There’s No “I” in Pitch

Well, not in a successful one anyway.

No kidding.  To give a successful pitch presentation, one that gets heard and gets results, there should be as little as possible about you, your company, and even, believe it or not, your product or service – unless it’s tied directly to your prospect’s problem or goal.

How many times have you, as a prospect, been subjected to 45 minutes of jaw-dropping boredom hearing the presenter drone on and on about himself, his company, its history, their org chart, the dots on the map….As they talk endlessly, and enthusiastically,about themselves, the thought bubble over your head? “Who cares? What in the world does this have to do with solving my problem?” Uh, absolutely nothing.

Research shows that audience interest ramps up for the first few minutes a presenter is speaking, peaks at about minute four, stays elevated until about minute 25 and then steeply declines. Spend the first three, but no more than four minutes of your presentation briefly introducing yourself and your company. At the four minute mark you should be launching into the meat or your presentation – which must be all about them.

Begin by drawing a picture of what your prospect’s world currently looks like. Are they rolling out a new product?  Is their competition eating their lunch?  Have they grown too fast?  Too slow?  Is their industry dramatically changing? Does it need to change dramatically? Or maybe it’s just your prospect who is behind and needs to change. Whatever their current pressing situation is – that’s where you want to focus.  Show them right from the start that you ‘get’ them, you understand their problems and/or goals.  Better yet, not only do you understand their problem, you have the solution.

When you do talk about your solution, keep it focused around them, their particulars, their position, their problem. Prove to them that your solution has worked for others like them who had the same problem. Prove to them that your solution will produce their desired result. The more you use the words ‘you’ and ‘yours’ the more attentive they’ll be.

Save the org chart and dots on the map for, your mom, maybe. Your prospect really doesn’t care. Fill the pitch with what they do care about; their world, their desired state, their problems and goals. Fill the pitch with ‘you’s and ‘your’s’ – leave out the ‘I’. You’ll be heard – and win the pitch to boot.

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