christian is different than pitching as a non-Christian. Take a “make disciples” mindset, not a “please give me a fish” mindset.
[02:32] - The first element of a great pitch is your history, including where you fit in the larger industry or market.
[03:16] - The second element of a great pitch is your problem or gap statement. But make sure you are truly identifying the right issue, because otherwise, you will miscalculate on your value proposition and the right way to market what you have.
[05:35] - The third element of a great pitch is your achievements and an analysis of the competition. This is where you show your differentiators and make a positive case for what you are doing.
[06:39] - The fourth element of a great pitch is a specific ask. This should make it clear why the person or company you’re pitching to is the ideal fit. It also should clarify how they’ll benefit if they say yes to the ask.
[08:27] - The fifth element of a great pitch is a presentation of potential problems and risk mitigation. But don’t just focus on how you’ll fix things. Focus on showing how you THINK about fixing things and that you really grasp the big picture.
[09:17] - The sixth element of a great pitch is facts and figures. These can be anywhere in the pitch but should stay relevant. These comfort your listener because they are concrete, predictable, and reliable. They also lend you credibility if you don’t have much to lean on yourself.
[10:28] - The seventh thing your pitch needs is gratitude. This should show your LONG-TERM value and a larger understanding of the potential the relationship has, rather than just being a one-time expression related to the pitch.
[11:16] - Summary recap of pitch elements. Recommendations for feedback, cleanliness of the pitch, and showing passion.
[12:27] - Prayer
[13:11] - Outro/What’s coming up next
- Pitching as a Christian is not about showing you are a superhero who can fix everything with the right tools. It’s about showing how you’ll serve and convincing others to join you. Focus on making disciples, not getting a fish.
- History shows who you are and where you fit in the larger industry or market.
- Show a precise problem and clarify why you are passionate about solving it. Be careful to hit the right target here and not misinterpret what you need to solve, because that changes how you present your value and market yourself.
- Listing achievements and a competitor analysis explains why the professional or company you’ve approached can trust you to deliver. It outlines why you are different. This shows both viability and a sense of your status.
- Be specific about your needs with a clear ask. This is where you personalize and show the person or company why they’re the ideal fit for you. It’s a chance to appeal to their natural ego and need for validation.
- Outlining potential problems and a strategy for each demonstrates your ability to manage risk. But within this, others also will look for how you think and want to know you have a sense of the big picture.
- Facts and figures should be throughout your pitch. They help provide a sense of stability, calm, and direction
- End your pitch with sincere gratitude. But try to express the gratitude in a way that shows awareness of the professional or company’s bigger contributions and hints at a desire for a long-term relationship
- Get feedback prior to pitching, and when you deliver the pitch, let your heart shine through. Passion can help people forgive flaws and say yes if they are in any way on the fence.
- Think about what will make each person or organization you pitch individually feel obligated to your cause. Then, and only then, construct the pitch.
- Use today’s episode as a checklist the next time you have a pitch in front of you.
- Get feedback on the next pitch you do and revise based on what others advise.
What’s coming up next:
For years, companies demanded resumes if you wanted to apply for a job. Now, those documents are morphing dramatically, with some companies completely rejecting them. Episode 58 of Faithful on the Clock outlines some of the latest resume trends and makes suggestions about what you should put together.
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Welcome to the Faithful on the Clock podcast everybody, the show where I always aim to get your faith and work aligned. I'm your host Wanda Thibodeaux, and this week, I'm breaking down the elements of a great pitch. Whether you're looking for a mentor or thousands of dollars in funding, I'll show you what you need to include to make other people interested. If you don't have a pencil handy to take some notes, go ahead and grab one.[:
All right. I've got a couple of essential components of a pitch that I will detail for you today, but before I get to that, I just want to give you my overall thought on how you should be thinking about pitches in general. I think most people when they think about pitches, they think it's all about convincing someone to give something. They think they have to go in and present themselves like they're some kind of superhero who can swoop in and fix something if you just hand them the right tool. And so what ends up happening is, instead of coming across as confident, they cross the line into seeming cocky or egotistical. And it's all about whether they can solve the problem, not whether they should or why they want to do it. But pitching as a Christian, at least in my mind, is really all about showing what you are going to give or how you’ll serve others. It's about convincing the other person not only that your crusade matters or is worthwhile on a non-financial level, but that they can be a long-term warrior right alongside you to serve and create change, too. So to look at it with a little bit more scriptural foundation, most people who pitch, they have the “I need you to give me a fish” mindset. And certainly, when you look at Jesus and the story of him feeding the thousands of followers, which is in Matthew 14:13-21, you can see that there’s a time where gifts are a real way to love people. But we also see in Matthew 4:19 that we’re called to make disciples and teach about who God is. And I believe you absolutely can do that through your business ventures, because there ought to be a spirit or calling behind those. So I want you to go into pitching with the idea that you are creating fishermen or making disciples along the way, OK? I want you to go in prepared to show them that you are a person of integrity with real purpose as you flesh out all the elements I’m about to talk about.[:
OK. So the first thing that’s essential to a pitch is your history. And the most basic points here is to make it very clear who you are and what you do. And I know that sounds simple, but remember, there are tons of professionals and businesses out there who throw out these really ambiguous about pages, where it’s just full of jargon and you can’t really discern what their operations really are even include. And I personally think that happens, one, because maybe you don’t even have a sense of where you’re going yet, or two, because you’re afraid that being more specific will limit where you can go if you try and grow. But you want to just very briefly clarify your background and where you fit into the larger industry or market.[:
Now, once people have a few sentences about who you are and the kinds of things you provide, then you need to nail down the exact problem you want to solve for people. What’s the gap or need you see that you can do something about? And as you present that gap, you present your larger why that drives you to work and serve. But you wanna be really careful here that you’re hitting on the right thing. So let me give you a quick example. Let’s say you notice that parents are just, they’re stressed, they’re tired, they’re just overwhelmed all the time. And you see that they’re struggling to stay organized and that that lack of organization is interfering with their ability to really connect with their family and give themselves any kind of self-care. Now, you might say, “Well, the problem is the lack of organization.” But what you’re really trying to solve for the parent is the lack of connection. That’s the real issue. And your why, your vision, is that these parents will be able to connect with others and themselves and not be so stressed. That’s what you believe matters in terms of your ethics or your morals. So you create an organization app, OK? And if you’re not careful, you might just focus on all the features that app has or how much it can handle. But if you’re really thinking about it, your real focus in how you pitch or market yourself isn’t the features, it’s the calm you want for people. THAT’s what you’re really delivering, that’s the real value. As an example here, and I don’t know how many of you remember it, but there was an old Campbell’s soup commercial, where this snowman walks in out of the cold, and he’s shivering. And he talkies off his scarf and stuff, and he sits down and he starts eating some soup. And the soup warms him up, and he starts melting, and you see that the snowman is really this little boy who had been playing outside. And that commercial or pitch, what it really was saying to customers, it wasn’t just, the problem is your body needs fuel. It was you deserve to be warm and nourished, come on in, relax. You’ll be taken care of. And the final key there is that you want to find a way to make that larger why or belief relatable to whoever you’re pitching. And that connects to personalization, which I’ll get to in a minute.[:
The third thing you need in a good pitch is your achievements and analysis of your competition. So this is where you mention specifics about any awards, how many units sold you’ve done, that kind of thing. You show that you’ve actually gotten customers or had some success in other ways. Maybe you’ll toss in some testimonials, that kind of thing. And outlining your achievements, it kinda pulls double duty. It shows that you’re already working, that there’s some evidence of viability, but then it also lets the person you’re pitching to understand your status in the big picture of things. You know, if you’ve got 10 rungs on the ladder, they need to know whether you’re on rung 2 or 8. And as you show that, you tactfully weave in how that compares to your competition. You start getting specific about your approach and what the differentiators are that you have. And make sure as you do this, you know, don’t run anybody down. You don’t need to do that. You just need to focus on your positives and make the case for why your solution is the preferable one, OK?[:
OK. Fourth. So now here’s where you get to a specific ask. You explain exactly what you need, whether that’s $100,000 or 100,000 paper clips. But once you’ve done that, you’re not done. Because within this, you have to show the person or company why they are the best fit to provide all the things you’re asking for. I mean, if I’m an investor, there are thousands of investors. Why ask me for my money? Or if I’m an expert, why do you want me as a mentor over someone else? And I think this is where a lot of people who pitch, they kinda drop the ball. And it’s a big shame, because this is really where you get the chance to personalize the pitch. (Remember how I said I’d come back to that?) You get to show the person or company that you really do understand who they are and how they work. You get to kind of butter them up and say, you can help me in ways nobody else can, you’re my top choice. And I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like to feel noticed or appreciated or irreplaceable. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like to hear somebody else talk about them or laud what they’ve done. So it’s a chance to appeal to their emotions and the need they naturally have to be validated, and you shouldn’t waste that. You just have to be honest in the reasons you give them for why you chose them over others. And along the way, and this is important, be clear about what they are going to get back. And you know, sometimes, depending on the circumstances, that might not even be money. Maybe it’s the chance to build their legacy with you. Maybe you have a great network they’d benefit from, or they need a skill you’d be willing to teach. But the bottom line is, people are much more likely to say yes to a pitch if they feel like they’re going to end up better off than when they started.[:
So fifth, you want to present details of potential problems along with risk mitigation. And again, back to that superhero idea, the objective here isn’t just to list out a bunch of things that could go wrong and show how awesomely you’ll tackle those issues. Because yes, people will want to see you can manage through problems and protect their investment. But more broadly, they’re looking to see how you think in the way you mitigate those risks. They want to see whether you’re really thinking critically and can juggle a lot of puzzle pieces. That’s really gonna sell them, because if you can do that, if you’ve got a thorough grasp of the big picture you’re in on what can happen, then you’re better able to put unexpected issues into a broader context and make better decisions.[:
The sixth thing your pitch needs is plenty of facts and figures. And a lot of these will be in your competitor analysis or where you’re laying out your status. But they can be anywhere. Some people even like using stats as a leed or hook. The rule here is just, keep it relevant. You know, don’t just throw things in to sound smart. Throw things in because they actually support the point you’re making. And again, this ties to the previous point about mitigating risk and the big picture. People tend to be comforted by specifics, because specifics are concrete. They’re predictable or reliable. And investors and other professionals, they trust their gut, but they’re not stupid, either, and they’ll do the math as they try to make decisions. They’re gonna want solid evidence of what to do, and they lean on facts and figures to do that. The additional benefit of including these elements is that, when you pull in external sources, you get to lean on the authority of your source. So even if you feel like a nobody, even if you’re a total newb in your field, you still can present yourself very confidently by referencing other reputable people or organizations.[:
So what’s the last thing your pitch needs? Gratitude. And don’t be quick here to just say, “Thanks for the opportunity” and then bail. When you say thank you, it’s nice to hear not only that you’re appreciative for the chance to pitch, but that you appreciate all of the work that the other person is doing and that you look forward to them continuing to contribute. And the idea here is that you want to plant the seed that your relationship isn’t just the pitch. It started earlier than that, and it’s going to go beyond that into the future. So you’re showing the other person or company you have a longer-term value, and that you understand that there’s a privilege involved in how they’re going to keep influencing and shaping you.[:
So those are the key ingredients for a pitch. You need your history, a clear problem and why, achievements and analysis, a specific ask that’s personalized, details of problems and how you’ll mitigate risk, facts and figures, and lastly, gratitude focused on a long-term relationship. And of course, all of this has to be very clean. You know, make sure you don’t have typos or that you’ve worked out technical kinks, and that you’re delivering the pitch materials to the right person. I’ll pull this all together just by saying, make sure you get some feedback prior to pitching, because those additional eyes and ears will help you spot issues and troubleshoot way ahead of time. And even though everybody talks about having all their I’s dotted and Ts crossed, don’t be afraid to show the heart behind you, either. People absolutely pick up on passion, and when they see you care, a lot of the time, that’s gonna be the thing that stops them from straddling the fence about you. It’s gonna be the thing that makes them take you seriously even if the pitch itself isn’t totally flawless.[:
So would you just take a moment to pray with me?
Father, when people pitch, they usually have a lot on the line. And sometimes, when people pitch, they’re literally down to their last chip. So Lord, I pray that You give them peace through that. I pray that You will give them the patience and diligence to do their absolute best, that You’ll lead them away from the temptation to cut corners. And I pray that the people they pitch to will see the heart behind the pitch, that the words they hear or read will move them to say yes and to do good for others in Your spirit of compassion. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.[:
We’re done for this show, listeners. I know y’all have some fantastic ideas out there you’re gonna present now, so let’s share some of those projects and pray for each other. You can let me know what you’re working on through our Twitter page, @FaithfulOTC. For the next episode, we’ll be covering resumes. Do you even need one anymore, and if you do, what in the world should you include? So get ready for that. Take care, everybody, and be blessed.