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Imagine you could pitch anything and win every time. How great would your life be? Think about all the things that would become feasible. In this article, you will find handful of tips to improve your pitching skills and close more deals in the future. Allow yourself to finally get what you deserve and what do you stand for. Learn how to make your pitching bulletproof and get the results you want. In other words, learn to pitch anything like a winner!
Dress Like a Winner
The majority of materials on the Internet, in books or magazines always give advice to dress the best you can. This often means nice suit, great haircut and shiny shoes. Yes, this tactic will work in many situations such as applying for a job or formal business negotiation. Unfortunately, it will not work all the time. Sometimes, it can even make your chances to pitch anything lower. How is this possible? Imagine you are about to have a negotiation with someone working in workshop. You will arrive in very expensive suit while your partner in jeans and shirt. Now, try to pitch anything without looking like a Goliath trying to smash small David.
Your appearance will make you too distant from where your partner is. There will be big gap between you two and will affect the negotiation as well. The best and only way to reverse this effect is by wearing something closer to your partner’s dress. That being said, I don’t mean wearing exactly the same clothes. That would be weird and scary. Adjusting your clothes type is enough. For example, if your partner is known to wear casual clothes such as jeans and t-shirts you should prepare similar wardrobe. Your goal is to look like you are in the same income and social group.
If you are familiar with mirroring in terms of social psychology and communication, you probably understand why this dressing theater may be really useful. If not, let me explain it. In communication, there is a well-known fact that we unconsciously mirror (imitate) people we feel interested in. One of the best examples is being on a date. Imagine you are on some beautiful place with woman or man. If there is a connection or interest between you, it is high likely that one of you will mirror gestures of the other. By the way, this is one of the stronger clues of interest.
Since this clue is encoded in our brain, why not to use it to pitch anything? When you think about it, one of your goals during pitching is making your partner comfortable. And, adjusting your clothes is, I think, one of the easiest and cheapest ways to achieve this. Well, unless your partner is a millionaire who likes to wear suits by Gucci. To summarize this section, remember that your clothes can and will have effect on whether will you successfully pitch anything and succeed. So, you had better dress like a winner!
Takeaway: How you dress has a huge effect on your partner or audience you are pitch. The more similar your clothes will be the higher your chance to pitch anything you want and win.
Speak Like a Winner
Let’s suppose you’ve nailed the dressing part. What’s next item on the list? The next smart thing you can do, to increase your chance to pitch anything you want, is to learn how to speak. Don’t worry I don’t mean attending speaking classes or anything like that. However, that would be very useful as well. What am I talking about is the words you use, or your dictionary, rather than how you use them. Although the way you speak is also very important, but let’s discuss that dictionary part first. Then, we will come back to discuss the how you speak.
So, what’s wrong with your dictionary? Unless you are swearing or using rude words in every sentence, nothing. Question is what you can do better. The short answer is to adjust your dictionary to your partner’s. This tip works in similar fashion like adjusting your clothes. It’s all about mirroring the other person to make her feel comfortable. As with clothes, when someone speak like us, we are more likely to listen to him. We consider him more friendly and part of our social or cultural group. In short, we like people who speak our language. This is also the reason that we make relationships with people from the same industry or business.
If you want to pitch anything with higher chance to succeed, learn the language of your partner or audience. You must make an effort and understand its terminology and how to use it properly. This can be your secret weapon to disarm anyone any time. That being said, you also need to know when and how to use this weapon. Fortunately, the theory is quite simple. First, simplify your message. Remember, you can’t pitch anything if people don’t know what are you pitching. So, make your message simple enough that anyone with basic education can comprehend it. Without complete understanding, every following action will fail.
Second step is to strategically implement some of the terms you learned into your pitch. This step will make you appear like you are well-versed in business of your partner. Understand that it doesn’t matter whether you really know anything about that business or you don’t even know how to write its name. This is not important at all. You just have to like you know it through and through. Let me put it another way. You have to wrap your message into nice package composed of the semantics your partner will understand and that will make him feel like in known territory. However, pay attention to not pushing this strategy too far and overdoing it.
Otherwise, your pitch will sound unnatural and will make things only worse – your partner will be less approachable. A good rule of thumb, you can use is to make sure that the content of your pitch will not be composed of more than thirty percent of your partners terminology. Maybe, you could lower it to twenty percent. If you are familiar with 80/20 Pareto principle it will be easier for you to remember. Again, twenty percent of jargon, slang or whatever you call it and eighty percent of casual language and you are ready to pitch anything under the sun.
Takeaway: Successful pitching requires more than just knowing who you are pitching to. You also need to know in what language you should deliver your message.
Uncover the Pain
Okay, you are dressed appropriately and your dictionary is filled with new words. What’s the next step to position yourself as a winner? You must uncover the pain your partner has. What’s more, you have to make it with empathy. Meaning, you are not just saying that this or that doesn’t work and then jump right to your pitch. That would make you look like you are there only to get what you want and get out. On the other hand, what will happen if you will empathize and describe the pain of your partner in a vivid picture? You will position yourself as a savior your partner is desperately looking for. Think about being in the desert and someone with a bottle of water.
Having said that, I don’t suggest that you manipulate the facts and situation just be able to pitch anything that’s on your mind. This is not about selling ice to Eskimos. You are focused solely on showing your partner that you understand his pain and the consequences it creates. And, you should also provide some emotional cues through your body language. Otherwise, it will look like you are reciting your to-do list without even being there. You have to keep in mind that your words will become stronger and more influential when you enrich them with emotions.
When you are about to uncover the pain of your partner or audience, remember to mention future potential pains as well. This is something many people forget to do. In order to pitch anything they want to get through, they will only address what already exists. Although this can be enough, it is your responsibility to aim much higher. What do I mean? Please correct me if I am wrong, but the reason that you want to deliver your pitch to your partner is to solve some of his problems. The way to achieve this is by selling him the product or idea you believe will help him.
When we feel some pain we often can’t or won’t think ahead. We are focused only on the current pain and almost blind to anything else. If you don’t believe me, try to, for example, read a book with broken arm and see it for yourself. Unfortunately, this narrow focus can cause us to either ignore possible consequences of not taking the cure. When you are trying to pitch anything that could potentially help your partner you should show your partner the possible future. Show him how his current pain can grow bigger with time if he will hesitate to take an action.
Keep in mind, this is not about scaring him. You just want to make sure he fully understand the situation and possible consequences, good and bad. You may argue that this sounds like a manipulation. Yes, you are right. It is manipulation. However, you have to realize that there is a good manipulation and bad manipulation. For example, think about taking your child to a regular dental checkup. Unless your child has no idea who dentist is he will protest a lot. In this situation you have basically two options. First, force your child to go … And, make things worse in the future.
Second, tell child about the consequences of missing the dental checkup. Describe what tooth decay is and how painful it is to get rid of it. Don’t forget to mention the dental drill in vivid details! Then, let your child make the choice. Missing the checkup and risking pain and dental drill or going now and keeping his teeth healthy. Did you use manipulation? Yes, but it was for greater good of your child. So, let’s be a little bit Machiavellian in a positive sense while pitching as well. Remember, manipulation doesn’t have to be bad unless you are trying to pitch something useless.
Takeaway: Show your partner you understand his pain and empathize with him. And, not only that. Show him how this pain can grow bigger with time if he will ignore it or your cure.
Introduce the Cure
In the previous section we discussed how to uncover your partner’s pain and prepare the ground for the final phase of your pitch. This phase is about introducing the cure. Do you remember that savior metaphor? After your partner knows the consequences of ignoring his pain or choosing the wrong cure (I forgot to mention this), it’s the time for you to pull the ace out of your sleeve. Think about it like a Hollywood red carpet. In this phase of the pitch anything process your job is to introduce your product or idea as the only considerable option.
Forget about mentioning or comparing yourself with competition. This is your show and your time. Nothing else exists or matter. You have to show pitch your whatever you have as an undisputed champion. Remember, for your product or idea, there is no competition at all. If you believe it with all your soul, your partner will believe it as well. In other words, your partner will have no doubts unless you gave him reason for it. On the other hand, if you don’t believe in what you pitch your partner will sense it. Consciously or unconsciously, he will feel you are hiding something.
I intended to make this subtopic an independent section. However, it’s much better to discuss the necessity of win-win mindset or thinking in this part. Thinking in win-win way is, I think, necessary to become a master closer. Unfortunately, many of us believe that someone able to “selling ice to Eskimos” is a perfect example of master closer. Nothing could be further from the truth. Real master closer who can pitch anything and win will do it only if he believes that his product, service or idea will bring at least some value to his partner or audience.
Otherwise, he will have to fight with struggles such as competition, arguments and doubts from the side of his partner. So, can win-win thinking be the key to successfully pitch anything? I think it can and should be. This is also the reason why I’m not afraid of providing you with all these information. The majority of people reading this article will either use it to bring value to others or will not be willing to invest their time and energy into preparation of the whole process. Fortunately, we are not willing to put our effort into something we don’t believe in, not in full dose.
Anyway, pitching your idea as an undisputed champion and win-win solution at the same time is the most important part of your pitch. Show your partner you have no doubts and nothing to hide. The fact is that in order to sell or pitch anything to anyone you have to be sold on it first. Only with unquestionable believe that only your idea or product will heal the pains of your partner you will be able to introduce it that way and win.
Takeaway: Pitch your product or idea – the cure – as an undisputed champion. Show that you believe it is a win-win solution with all your heart. Then, your partner will believe in it as well.
Fixing Late Arrival
Let me make something clear first. You should always do your best to be either on time or early. Anyway, if the milk is already spilled (you are late), crying will not fix it. So, sweep the tears and use the time you have to save what you can. Now, you have to think quick. First, don’t try to explain why are you late. Nobody cares about it. In fact, it will make things only worse and your partners more angry. Instead, use quick and short apology and move on to the main subject of the meeting.
Let me explain why trying to explain your late arrival will not work as you think. Those people on the opposite side of the table already wasted certain amount of their time while waiting on you. By trying to explain your misstep you will waste even more of their time. Do you think this will raise their mood? Not only will you not pitch anything. You will pitch nothing and maybe even destroy any possibility of future chance to negotiate again. In other words, don’t try to fix wasted time by wasting even more of it. This is not a solution, but progression to deeper problems.
Now you know the reason why any attempt to explain your mistake is a bad idea. As said above, the best thing you can do is to apologize quickly and move on. By quickly I mean just one sentence. Something like: “Please, accept my apologies for being late.” That’s all. After you say that or something similar, go right to the point of the meeting. Remember, don’t waste more time of your partners than you already did. Important thing is to stay calm. Don’t over-analyze it. If you will nail the pitching part, who knows … Maybe you will laugh at the whole incident in the future.
Takeaway: If you are late, don’t panic. Respect the time of your partners and apologize quickly in one sentence. Then, move to the main point of the meeting.
Closing Thoughts on How to Pitch Anything
Like it or not, the truth is that you will never be able to pitch anything and nail a deal. The only way to make your pitching bulletproof is by pitching what you believe in. Only when you believe in what you pitch with all your heart and soul, you will be able to sell it. Otherwise, you will face struggles in the form of arguments and doubts.
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