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Is there any way to improve your pitch in just few minutes? You bet there is, and not just one. In this article you will learn about 6 tips are my favorite way to improve any pitch. I’ve been using them on a daily basis with huge success for last year and half. These tips brought me a lot of new opportunities, relationships and connections and also money. Now, I hope, these great tips will do the same and much more for you as well. By the way, the last tip was a real game changer for me and my business. Without further ado, let’s get started!
No.1: Make Every Pitch Unique
Let’s start with something obvious. Unfortunately, this is also what many unsuccessful freelancers and businessmen often do. That thing is using the same “default” pitch all over again. You know what I mean … Ctrl + C followed by Ctrl + V, method also known as copy and paste. Unless you want to become or stay broke, desperate and without any hope forget immediately this combination of shortcuts. If you want to improve your pitch and take it on brand new level, you will have to work for it. This means no more copying and pasting the same pitches again and again. You will have to get comfortable with creating unique pitches for every job. Only then you will be able to improve your pitch, by tailoring it to client’s proposal.
If this sounds like a lot of work, I have two great news for you. First, your chances to get a job with unique pitch is much higher than with that “default” pitch. So, although it will take more time, you will more likely be hired and paid for this additional work. In other words, your effort is more likely to be rewarded. Second reason is that the more unique pitches you will create the better you will be and the less time it will take. So, if you want to improve your pitch, you have to practice, a lot. Believe it or not, writing great pitch is a skill that can be learned and perfected. Think about it just like about any other skill or craft.
Take painting for example. If you want to get better at it, you just have to grab the brush, colors and canvas and paint your butt off. If you will practice every day your painting skills will start to improve. The same applies to the situation when you want to improve your pitch. However, there is one thing I forgot to mention. It is not practice that makes perfect. It is perfect practice that makes perfect. Meaning, you will never improve your pitch without getting feedback, finding weak spots and fixing them. This is also the reason why pitching real leads is much better than “pitching” piece of paper or your editor.
If you currently have no leads to pitch (even you don’t believe that), you can train on your friends and colleagues. Here are some suggestions. If you want to take your girlfriend on dinner to some beautiful restaurant, instead of asking or simply saying it pitch it. Do you want to go out and see some movie in the cinema? The same thing. Forget about asking or suggesting it. Pitch it to your partner or friend instead. Do you have a useful idea to make something better at work? Go to your boss and pitch it.
As you can see, with a bit of creativity you can turn almost anything into pitching practice. If you are still unsure, think about how immensely will this trick improve your pitch. Give it few days and you will be surprised by how much your pitching skills improved. Just remember to always ask for feedback at the end. Otherwise, you will never be able to spot all mistakes you make.
Takeaway: Copying pitches is for those who want to be broke. If you want to succeed you have to practice. So, create unique tailored pitch for every lead you will meet.
No.2: Make Your Pitch Skimmable
Next tactic to improve your pitch, if it’s written, and increase your chances to win the job is to make your pitch skimmable. It doesn’t matter how long or short your pitch is, it has to be easy to skim through. What does it mean? If your pitch is longer, keep paragraphs short. Somewhere between four or five lines, no more. Next, write all numerals as numbers, not words. Your client must be able to just “fly” through the text and pick the most important data and numbers. To improve your pitch even more, ditch blocks of text and use shorter list instead.
For example, instead of one or two paragraphs of things what will your client gain by hiring you, format those things as a concise list. Something like a to-do list. With this approach, you will make it much easier for the client to see the benefits of working with you. You will also save him time because lists are much easier to skim and pick only what’s really important. Some people will argue that you this will make your pitch too short. My answer? In this day and age, any pitch that will take longer than thirty seconds to read or say is too long. You have to understand that when you are pitching something, you are working with incredibly short attention span.
It is backed by science that technology we have at our disposal shortened our attention span to ridiculous number. Many of us are not capable of sitting still for just a few minutes. Next thing threatening your pitch is our false believe that we can multitask. Like it or not, when it comes to human psychology, there is nothing like a multitasking. There is only task switching. Unfortunately, this is more counter-productive rather than the opposite. Now, imagine your lead jumping between ten or more pitches. When he jump from pitch A to pitch B and then pitch C to compare them, he already forgot what was in pitch A and half of pitch B.
How can you use this to improve your pitch? Again, make it skimmable. Short paragraphs, numerals as numbers and list will take you pretty far. You should also restrict the length of your pitch. Remember that longer pitch will discourage your lead from taking the time to read it.
Takeaway: Improve your pitch by making it easy to skim. Short paragraphs, list and use of numbers will do the job.
No.3: Include Numbers in Your Pitch
This is something we tackled in the previous tip, but this tip is so important that it deserves its own section. When you are working on your pitch, always include numbers. By numbers I mean the price, time you will need to complete the project and any other important data. As you learned above, make sure to include all those figures as numbers, not words. Remember, if you want to improve your pitch, make it easy to skim by writing figures as numbers instead of words. The fact is that numbers will always stand out and “hit” reader’s eyes as first.
Some less confident people will be afraid to include numbers such as price into their pitch. If you are one of them, afraid of losing the lead because he will see the price I have some news for you. Sooner or later, your lead will see it anyway. So, there is no reason to hide it and prolong its discovery. In a fact, disposing all numbers right in the beginning will save you a lot of time. How so? Imagine you just sent your pitch to someone looking for designer. Due to fear of losing potential client, you didn’t include any numbers except your time estimate.
What’s next? Now you have to wait for response. How long it will take is hard to say. It depends on too many factors. Anyway, let’s say that you will receive response on your pitch after five days, which is relatively fast. According to the response, prospect seems interested in hiring you for his project. One of the first things he wants to know is how much will you charge for your work. Filled with doubt and fear you will reply. Then, you will wait for another two days until you will finally find new email in your mailbox. Unfortunately, prospect has too tight budget and can’t afford to pay you the sum you sent him.
Now, you can do one of three things. First, you can negotiate and lower your price. Let me put it in different way. You can stub yourself in a back with knife and under-price yourself. Second, you can try to somehow convince the prospect to increase his budget. Although it’s hard, it can be done. I’ve done this successfully three times. The highest increase in percentages was from $125 to $280 (about 224%). However, some people I heard about were able to go even farther. Let me tell you that the result of their work was worth the price. How can you raise your chances to increase prospect’s budget?
Well, it is easy and hard at the same time. All you need are right arguments and enough confidence in yourself, your skills and your abilities. If you are not sold on yourself, you don’t even have to try it. So, if you are in such a situation, build a strong believe in yourself first. Third and last way to react on prospect’s mail is quite simple. You can accept it, send goodbye mail and pitch someone else. Regardless what option will you choose, you already lost seven days. What would be the difference in case all the numbers would be included?
You would wait for that five days, maybe even less. Why? Because it would be easier for the prospect to decide whether he can afford you or not. It is always easier to say “no” if there is no chance to make something possible. The result? You would save at least two days you could invest in pitching another prospect. So, let me repeat what was said before. To Improve your pitch, always include numbers. It will make the process faster.
Takeaway: If you want to speed up the whole pitching process and increase your chances, always include numbers like price and time estimate in your pitch.
No.4: Keep Your Pitch Short
This is something we already discussed in one of the previous post focused on pitching, but it should be mentioned again. Whoever and whatever you are pitching the best way to improve your pitch is to shorten it. The more you will limit your pitch in length the more straightforward you will have to be. Two examples I like to use are elevator pitch and something I call “twitter” pitch. The first one, elevator pitch is about limiting your pitch to 30 seconds. That’s all the time you have to convince someone to buy your idea, product or invest in your business.
Second one, the “twitter” pitch, is even more limited. Although there are no time constraints, you have to fit your pitch into 140 characters. You have the same space as you would have on twitter. I cannot tell which one is better or more powerful. No, wait… I can. It is the second one, twitter pitch. Here is the thing. If you are able to create an amazing pitch with 140 or less characters, you can congratulate yourself. If it is truly great, based on real feedback and not just your own opinion, you don’t have to do anything else to improve your pitch more unless you want to take it farther.
What are the most important parts of a universal pitch? First, it must say who are you helping, your target market. Second, what problem are you solving. Third, how exactly are you solving that problem. Make this the foundation of your pitch. Additional steps to improve your pitch can be including one or two examples of your work to support your claims. You can also add few referrals and reviews. Just make sure your pitch is short and straightforward. Keep the sauce for dinner.
Takeaway: Keeping it short is the best way to improve your pitch. Can you present it in 30 seconds or less? Can you make it fit into 140 characters or less (twitter pitch)?
No.5: Use a Proper Salutation
Take a look at pitches on sites like Freelancer and tell me what do you see. The majority of pitches start either with something like “Hello sir” or skip the salutation part completely. Both are big mistakes. Those freelancers are robbing themselves of a chance to win the project. Let me tell you two secrets. First, first impression matters. When you meet with someone for the first time, the first 4 seconds will decide the future your relationship. Second, when it comes to first impression, there is no second try. Second impression doesn’t exist. If you screw it up, you are done.
So, how can you use these two informations to improve your pitch? There is only one way. Always use the name of the lead. If it means that you will have to spend couple minutes on researching the lead and looking for his name, do it. Remember, there is nothing we (people) like to hear more than our name. In case you have only nickname or username and can’t find the real use that. Then, in the end of your pitch, ask the lead politely for his or her real name. Unless you are on some suspicious platform or have a bad reputation, your lead should be willing to tell you his name.
If you are afraid of asking for real name, here is something that can help. Imagine that you will turn this lead into your client. What will be one of the first things you will ask for? Probably the real name. Sure, you can call your client johny1234 or whatever if you want, but that doesn’t look professionally at all. In any project that will take longer than one day, it will be either you or your client who will be the catalyst for formal introduction. By the way, I advise you to be that person. Anyway, sooner or later you will ask your client for the real name. So, why don’t do it now?
One more thing. When you will use lead’s real name, it will create stronger connection between you two. It will make the situation more personal, even though you are talking remotely. It is hard to reject someone when you know his name. Use this to your advantage and forget that “Hello sir” crap. Another thing is that he is not your sir and you are not his slave. Grow a pair finally and act like a professional and expert.
Takeaway: Always use proper salutation. You will improve your pitch in a flash when you call that person you are pitching with his or her real name.
No.6: Make Your Pitch Actionable
The last tip that will can improve your pitch and increase the chance to succeed is by making your pitch actionable. Think about this as the last step, the great finale. Through the pitch, you are telling why someone should hire you, invest in you or your product or whatever. The last sentence of your pitch should be reserved for some kinds of call to action. This can be anything from asking when you can start to on what address should be your product delivered. The key is to “ask for the sale”. This is the number one of the reasons why people are not closing sales… They just never ask!
Be different. Pitch yourself in the best way you possibly can and then ask for the sale. You have to make your pitch actionable. Are you pitching a web design services? Say what problem will you solve, how will you do it and then include your CTA (call to action). That CTA can be as simple as question: “When can we start?”. Or, even better: “Let’s start today.” You can also use more subtle CTAs such as asking for details of the work. Here is the thing, the more informed about the work will you be, the more difficult it will be for the prospect to reject you.
Think about every new piece of information your prospect will tell you as about his investment in you. The bigger the investment, the less likely he will withdraw. As you probably already know, the best way to improve your pitch will be to use some subtle CTA along with “final” CTA. In other words, ask for details to make your prospect invest in you by sharing additional information and then throw the hook – ask when you can start.
Similar approach is to use one of my methods I call “escalated questioning”. This method is very simple. You will engage your prospect in a dialog by asking general questions. Then, you will slowly escalate it by asking more and more direct questions about the work or whatever you are pitching for. The key is to start with really general vague-like questions (related to the work) you would ask complete stranger. As the questions will become more and more direct, you will gradually build trust with the prospect. Then, when you will feel that he is open to the option of working with you or buying from you, it’s time to suggest that actionable step and ask for closing the deal.
Takeaway: Make your pitch actionable! Meaning, always include some kinds of CTA in the end of your pitch. Remember, you never get what you don’t ask for!
Closing Thought on How to Improve Your Pitch
Wow, this was one of the longer articles. However, I hope it will provide you with huge value and help you at least 10x your business and win more clients. Just keep in mind that with huge power comes huge responsibility. So, use these tips to provide a value for your clients, partners and just everyone you will meet with. Use these tips to make other people’s lives better. Having said that all, now let’s get back to work, test all these tips and always hustle!
What tips would you give someone who wants to improve his pitch?
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