We can’t afford the time for a 15-minute sales pitch anymore. We live in an age of distractions. Our smartphones are constantly buzzing with notifications practically forcing us to reply to texts, grab discounts, add people on social media and a whole lot more. A few hundred million of us have smartwatches now – making it even easier to lose focus on what we’re doing, who we’re talking to. Our attention spans are dropping with every passing year – the average human attention span dropped by a third from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8.25 seconds in 2015. That is quite literally less than the goldfish average of 9 seconds!
So it goes without saying that we must pitch ourselves as quickly and effectively as possible, proving our worth to someone before they lose focus on what we’re saying, and think of us as background noise. How do we do this? Here are some helpful pointers:
You’re pitching because you’re going to solve a problem of some sort. For example, you’re selling a new type of water purifier that has R.O. technology. The problem you should state here is that old purifiers without R.O. didn’t clean the water all that well… so there arises a need in every household for a better purifier.
No one wants to listen to you brag about what you’ve done. They want to know what’s in in it for them. After you describe what you do, your next sentence has to make it clear how they benefit from having you in their life. Are you solving a problem for them? Are you helping them in the long run? Eg. You’d save Rs. 10,500 every month by switching over to my software.
Make sure that people understand that your proposition is practical. Your product might solve all their business issues in a day, but if they get the impression that it is impractical, then forget about going ahead with the conversation. Eg. My company’s software is easy to install on any system and even easier to use.
Whatever field you’re in, it is likely that you have competition. Try to quickly define what makes you/your firm unique and sets you apart from the herd.
Let’s say you’ve built a software solution for restaurants, to take orders and print invoices. Many other IT companies already make similar software. So yours should be more user-friendly, less expensive or have any other USP to convince the opposite party that it’s worth buying.
It’s not just the pitch content that counts, the delivery technique also matters. Show some enthusiasm when you fire off at a potential client, but not to the extent that you appear immature or childish. Use a small prop (or demonstrate the product if possible) to drive the client’s interest level uphill!
“You know how every major CRM software is a pain to install, costs a bomb and is so hard for employees to use? The answer is X-Wing CRM. 495 Rupees a month, works on every system, only takes a minute to get used to. It’ll help your company save thousands every month. What’s more, it tracks all your customers across both online and offline channels, from one control panel. Check it out – here’s my card!”
Remember, you can speak 150 words per minute in a conversation – so limit your pitch to about 75 words. That example above is exactly 75. There’s no need to stick to that number religiously, you can increase or decrease the length of your pitch by a small margin. Just practice it several times with a stopwatch before you do it in real life!
Now whether you’re selling your product, advertising for your firm or just introducing yourself in the elevator, you can be sure to pitch yourself the right way!
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