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How to be pitch perfect in business

Category Business
How to be pitch perfect in business

Many start ups and small businesses experience challenges securing the investment they need to get established or expand their business. So we’ve asked Guest writer and marketer Helen MacDougall, to provide some insights to the perfect pitch.

A great product needs a powerful sales pitch to win over the hearts and wallets of investors or clients. These tips for being pitch perfect will help you captivate your audience and triumph over the competition.

Offer compelling and customised content

Silicon Valley business guru and former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki recently released his principles for creating a successful pitch presentation:

Slide 1: Title page

Include a clear logo, your name, job role and contact details.

Slide 2: Overview

A succinct and compelling 30-second statement on what your business does.

Slide 3: Solutions/Opportunities

State what needs your business fulfills or problem it solves, or the opportunity it enables people to tap.

Slide 4. Competitive advantages

Demonstrate the tangible benefits of giving you the business over your competitors. Avoid wishy-washy statements.

Slide 5: Demo

Here’s where you jump into a demo lasting around 10 minutes, focusing on the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of your product. Typically, if you’re doing something new, focus on ‘what’. If you’re doing something that’s already been done, but you’re doing it better, then focus on ‘how’.

Slide 6. Marketing

Provide quantifiable details on how many you will reach and offer success forecasts and metrics based on industry benchmarks and response rates.

Slide 7. Competition

Be upfront about your competitors and don’t suggest you have none. It could imply that there is no market for your product.

Slide 8. Business model

Your audience has one priority: their financial return. Use one or two proven business models that they can instantly grasp to show how you’ll make money. This is where a solid business plan will stand you in good stead.

Slide 9. Forecasts

Be conservative. Overestimate and you risk losing credibility. Underestimate and you risk losing interest.

Slide 10: Team

Show how you have the relevant experience to succeed but don’t go into detail.

Slide 11: Recap

Summarise where you are (including key milestones), how customers are responding to your product/service and where you’re going from here.

Use a design that doesn’t distract

Slides are supposed to bring your presentation to life, not take over the entire pitch. Keep them succinct and don’t create any unnecessary distractions. Follow these guidelines:

• Keep your presentation to 10 slides

• Use three short bullet points maximum per slide

• Choose simple fonts that are visible from the back of the room

• Choose visuals over type where possible

• Do not capitalise your titles, it makes them harder to read

• Do not use animation or sound effects

10 tips to nail your presentation

1. Rehearse and ask colleagues to critique.

2. Know your subject thoroughly and predict any questions.

3. Greet your audience with confidence. First impressions count.

4. Get to the point. People don’t have time for superfluous detail.

5. Remember your body language. Look your audience in the eye and walk around to keep them engaged. Avoid distracting gestures.

6. Share handouts afterwards (not before as people will start reading ahead).

7. Test your equipment beforehand to avoid nasty surprises. And take a back up of your presentation on a USB stick.

8. Don’t use notes. They will only make you read, rather than present.

9. Use a remote so you don’t have to bend down to change slides.

10. Pace yourself and give your audience enough time to process the information.

For some people, pitches induce panic. For others, they’re an exhilarating rush. Whether you’re a confident public speaker or you’re just starting out, pour your energy into perfecting the content, design and presentation style of your pitch and you’re sure to come across as cool-headed and confident – a tried and tested combination for sales success.

Do you have any tips for pitching to investors?