Whether it’s pitching a business idea to a potential investor or persuading a client to agree to your proposal – we all try to influence other people a lot of the time.
The secret to delivering the perfect pitch is to harness your emotional intelligence so that you can sell your story with impact.
So as a commercial skills trainer and EQ practitioner with more than 25 years of experience, here is my expert advice on how to deliver the perfect pitch so that you can win the other person’s heart and mind and make it easy for them to say “yes” to your idea or recommendation.
5 Steps To A Perfect Pitch For Entrepreneurs
1. Be truly present
The key to delivering an engaging story is to tap into your emotional intelligence to silence those negative thoughts that can undermine your self-belief and limit your performance. Only then will you be able to live in the moment and communicate with confidence.
Remember in business, people buy people; the other person needs to believe in you and what you are saying if they are to ‘buy’ into your story.
By believing in yourself and your proposition and by being authentic and natural, you are more likely to build rapport and establish credibility with the other person, for as business author Zig Ziglar said, “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”
2. Walk the talk
Don’t underestimate the importance of thinking about what you are going to wear when you deliver your pitch.
You need to be appropriately turned out – so if your meeting is on a Friday, double-check whether the other party follows an end of the week dress-down policy and choose your outfit accordingly.
Remember to stand tall and make strong eye contact – just as it’s hard to say something negative with a smile on your face, so it’s difficult to communicate with confidence if your body language suggests you’re a pushover.
3. Don’t try to wing it
It’s important to talk with credibility, so resist the temptation to exaggerate or worse still make things up to support a point.
You need to convey your story with passion and reiterate your key messages so you land your main points. Remember, it’s your idea so your passion and belief should flow.
A great way to do this is to think about how newsreaders present information – they start with the headlines, then give you the content and finish with a summary.
Remember to use confident language and avoid ‘weak speak’ those vague or hackneyed phrases that undermine your credibility such as, “hopefully we can agree…” or “believe me this is a great idea.”
4. Tell a compelling story
Don’t bombard the other person with facts, instead try to imagine that you are walking them through your thoughts.
You should be building up to the crux of your story – that pivotal moment when you deliver your recommendation or ask – at this point you need to slow the conversation down, pause and spell out exactly what you are asking for so that the other person can take notes.
Remember silence is powerful, it shows you have something important to say and gives the other party time to think. Try to fluctuate your tone and volume as this will help keep the other person engaged in what you have to say.
5. Close with confidence
You should ‘always be closing’. This means harnessing your ambition and being on the front foot so that you can agree on the next steps. A rookie mistake is to finish your story and wait for the other person to respond.
After sending a professional looking business proposal (e.g. using Qwilr’s tool), you need to table the next steps as a way of flushing out whether they are with you or not. A good example of how to close confidently is to say, “I’ll send over the contract” or “let’s get the next meeting in the diary.”
Finally, I’m a big believer that practice makes perfect. Remember to rehearse your pitch with a colleague or trusted friend so you can work on how you look, what you say and how you say it.
The more hours you put in, the more natural and authentic your pitch will become and the greater your chances of motivating and inspiring the other person to say “yes”.
Nicole Soames is CEO of Diadem Performance, a leading commercial skills training and coaching company, and author of ‘The Influence Book’ and ‘The Negotiation Book’. For more information about Nicole, visit www.diademperformance.com follow her on twitter @nicolediadem or visit www.nicolesoamesbooks.com