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For Emma – build your dream every day.
Chapter 1: First Things First
Chapter 2: The Competition
Chapter 3: What’s So Special About You?
Chapter 4: Creating Your Pitch
Chapter 5: Pitch Examples
Chapter Six: Delivering Your Pitch
Chapter 7: Networking and Relationships
About Sarah Archer
[_‘It takes one deal, one opportunity, one person to change your life.’ _]
[_– _]JT Foxx
&T&&oday, we are &living in a knowledge economy, where information and ideas perforate our lives 24/7, and opportunities to pitch our business or idea can come when we’re least expecting them. To succeed in this context, we need to develop a 30 to 60 second pitch that is memorable, targeted, relevant and ready to go wherever, whenever.
It’s said that you are five relationships away from making a million. Imagine if opportunity puts one of those five people in your path, and they ask what you do. What would happen? Would you confidently un-holster your killer elevator pitch, and deliver that puppy in a way that makes you and your business intriguing and unforgettable, or would your mind go blank, your body start to sweat and your heart sink as you see the interest change to sympathy, and you realise you missed your shot?
If you have a pitch, this book can help you make it better, and if you don’t have one, this book will help you create a killer one.
I’ve written many, many elevator pitches for clients, and here is some of their feedback:
“Outstanding experience, the vision in spoken word. Clear, sharp, and on point. Most excellent”
“Great write up, well-articulated and very inspiring to read. Thank you very much.”
“Thank you! Really, your pitch convinced me! From the first sentence, that captured my attention, to the rest of the pitch, very short and powerful, just as I need!”
“Your work blew me away! I am amazed at how you made each of my requests unique, clever, inspiring, and on-point. I appreciate the great communication as well. Thank you so much!”
[_“Sarah is a true writer with incredible skills. From knowing my product for just two days, she wrote a pitch as if she has been involved from the inception of the product.” _]
“Brilliant! Short, sweet and to the point! A killer pitch just as stated!”
[_“I just want to thank Sarah! I’m impressed with her work and highly recommend her to anyone in the film industry who is trying to get any kind of funding for their film! Excellent execution of a job well done! Thank you again.” _]
[_“Wow! Reading this reminded me of why I love my job so much. Working for an organization that makes such a lasting impact. Thank you! Very well written and thought through.” _]
“Sarah is able to make boring words alive in a humorous way! I like it!”
“Sarah did a great job doing something I have been struggling with for ages. It’s hard to communicate in words sometimes what you do without sounding wishy washy and Sarah helped take care of that.”
“Love it! Great job! It allows me to show my passion for safety rather than simply focus on the business aspect. Thanks so much.”
“The way you told that story gave me more motivation to believe into the value I offer to others. Thank you. Would like us to work together again.”
I regularly get clients tell me that my pitch has made them fall in love with their business again, and that is my aim for this book. I want you to be able to stand back, see your business through fresh eyes, and create a pitch that excites you, and will inspire others to do business with you.
[*Chapter &1& *]
First Things First
‘Engaging people is about meeting their needs – not yours.’
— Tony Robbins
&M&&any of us &start a business, charity, or movement because we have a skill, service, idea or product that we’re passionate about, and which we believe will be of value to others. This is wonderful, but if you are planning to make an income from it, you better establish a few things first:
In marketing, we focus on problems and pain points, because people are 95% motivated by fear of loss and just 5% by gain. If you have already done the work to identify your target market and their pain points, then feel free to skip ahead to Chapter Two, but if you want to be sure you’ve done it right, or you haven’t done this work yet, then read on.
What is your target market?
So, you have the thing that you are passionate about, that you think will help people… but which people?
Spend 10 minutes listing all the possible target markets that might benefit from your offering.
Once you have a list of all your possible target markets it’s time for a little bit of culling.
Cross out from your list any target market that is too small, or will not be able to afford (whether that is money or time) your product, service or idea.
This should have left you with a list of target markets that are large enough and will be able to afford your solution. But what would compel them to action? What is their pain point? Before we carry on, let’s just make sure we’re on the same page on what we mean by pain point.
What is a pain point?
People have problems that they want to solve, but generally these aren’t the underlying pain point. There is a method used in business called the ‘Five Whys’, which looks to get to the source of an issue, in order to resolve it permanently. We can use this same approach with our existing customers, or using the research we gather, to look below the surface and identify the root cause of our target audiences’ pain, as illustrated below:
OK, so we have our target list and we know what a pain point is. This is where we need to get down and detailed.
There are a number of ways you can go about identifying your customers’ pain points. Here are a few for you to try. See which is most effective for you in connecting with the people who will benefit from what you have to offer.
1. Social Media – What are your potential customers talking about?
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Reddit, LinkedIn, Google or another platform, people are sharing their problems (as well as what their goldfish had for breakfast, lunch and dinner), and these offer a great opportunity to gain insight into possible pain points.
As you may be aware, there is a seven to one ratio of sharing bad experience versus good. One unhappy customer will tell seven people, before the satisfied customer has reached one. Go and find your target audience and see what they are saying. Here’s some suggestions to get you started:
Once you have found your audience, monitor, or join in the conversation, and begin connecting with the people who might want you to help them.
2. Internet Searches – What answers are your customers searching for?
There are a lot of free and paid services available that enable you to lift the veil and see what others are searching for on the internet, and how frequently they are doing this. This is called keyword research. STOP! COME BACK! Right brain entrepreneur alert!
This message is for those of us who like the ideas, but not the detail.
‘Yes, you need to do this stuff… yes, it will make a difference, no, you don’t know intuitively what your customer’s issues are… and yes, I will get to the actions as quickly as possible.’
Apologies to the rest of you. Right, where was I… keyword research. (Just imagine 25-30 years ago when business owners were trying to find out this stuff. They probably had to go door to door, or organise focus groups, and now we just need to tap a few buttons.) If we can find out what people are searching for, we’ll know what problems they have and what language to use to demonstrate how our products and services can meet their needs. Here’s how to do it:
Go to an internet keyword search tool:
&Google AdWords Keyword Tool&&:& this used to be open to the public, but now they are asking you to open an AdWords account.
Free (thanks to Internet Marketing Ninjas for these):
&Ninja Search Combination Tool&&:& with this great tool you can develop a long list of different search queries. Then each query is linked to a Google query.
&MajesticSEO&&:& this pulls from Majestic’s giant index to provide many metrics that you can’t find anywhere else.
&SEO Book Keyword Tools&&:& you need to create a free account to access them, and these tools do a fab job.
&Bing Webmaster Toolbox&&:& like Google, Bing has a whole collection of keyword tools. The data will be taken from Bing itself, which means that you should be able to make relative assumptions about keyword popularity, as Google’s users are essentially the same.
&WordTracker&&:& this is a commercial application that offers a free tool on their front end. The free tool does look like it is mostly intended for you to sign up for the paid version, but it still provides a quick and clean interface for fast analysis.
&Keyword Discovery&&:& this is a cool little tool in that it presents its data set in a very large, easy-to-read table.
&Wordpot&&:& when you want to correlate metrics, Wordpot can help as it provides daily search volumes, which is not often offered by others.
&Ubersuggest&&:& Joe Hall over at Internet Marketing Ninjas loves this tool for keyword research, and finding out more about a topic. He uses ‘How do I?’ or ‘What does a…?’.
&KeywordSpy&&:& this is another commercial option with a free front end. With this tool you can search for not only word variations, but also similar words, and spelling mistakes. It is designed mostly for PPC, but can still be useful for just getting your lists started.
&SEMRush&&:& use this for pretty much any amount of research. It is great for competitive lookups as well as individual keywords.
3. Books, Blogs & Magazines – What are your customers reading?
Whatever your target market, you will find magazines, blogs, or questions about it on internet sites like Reddit or Quora, or newspaper sites. People are consuming this content to grow, learn, and find answers to their pain points. Once again this is a matter of searching information for questions, so that you can provide the right answers in the right way in your pitch, and your other content.
4. Building on the Five Whys – Questions are the Answer
It is so easy, and attractive, to make assumptions, about what will compel our target markets to take action. Ryan Levesque, in his bestselling book ‘The Ask Method’, says that doing nothing to find out what drives our customers, or assuming we know, will lead to loss of sales and potentially disengaged and unhappy customers. He has developed systems, which can be counter-intuitive, but deliver amazing results, just by investing time upfront in getting this piece of the puzzle fitting exactly. I would recommend you take a look at his book, to see how his systems can help you.
In the meantime, here are some more questions to build on the Five Whys, and the keyword research you’ve found:
Knowing the real pain and the implications will provide a strong foundation to create our killer elevator pitch. It will enable you to address the questions of ‘why do anything?’, and ‘why now?’ and will take you one step closer to success.
[*Chapter &2& *]
‘It is nice to have valid competition; it pushes you to do better.’
— Gianni Versace
&T&&o uncover why &your product, service, or idea is unique, you will need to understand what is out there already, and who your competitors are. The competition will also come in different forms: the company who is offering the same product or service, or one that seems unrelated but is also competing for your customers’ resources. If you have a small shop on the high street selling DIY equipment and materials, not only are you competing with any other retailers in the town, but also the big out-of-town stores, and the online suppliers. Or, if your service is logo design, people could come to you or they could go to a company like Canva, who offer the software that enables people to design their own. Different offerings, but essentially fulfilling the same need.
So, you need to do your competitive research … What products or services are available that fill the same need as yours? What are the USPs of your competition? What are their pricing models? etc. The answers to these questions will be a great help, but they’re not enough. They only consider the information up to the point of sale, and that is only half the story of why your competition might be winning business.
It is often said that it costs 60% more to get a new customer than to sell again to an existing one. The most successful businesses recognise that to secure customer loyalty (and therefore future sales), they need to build a relationship with people. Your competition may be winning business because of things they do during and after the initial sale, and if you only focus on their product, marketing materials and website, you may miss the fact that they make buying from them an extraordinary experience.
Try out some of these suggestions for researching your competition. Some are common sense and some are a little bit different, but they will all help you get underneath the bonnet.
1. To internet and beyond
You’ve probably done a quick search on your competition and checked out their web page, but you can get further insights at the sites listed below:
This is a cheeky little site that will show you the keywords and the Google adwords your competitors are buying.
Where you go when you want to check out where your customers might be going. Type in the search term and check out the results.
It’s a bit vain, it’s a bit Big Brother, but it’s also very useful… Get an alert set up for you and the competition and know when someone is talking about you.
2. Industry, market trends and conferences
If your company has a tech leaning then it’s worth visiting Gartner. They’re a firm that analyses the industry and predicts what will happen next. Other sources of trade and industry information can be found through associations and advocacy groups. Here you will find information about the people who are and should be your competition. You’ll also discover where the industry is going, and where the current gaps are that you might be able to fill. Here’s some suggestions to get you started: Compete, Hoovers, Keyword Spy and Alexa. You should also go to some conferences and visit your competitors’ stands to grab some literature, observe their interactions with customers, and have a look at their offering.
3. Social butterfly net
With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram becoming increasingly popular as marketing tools, you are likely to get the lowdown on your competition by tracking their mentions. Then there are the review sites like Trust Pilot and Yelp which will let you know where your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses are.
4. Ask your stakeholders
One of the best sources of information about your competition are your customers and your suppliers. When you get a new customer, find out who they used before, and why they switched. Exit surveys of customers are also extremely useful to find out who they’re going to and why. Although suppliers may be cagey, smart questions will enable you to find out some useful tidbits about your competition.
5. The competition
From hiring their staff, to watching who they recruit, to just plain calling them up… if you’ve got the hutzpah then you may just uncover all the strengths and weaknesses of your competition. No-one sings like a canary more than a disgruntled ex-employee (although you may have to take what they say with a pinch of salt). If you keep an eye on your competitor’s vacancies you might find out where they’re about to focus their energies, whether that’s new technology, marketing or customer service. And finally, if you have the nerve, you could just call them up, and ask questions from a potential customer perspective that may provide some very illuminating answers.
What’s So Special About You?
[_‘I have a friend who is very successful in business, and his motto is, “Don’t do what you can do. Do what only you can do.” First of all, you have to know what your specific, unique gift is and then you do that…’ _]
— Rob Lowe
&H&&aving done the &research into your target market, customer pain point, and the competition, the next step is to identify and maximise your unique selling proposition (USP). Some people say deciding on your USP is the most important business decision you’ll ever make, and I know a lot of business owners who agonise over finding this, so I wanted to break it down and give you some tips to make things easier.
What is a USP exactly?
Your USP is what makes your business stand out. It’s what makes you different from everyone else in the marketplace, and what builds your tribe of followers. It’s the answer to the question ‘Why should I buy from you, or donate to you, or join you?’, and if you aren’t able to answer that question quickly for people they will skip off to someone else who can.
I was at a conference, sharing the stage with one of my coaches, JT Foxx, and I noticed that he openly tells the audience that he is a polarizing figure… but this is part of his USP of being the No.1 Wealth Coach. He promises that he won’t tell you what you want to hear, he’ll tell you what you need to hear in order to help you achieve results, which links nicely to his tag line ‘powered by your success’. JT has a USP that is based on being the best, but that approach won’t work for everyone. The right USP will depend on you, your business size, your marketplace, or product.
For a lot of us it will be challenging to compete on product, or content quality alone, and if this is the case, then we need to shift the focus and show people what else we’re about. It’s a case of saying ‘Hi, we are passionate about “this”, and that’s why we’re different. If you like “this” then we’re the only game in town.’ When we know our market, our customers, our competition, and ourselves, we can change the game to favour our uniqueness. We don’t have to level the playing field; we can take it to a whole new ball park! (We still need to make sure our USP is addressing the market need, though. You will absolutely stand out if you’re the only trader selling umbrellas in the desert, but it’s unlikely you’ll get many sales!)
Defining your USP is all about attracting customers. It’s about showing why they should give you their time and money over everyone else. But it’s critical that you also deliver everything else that is expected of a successful business: a great product, and amazing customer service. A USP can make the difference between success and failure. If you can show why you are different, what your point of view is, how you see the world, and this is a golden thread running through your product, service, and then your promotion, customers will be easier to come by, and your tribe will gladly spread the word about what you do.
How do you find your USP?
Having done the work to find the pain points, and seen where your competition is positioning themselves, a gap may have presented itself. Alternatively, you may know instinctively why you are different, and what your competitive advantage is. For the speaking aspect to my business, I knew I was competing in a busy market place, but I could see that I had something to offer that was missing, and yet was something critical to speaking success. My USP is that, having been in comedy, theatre and business, I can show people how to add the vital ingredients of humour and entertainment to their talks and presentations. For anyone who wants to engage and entertain their audience more effectively, I’m the No 1 game in town.
For those who haven’t found it yet, below are some ways you can discover your USP. But before we do that, here are a couple of alerts:
Here are a number of different types of USP. Try them on for size with your business, and see which fits and feels best.
1. The Mash Up
The hit TV program ‘Glee’, brought the mash up to the masses. They take one hit song and combine it with another, to make something new and unique. To find your USP you can take two different things that work and combine them: like Groupon (coupons and the internet), or Krochet Kids (clothes and a conscience). Or, you can take something that is taken for granted in a different business sector and transplant it into yours to disrupt the norm. Think of Uber, with their technology and taxis, and the Dollar Shave Club (mail order subscriptions and razor blades).
2. The Analogy or Metaphor
Here you are looking for an analogy or metaphor that encapsulates the market, your values and the angle. An example of this is Studio Neat, and their ‘simple products that solve problems’. This, and their company name, immediately tells you that these guys make things that are neat and useful, and have developed a following accordingly. Another great one is Nerd Fitness, which beautifully captures the niche and the fun of this company.
3. It’s All About You
If you are struggling, then maybe you are your own USP? If you have a massive personality, or your product, service, or idea revolves around your credibility, then you may be your best selling point. It’s worked for plenty of people: Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Martha Stewart. These guys started small and made their proposition grow through the force of their personality and their passion and values. If you are authentic, no-one else will be able to compete.
4. Thin Slice the Audience
We have already mentioned one business that has done this: Nerd Fitness. This is about finding a narrow target audience that has never had a business cater to it before. If you can find this niche, and they can find you, it’s likely they will choose you because they will feel like you ‘get’ them, that you know their specific issues and problems. This also helps to simplify promotion, because if you have a super narrow target market, it’s likely you’ll know all the places they’ll hang out.
5. Super Niche
This is where you become a specialist in one aspect of your target market. I guess you could use me as an example again here. The speaking market is very large, but the number of people who can focus in on humour and performance in presentations is small. Although I cover off all aspects of presentation skills, this is a specialism that sets me apart from other speaking coaches.
6. What next?
When you’ve found your USP, try to come up with a few strong statements that capture it, perhaps coupled with some images that will help to bring it to life. Now’s the time to go out and get some feedback. Talk to five to ten potential customers and get their views on your examples to see if they get it, and what your potential brand makes them think, feel and say about your product, service, or idea. This should give you a good idea of the one that works.
Once you’ve developed your USP, your job is to spread the word, and communicate it clearly, and often. A great name, tagline, design and elevator pitch can tie everything together. Then you must live up to your USP every single day.
[*Chapter &4& *]
Creating Your Pitch
‘Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.’
— Bill Moyers
&S&&o, you have &the customer pain points clear, you’ve done a deep dive on your competition, and you’ve defined a USP that’s tested well. Now it’s time to get down to writing your elevator pitch. When I write pitches for my clients, I follow a potted version of the exact same steps that you’ve just taken, with the aim of getting to ‘know’ them and their product, business, or project. As I mentioned, sometimes the elevator pitch I deliver back makes them see their business with new eyes, and that’s because I can see it from a completely objective perspective. I can look at their baby and see it in the bare context of how it addresses the pain point, and what value it brings to people’s lives. I don’t have the baggage associated with the effort, and challenges, of bringing it into the world and looking after it once it’s there. When you get down to creating your pitch it’s important that you’re able to step back, shake off the beliefs, opinions and assumptions you hold about your ‘baby’, and start this process with the eyes of an outsider.
The other important point to make before we start is that this part of the process is where we need to tap into the creative part of you. For a lot of what we’ve done to this point, we’ve needed the critical side of you. We all have these aspects to us – ‘the Creator’ and ‘the Critic’ – our logical mind playing the role of the ‘Critic’, and our uninhibited, free-thinking ‘self’, the ‘Creator’.
The Creator’s job is to invent and express, and this part of you is intuitive, imaginative, emotional, playful, eager to explore, and not afraid to make mistakes. The Critic is concerned with improving and crafting. This aspect of you is intellectual, reality-based, analytical, goal-oriented and judgemental.
The Critic insists things be done right, and is very serious about it. It notices all the mistakes and wants them corrected. We need both sides of us to create our killer pitch, but they must be in balance – the Creator coming up with the ideas, and the Critic technically crafting the copy.
The secret to getting the best of these two characters is to train them to work independently of each other. If both are active at the same time the two sides conflict and the effectiveness of both is cancelled out. This can apply both during the writing of your pitch, when you’re practising it, and it can even cause problems when you are actually standing in front of someone and delivering it.
So, it’s important that when you want to brain storm, invent, or express, be the Creator. When you want to improve and craft, be the Critic only. Here’s a graphic I first used in my book ‘Cracking Speech Mate!’, with some suggestions to keep them in balance.
Ok, the baggage has been jettisoned, and you’re in creative mode, let’s fill that blank piece of paper that’s staring back at you, and create your pitch. There are generally two types of pitches, the general pitch, and the investor pitch, and they are similar but with some tweaks. I’m going to cover each of them separately in this chapter.
The General Elevator Pitch
Every pitch has some essential ingredients which aim to capture the output of the work you’ve been doing, and the attention of the person you will be connecting with. In order to ensure you have these in your pitch, and to help with the creation process, I’ve developed a framework which will guide you through these essential elements in seven simple steps. I think the framework will make your business, product or idea look cool to your audience, so I’ve called it the ICE-CUBE framework. Let’s rock this!
We start with the introduction. This is your response to the question: ‘So what do you do?’ In this sentence you need to cover your position in your company, charity or movement, and how your product, service, or idea solves the customer pain point. You need to answer the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question that will inevitably be in the other person’s mind. An example of ICE for my business would be:
‘I’m Sarah Archer and I show people how to make audiences laugh and double their sales.’
This covers my position, what I do, and how I address the pain point: in this case, increasing sales. Remember that your passion should come across and your pitch should excite you, otherwise there’s no chance of engaging your audience. People might not remember everything, but they should remember your passion.
Now we move on to the CUBE, starting with the competition element. This is the part where you talk about the problems and issues in the market place and how your competition falls short. Here is an example of applying this, again in relation to my business:
‘There are many people who can teach you public speaking, and all of them acknowledge the importance of humour and performance but none, that I know of, teach you how to create and apply humour and performance to your talks and presentations. That’s where I come in!’
This has set you up to talk about your USP, and here’s how I would apply the next step to my pitch:
‘I’ve got years of experience in comedy, writing, performing, speaking, coaching and business, so I’m uniquely placed to give my students the knowledge and skills to use humour to get maximum results. This means their audiences will be more engaged, and more likely to buy their product or service.’
If you have worked with some people the person may have known, or some big brands, then it would be good to add them in here, not to show off, but to add to your authority and credibility.
The next step is ‘Beat your Drum’. There are two objectives here. 1) To reiterate your USP through sharing your mission, passion and the value you create for your clients and customers, and 2) To add in a call to action. After all, there is a reason that you’re networking, and you should let people know what you want. You might be launching a new product, or trying to win over an employee or a client. Whatever it is, include it in this part of the pitch. Here’s my example below:
‘I’m passionate about creating remarkable speakers who deliver value, entertain, and earn powerful results. I’m just launching a new course, and I’m looking for people that want to have greater success in public speaking.’
Here, again, is an example that I might use when I’m networking:
‘What makes a speaker memorable for you and why?’
That’s the Ice Cube framework. Now let’s look at the investor pitch.
The Investor Pitch
The investor pitch is your quick-fire overview of your business plan and executive summary. It will cover similar ground to the general elevator pitch, but must cover off some additional points, including a high level of the financials, but it still needs to be short, and capture the investor’s attention in the same way the general pitch does. Like the general pitch, this is a taster of what you offer, but the objective of this pitch is definitely to get them salivating to hear more!
I have another framework to help you create this pitch in eight simple steps. Behold… the HOT MOOSE!
Ok let’s break this down.
You need to open your pitch with a ‘hook’, which can be either a question or a statement, with the intention of piquing their interest. So, if I were looking to do this for my business, I might open with something like this:
[_ ‘Public speaking is the number two fear for 75% of people… and 91% of executives, believe humour is important for career advancement … what if there was a product that taught you how to speak, and how to make people laugh?’ _]
Next, you’ll need to briefly describe your ‘offering’ – what it is that you sell. Please notice the word ‘brief’ here. In my pitch, this would be as follows:
‘My company offers a range of products do exactly that.’
The ‘T’ is for target market, and in this section you cover who you are selling the product or service to. What sector or industry is it, and how big is the market? I kind of addressed this in my ‘hook’, but I would reiterate this here:
[_ ‘I operate in the self-help market space, which is worth $11 billion in the US alone, and my primary target clients are women who make up 70% of the market.’ _]
After this we need to show how we are going to make ‘Money’. You must show the investor that you know your numbers.
[_ ‘I have multiple income streams from books and courses, to coaching and corporate work. This currently nets $x profit per annum, and I am projecting an increase of x% over the next xx years.’ _]
One of the most important things an investor will want to know is the credentials of the individual or team behind the product or service. In the ‘Our Team’ part you need to tell them about yourself, your team, your backgrounds, and successes. For my company, I would talk about the following:
‘With over 25 years’ experience in corporations, comedy, theatre, coaching and speaking, I have a unique set of skills that makes my teaching methods extraordinarily effective.’
Next, you should address the question that will be in the investor’s mind about the ‘Other Competition’ in the same market space. Show you know who they are, and what they have achieved, and don’t shy away from this as it demonstrates that the business model works. If you are first to market, then you’ll need to work harder to convince them that the venture will be successful.
‘The market has a lot of players. Big ones like the Dale Carnegie organisation, and Andy Harrington are able to offer speaking opportunities at their events to people who buy the training. So whilst the training may only be for a couple of days, the practical experience and branding opportunity are a great sell.’
Once you have dealt with the competition, it’s important to set out, or reiterate (if you covered it in the hook), why you, or your product or service are ‘special’ – how you differentiate yourself from the competition. Briefly set out the USP you came up with in the earlier exercise.
‘I’m different because I specialise in humour and performance, and my training is modular and supplemented by regular practical application and peer feedback opportunities. I won’t certify you to go on stage until I know you will absolutely kill it.’
The last step in the Hot Moose framework is ‘Engage’. This is the point where you ask for what you want, and show the return. Here is another example using my company:
[_ ‘I am looking for investment of £xx for xx% equity in the company, and I believe that this will provide an ROI of xx% over three years. Does that sound like a return you would be interested in?’ _]
Obviously, you will have different investor requests and models that you’ll use here, but this is exactly the place to put those and the ‘yes’ question, that will give you the opening to follow up.
And there you have the Hot Moose framework..
It’s time for you to put pen to paper and have a go at your pitch using either the ‘Ice Cube’ or ‘Hot Moose’ frameworks.
You will also want to make sure it is short and sweet. Try to keep it to between 30 to 60 seconds for the Ice Cube pitch, and between one and two minutes for the Hot Moose. Your pitch will be something that goes through several iterations before you’re happy with it. Keep working on it, saying it out loud, and getting feedback from people you trust, so that you’re 100% confident in what you’re going to say.
[*Chapter &5& *]
[_‘I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.’ _]
— Pablo Picasso
&I&&n this chapter, &I’ll be sharing examples of actual pitches that I’ve prepared for clients. There are three sections – products, services and investor – and I hope that these will offer some insight and inspiration for creating your own pitches. Although each pitch varies slightly, you will find the essential elements of the Ice Cube and Hot Moose frameworks present as they are relevant in each one.
Section 1: Products
‘We read advertisements… to discover and enlarge our desires. We are always ready – even eager – to discover, from the announcement of a new product, what we have all along wanted without really knowing it.’
— Daniel J. Boorstin
Example Pitch One
&Background:& This client was launching a new model of car ownership, and this was the initial pitch I wrote for the program. I later worked on the one-page investor summary and whiteboard script for this client.
The hook here was ‘revolutionise the car industry’, Your audience, no matter whether they’re sceptical or not, will want to know how. The pain point is around having more money.
The competition is dealt with by putting them in the ‘traditional’ (read ‘old fashioned’, ‘clunky’), box and highlighting the downsides.
Then comes the USP, and the benefits, which incorporates the company values and mission.
Lastly, the segue question is worded in a way that by answering, the audience is agreeing that the product will give greater flexibility, and choice.
I’m the CEO of [Company Name], and we are about to revolutionise the car industry, and save people lots of money.
The traditional models of car ownership either leave your hard-earned savings depreciating in your vehicle, or leave you tied-in to long term monthly payments, whether you use the car or not.
At [Company Name], our free membership program lets our clients choose which car, or whether they even have a car, on a month to month basis. When you[_ [Company Name]_] a car, all you need to do is insure it and we take care of the rest. We don’t do credit checks or mileage restrictions either!
Our members get a car when, and where they want it for one low monthly payment of $xxx.xx, and when they don’t need it the car payment stops. Simple!
At [Company Name] we are passionate about giving our members choice, freedom and outstanding service. With[_ [Company Name]_] you’re really in the driving seat.
What impact do you think more flexibility and choice in car ownership could have in today’s market economy?
Example Pitch Two
&Background:& This client was launching a beauty product subscription program and I knew that this needed to have a ‘Sex in the City’ meets ‘L’Oreal’ feel to the copy. I later worked on the whiteboard script and twitter bio for this client.
On this pitch the customer pain point is that busy women want to be pampered but they don’t have the time to make the arrangements. The hook is around the possibility of having it all. The wording here is very evocative and immediately creates an image in their minds. You can almost see Cleopatra bathing in the milk!
This product is unique and so we focused on further developing the pain point, before revealing the solution.
Then comes the USP, and the transformation for the customer: we do the work so you can have it all. This section is finished off with a great tag line, which the client could use in other marketing: ‘all the benefits of a spa day sent to your door’.
The segue question will really get the person to think how this product could positively impact in their life.
I’m the CEO of [Product Name], and we help women create an oasis of indulgence in their hectic lives.
In this 24/7 world, the days whizz by, and us girls don’t get the time to pamper ourselves, let alone the time to see what to pamper ourselves with! We say don’t worry ladies ‘cause there’s a new BFF in town and [Product Name] is here to create those care packages for you.
Each month our members get a box of carefully selected luxury products that will help them to unwind, de-stress and feel a million dollars again. We scour the marketplace for the coolest new creations and send them to our [Product Name] girls to enjoy some serious ‘me’ time.
With [Product Name] you get all the benefits of a spa day, sent to your door.
How do you manage to unwind after work?
Example Pitch Three
&Background:& I learnt a lot from developing this pitch! Who knew magnesium was so important? The hook here is the phrase ‘silent epidemic’, which immediately piques interest. The pain point being addressed is people’s ultimate worry over the impact of poor health on them and their family.
The next paragraph elaborates on the pain point and deals with the competition in relation to the other ways of getting magnesium into your body.
We next bring the company’s USP into play, and confirm their credibility by referencing their work with the big players in skin care. Their values are cemented in the next line before we move into the segue question. This question is likely to elicit a ‘Well, I don’t’ answer which will open the conversation up to discuss their current relationship with magnesium further.
I’m the Founder of [Company Name], and we help protect people’s health and wellbeing from a silent epidemic, so they can live life to the full.
In today’s 24/7 world, increased stress and poor diet are contributing to a magnesium deficiency across 80% of the population. Magnesium is a mineral used by every organ in our bodies, especially our hearts, muscles and kidneys. Magnesium deficiency is being called the silent epidemic, and people with insomnia, abnormal heart rhythms, or muscle related issues, could be suffering from low levels of magnesium. However, it’s very difficult to get sufficient magnesium into our systems through diet or supplements alone, and that’s where we come in!
At [Company Name] we make therapeutic magnesium bath salts, oil and cream, that help you absorb the mineral through your skin. They are 100% natural and contain no harmful chemicals. Having spent many years working for major Swiss and French skincare brands, we understand the importance of quality and integrity, and we ensure only the best products reach our customers.
We are passionate about two things: delivering great service, and improving the health of our customers through our magnesium rich range of skincare products.
How do you ensure you have the right levels of magnesium in your body?
Example Pitch Four
&Background:&This company and their products reek of sophistication with an artisan twist, and they were applying this blend to a traditionally male product in the world of business.
Quite often there is a trade off in the board room for women between beauty, style, and being taken seriously, which is the pain point for this company’s customers. The big hook in the opening paragraphs promises women something that will give them power without sacrificing their femininity.
The USP here is that the company has taken something male and repurposed it as something timeless, elegant, high quality, and especially for women. The positioning of their other product as a canvas also elevates the cufflinks to the status of art.
Once again the penultimate paragraph offers a great tagline for the business to use going forward: ‘Don’t dress for today – dress for the woman you want to be’.
Lastly, the segue question gets quite specific around the person’s experience of sourcing female cufflinks.
I’m the CEO of [Company Name] and we make business women feel empowered and beautiful.
We live in a world where how you dress has an impact on how others see you and how you see yourself. Paying attention to the little details will make you feel sophisticated, confident and ready to make things happen.
Until now cufflinks have been designed for men. Our aim is to redefine the cufflink for women, to create a stunning piece of jewellery for the sleeve.
Our unique, distinctive cufflinks are exquisitely crafted and made to last a lifetime. Our designs create feminine, elegant and unforgettable business accessories, and we also offer classic shirts which make the perfect canvas to show off your little piece of art.
At [Company Name] we say don’t dress for today – dress for the woman you want to be.
How difficult have you found it getting cufflinks for women?
Example Pitch Five
&Background:& This is a fun and innovative product that offers something currently unique in the marketplace. The pain point is that being outside in the sunshine can be damaging to your health, both from overheating and the sun’s rays.
The next part expands on the problem, and dispatches the competition because they can only offer half a solution. Which leads nicely into the USP and full solution offered by this company, along with the additional benefits.
We round off with a nod to all the potential key clients for this product and another potential tag line: ‘chilled, protected, and looking a million dollars’.
The segue question asks how they currently manage to tackle both dimensions of the problem of working in the sun, and this is likely to elicit either an ‘I don’t’ answer, or a more elaborate way of dealing with it.
I’m the owner of [Product Name] and we keep people cool, stylish, and protected while they work or play in the sun.
Today the sun’s rays are more dangerous than ever, causing sun burn, premature aging and skin cancer. Heatstroke is another problem for those that spend long periods in the sunshine. Sun cream and hats can offer protection, but they can’t keep you cool. That’s where we come in!
Our unique hats are UVP 50+ approved, and they contain a silent, solar powered compact fan, that starts working the second you step into the sun, to keep your head, face and neck cool. It’s like having a personal air conditioning system! Offered in a range of styles, they are also customizable to reflect your personality, or your event.
So, whether you’re a gardener, farmer, hiker, fisherman or just love spending time outdoors, our hats will keep you chilled, protected and looking a million dollars.
How do you manage to stay cool and protected in the sunshine?
Section 2: Services
‘It is the service we are not obliged to give that people value most.’
—James Cash Penney
Example Pitch One
&Background:& The hook for this pitch is that this company can save businesses thousands, and it’s unlikely that any business owner’s ears wouldn’t prick up at this claim.
This next point validates the scope of the prize on offer, and follows up by clearly setting out the issue. It also deals with the accepted antidote (and competition) to brain drain which is the succession plan.
As per our ‘Ice Cube’ framework, the next section covers off the company’s USP, the knowledge capture system. The paragraph after elaborates on the benefits, and advantages of the service, and in this pitch I’ve added another reference to the pain point to cement the fact that this product will save them pain, and give them the pleasure of increased sales.
Finally, the engagement question gets them to think about whether their company does anything to address this. Most likely they don’t!
I’m the founder of [Company Name] and we save businesses thousands of dollars in brain drain.
Fortune 500 companies lose roughly ‘31.5 billion dollars every year by failing to share knowledge*’.
This problem is highlighted when employees leave their job. Some companies have great succession plans in place, but in our experience, even these companies fail to close the loop and fully capture the knowledge of the employee who is heading out of the door. That’s where we come in.
[Company Name] has developed a unique knowledge capture system that facilitates the download of facts, information and even the vast warehouse of tacit knowledge stored in the head of exiting employee.
For the first time, companies have the means to retain intelligence and accelerate the effectiveness, engagement, performance and onboarding of new employees. Our approach is especially critical when there’s a gap in a replacement starting.
In today’s market economy, the proactive management of knowledge transition is essential for maintaining service levels and delivering top line growth.
How does your company manage this issue?
(*International Data Corp, 2004)
Example Pitch Two
&Background:& I must say I was a bit dubious about taking this brief at first, but it turned out to be a fun pitch to write, and hey… live and let live!
The pain point for this pitch is loneliness. This company is offering the opportunity to connect with others who enjoy the same things.
The next paragraph delivers a big blow (excuse the pun) to the competition, and the USP part describes the services in a bit more detail, and gives a taste of what joining the service could mean for these people who have been isolated, and unable to do what they’re passionate about.
I was surprised at the additional, practical benefits on offer with this service, and I wrapped up the pitch with those, before embarking on the engagement question which is another one it’s hard not to get into deeper discussion about.
I’m the founder of [Company Name] and we’re a company that connects people so they can live out their sexual fantasies and feel less alone. We give people the freedom to explore their foot and control fetish, whichever side of the power dynamic they fall on.
Why pay any more, when joining our service will connect you to others who will share the adventure for free? Our Doms experience the thrill of domination and the stress relief of finally being themselves, and our Subs get the attention they’ve been craving … but only if they’re good!
In addition to our matching service we provide bonus benefits to our members like discounted legal help, roadside assistance and beauty products to help make everyday life a little easier.
What’s your view on freedom of self-expression?
Example Pitch Three
&Background:& The customer pain point here is security, in many guises.
The competition is crushed by covering how they create the different forms of pain for the customer. This is the perfect set up to the USP which provides a solution to all the pain points, and creates even more security through the licensing and checking benefits.
Lastly, the engagement question invites the audience to share their own (probably poor) experience, that the conversation can build upon.
I am the Director of [Company Name]. We created an app that delivers an auto rickshaw to you at the touch of a button.
Using normal rickshaws can be an awful experience: waiting in the heat and rain, haggling over fares, never knowing if one will turn up. That’s why we started [Company Name].
With our app, we deliver convenience, certainty, and security for people who need a ride. Our drivers are checked, trained and treated fairly, so only the best become [Company Name] partners.
We are licensed by the Government, liked by other taxi drivers and loved by our customers.
How easy do you find getting a cab in the city?
Example Pitch Four
&Background:& This introduction has a very clear pain point. The word ‘sued’ is so powerful and evocative that the person you’re talking to is likely to immediately visualize courts, bad press and financial loss. In the next paragraph, we cement this vision with some hard facts about the potential impact.
This company doesn’t have direct competition, but the alternative would be to leave the surfaces untreated, something which the first paragraph should have dismissed as an option if you don’t want pain.
The key USP here is the technology, but we cover many additional benefits of doing business with this company, from the partnership approach, to the potential that the service might be free, to their genuine passion for stopping people from hurting themselves.
The engage question is designed to get the person questioning what safeguards they have, their risk, and their exposure, and it’s likely to result in a fruitful discussion for the pitcher.
I’m the President of [Company Name]. We protect our customers from the menace of accidents, injuries and being sued.
In North America alone over 300,000 men, women and children are disabled as a result of slips and falls each year, with the average compensation claim costing $50,000!
We have developed the technology to make any surface, from marble floors to bath tubs, slip resistant and safe. We use this to help our businesses clients comply with regulations, protect their customers and staff, avoid lost time accidents, and potentially get a tax break that makes it all free.
Our residential clients benefit from the peace of mind that comes from knowing their families are safe.
We’re so passionate about preventing injury that we offer everyone a free floor safety assessment, whether they buy our service or not.
What are your views on investing in accident prevention?
Example Pitch Five
&Background:& The pain point here is peace of mind. The introduction doesn’t just recognize that potential clients might feel overwhelmed; it gives them reassurance that they’re not the only ones.
In addressing their competition, they are already starting to position their USP, namely that they are a local firm that wants to serve the community, rather than simply making money out of people’s pain.
The aim of this pitch is to give people a real sense of what this firm is about. There are many, many tax firms out there, so we needed to make it very clear why you would want to choose this one.
A segue question about tax didn’t work here, so we asked a question related to the company’s USP, to drive the discussion around service.
I am the CEO of [Company Name] and we help clients resolve tax nightmares and regain peace of mind.
The number of Americans who are behind on their taxes is estimated to be anywhere from 8 million to 20 million. Owing the IRS or state local tax agencies money can cause immense stress, and people often feel overwhelmed, not knowing where to turn for help. That’s where we come in.
We’re not some faceless national firm making wild promises and ripping people off with high charges. We offer a comprehensive case review and report, with no obligation and completely free.
[Company Name] is a firm of trusted, licensed tax professionals serving the [Location] area, and we specialise in helping residents and small businesses solve their tax problems. We work with the tax officials to reduce our clients’ tax liabilities by up to 75%, and get a settlement agreement in place that allows them to get back on their feet.
At [Company Name] we take pride in serving our community. Clients can swing by our office anytime to discuss their case, and we keep our charges low so that we can do what we love: helping struggling tax payers have a better future.
How important is a personal service to you?
Section 3: Investor
‘Go against the grain, be resilient, even if everyone thinks you are crazy.’
— Travis Kalanick
Example Pitch One
&Background:& The hook for this pitch is the promise of something cutting edge, which in technology can generate a big return. The target and market size is covered with sufficient detail to show the homework has been done.
The credentials of the team are enhanced by the mention of the design award, and the fact that it is for the product they are pitching makes it all the more captivating.
All the variations of competition are dealt with, before setting out why this product will clean up in the market. Although there is no specific request for investment, this is mentioned, along with an invitation to see the product in action.
There are a number of psychological triggers for us humans, and one of them is scarcity; if we think we are going to miss out on something, it makes it even more attractive to us. Here, I have hinted that the opportunity to invest might be limited, which will (hopefully) make the call to action more urgent in the mind of the investor.
I’m the CEO of [Company Name] and we are creating the ultimate technology experience with our revolutionary, wearable, interactive controllers.
[Product Name] will launch in mobile gaming, because of market maturity, and in VR due to its expected rapid growth. Our market base is immense, but we will start with B2B to utilise existing content and distribution channels, and then move to B2C to increase market share.
With the strength of our team and our award winning design we have already captured attention, and we are close to signing MOUs with 12 companies.
Technology has evolved exponentially over the last 60 years, but interaction devices have not kept pace. Traditional controllers have buttons which are hard to see and complicated to master. Touch screens are unreliable, and the current ring motion controllers suffer from short battery life, inaccurate motion control, or involve unnatural motions which deliver a poor user experience.
[Product Name] is a smart, sexy, ring controller that makes you the master of over 70% of your smart digital devices, including phones, tablets, TVs and VR products. It has nine axis sensors that capture your every movement, and make it the most natural controller available. It has low power and noise technologies to give you long battery life and no annoying buzz, and its machine learning code ensures a completely personalised experience.
To see [Product Name] in action, and find out more about investment and partnership opportunities go to [website], but I wouldn’t hang around…
Example Pitch Two
&Background:& This pitch is for a feature film, and the producer had an upcoming meeting with a potential investor and wanted a pitch to nail the opportunity.
The hook for this pitch was different. I wanted to use a ‘trailer’ approach to capture the interest. (I could almost hear that cinema guy’s voice in my head as I wrote it.)
In the market section, we have shown not only the financial size of the overall market, but also the revenue generated from independent films, which, we point out, is growing.
The team paragraph inspires confidence that they have done their homework, and the nod to the ‘name’ actors’ interest in the project will give additional assurance.
Our competition here comes from bigger budget films and other independents, but both are addressed, and we show the USP of this product through the comparison with other similar independent films and the figures they have achieved.
Finally, the investment is asked for with the return set out clearly, and followed by the ‘yes’ question.
I’m the Executive Producer, Writer and Director of the independent feature film [Name]. This is the story of [Name], a woman who trades violence at home to soldier for freedom on foreign soil, only to find the biggest fight of her life is waiting in her own backyard.
Over the last 10 years independent film distribution has increased by 75%, and in 2012, independent films took 41.7% of the $10.8 billion box office.
The success of a film lies in the strength of the story line, audience segment appeal, and the cast. [Name] is a compelling, ‘real life’ based drama, with an underdog overcoming adversity theme, and interest from a number of ‘name’ actors to be involved in the project.
Independent films with a compelling story and well-written characters are outperforming the multi-million dollar blockbusters for investment returns across all distribution channels. This is a film that matches all the ingredients of other productions such as ‘Precious’, ‘The Blind Side’, ‘Antwone Fisher’, and ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, all of which grossed just under $700 million collectively.
With [Name] we are looking for a $xxx,xxx investment, and we are forecasting a net profit of $xx.xx million. Our investment partner(s) in this venture would receive their original investment, plus xx% and a xx% share of net profit.
How does that return sound to you?
Example Pitch Three
&Background:& In this pitch, we have compared the product’s impact in the construction industry to that of Uber in the transport service industry, which will pique any investor’s attention (even if it is cynically at the start).
The product offering is set in the context of a solution to a compelling problem, and in a way that is easily visualised by the person you are talking to.
The target and money sections are brief, but again show that the homework has been done, and the forecasts are tangible.
There is a brief nod to the team’s experience (which could be expanded on if the pitch was longer), before we decimate the competition, in the form of traditional building methods.
The USP for this product is compelling in terms of the environmental impact, and the speed of build, but there are many benefits and I listed a few of the biggest ones, before wrapping up and inserting a call back to the Uber reference in the opening.
In the engage section we have set out what the pitcher is looking for and introduced scarcity as a psychological trigger to get the investor to move quickly to find out more.
Introducing [Product Name], a patented modular building system from [Company Name] that is destined to be the ‘Uber’ of the construction industry!
In today’s market economy, finding ways to reduce this energy consumption and deliver environmentally friendly products has gone beyond the experimental phase to become a business imperative. That’s why we created [Product Name], a Lego-like building technology that solves our planet’s biggest problem, and makes building fun and simple, even for the DIY community.
At launch we will be targeting the residential market in Canada and the US, which has a value of $2.2 trillion. We are forecasting that [_[Product Name] _] will achieve 0.25% of this market in 2017, increasing to 18% market share in 2026. This will be achieved through multiple revenue generating models, including retail, licensing and franchise.
With a team that has worked in every area of the industry, we know that traditional construction methods do not create energy efficient buildings. In the US alone, $220 billion is spent on utilities and related services for buildings, and this energy consumption has a direct and devastating effect on the environment.
The [Product Name] technology can create high quality buildings that are 86% more energy efficient, in a third of the time it would normally take to build a house. They can be any type and shape, and they meet all regulations. The unique materials we use are lightweight, durable, temperature neutral, sound absorbing, waterproof, non-toxic and great for allergies. Oh… and statistics have shown that holding a green label on a family home will attract a market premium.
The design and technology of [Product Name] ticks every box: innovative, cool, sexy, versatile and very green. There is nothing else like it! This is a game changer for the construction industry, and the potential return on investment is phenomenal!
We are looking for strategic investment partners that have the networks and knowledge to increase visibility and awareness of [Product Name]. If that sounds like you, please get in touch.
You wouldn’t want to miss out on being part of the new Uber, would you?
*Chapter Six *
Delivering Your Pitch
[_‘I think people don’t like when you’re not confident about what you’re pitching, and they don’t want to invest in you or get behind you.’ _]
— Lori Greiner
&I&&f you’ve been &working through the exercises in the book, we should have reached the point where you have a pitch that you’re happy with in terms of content. The thing we need to work on now is delivery. Even a song with the sweetest melody, and the most beautiful lyrics, will be painful to listen to if the person singing it is tone deaf and blessed with the rhythm of a toadstool. We need your pitch to be full of your personality, to be exciting, engaging and memorable, and this means using all the communication tools at your disposal to get your message across.
I know that you’re probably thinking, ‘Tell me something I don’t know’, with your eyebrows raised and using a cynical teenage voice in your head… and that would be you using words, tone and body language to tell me that I just wasted your time and clearly didn’t respect your wisdom, knowledge, and experience. Yep, sorry about that but we don’t have as much conscious mastery of tone and body language, and it’s good to remind ourselves about it.
You’ll need to get completely comfortable with your pitch first off, and that means practising it, in front of a mirror, until you’ve convinced yourself you want to buy what it is you’re selling. It’s a delicate balance to strike, because you want your pitch to sound natural and conversational, but it also needs to be full of passion, confidence, and authenticity, and it needs to grab the attention.
What emotions do you feel when you run through your pitch? Does your product, service, or idea excite you? Are you proud of what you’ve achieved? Have you helped people change their lives? Do you feel frustration about the problem you’re solving? Are you convinced that you or your product will make a difference? Words don’t activate behaviours or emotions, and emotions are the ultimate communication link between you and the person you’re speaking to. If you’re not connected to your pitch then your audience won’t be either.
Next, we need to look at your body language. You can have the best words, the sweetest tone, and great passion and emotion, but your gestures and body language could be telling a completely different story. When you practise in front of the mirror, notice what your face is doing, what gestures you’re making, and how you’re standing. Everything should be congruent with the message you are giving, and convey your belief in what you are saying.
Practice your pitch every day, until you make it sound conversational, and do this in front of a mirror. Then keep doing it every day so that you’re ready when that opportunity comes up!
When you feel comfortable enough, video yourself doing the pitch. Does everything work together? Are you frowning when you should be smiling? Are your fists clenched? Get some trusted friends to review your pitch and get some feedback. I want you to have practised and rehearsed your pitch to the point that when you are standing in front of someone at a networking event, you are focused on being completely present and connecting with the other human in front of you, and not worrying about your message.
[*Chapter &7& *]
Networking and Relationships
‘The details are details. They make the product. The connections, the connections, the connections. It will in the end be these details that give the product its life.’
— Charles Eames
&W&&hen businesses are &bought and sold, one of the things that is considered an asset is the ‘book’, or client list. So much of the value of the company is tied up in the number of loyal customers it has, and whether we like it or not, networking is one of the key ways that our customer list grows. However, there is a distinction to be made between our ‘fans’ or ‘followers’ on social media, that we would define as being part of our ‘social capital’, and our network of relationships, which we would call our relationship capital. Social capital is all about reach and breadth, whereas relationship capital is narrow and deep. There is obviously value in your social network, but it is not an asset in the same way your email list, or your physical network is. So you need to get out there, no matter how daunting it can seem.
A few days before…
You’ve put in the work to create the most engaging pitch you can, and you’ve rehearsed so that you’re confident about your content and delivery, but you might still be feeling sick with nerves. Here are a few things you can do to help deal with this feeling.
■ Reframe Your Fear As Readiness
In its own way your body is helping you get ready to ‘perform’, and every time you think about your pitch, it sends a shot of adrenalin into your system. We don’t want to suppress this, because the adrenalin will make your brain sharper, your reactions quicker and ultimately your pitch more effective. What we do want to do is manage our thinking about the event so that our mind waits until we are just about to get there before the adrenalin is released.
■ Put It in Perspective!
There is war, famine and other worldwide problems and you are worrying about what people might think of you at a networking event. You don’t really have a problem … do you? When you think about the people living in war zones and losing loved ones daily, or those who are starving, your issue pales by comparison, doesn’t it? I’m not saying that what you’re feeling isn’t important, but when you compare and contrast it with what some people face on a daily basis, it’s not such a big deal. You are blessed to have such a great opportunity. Enjoy it and keep it in perspective.
Our imagination finds it very easy to play forward the experience and create a whole host of negative things that might happen before we do something new. So why don’t you use it in a better way and spend a few moments in the few days leading up to the networking event to visualise yourself meeting people, engaging with them, and delivering your pitch. See yourself feeling excited but calm and in control, getting a great reaction to your pitch, and making a genuine connection with the person you’re talking to. By doing this over and over again you will be counteracting any negative thoughts and creating a positive memory template for your mind to draw upon which will help you to relax and prepare for the real presentation itself.
■ Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway!
Remind yourself of why you are going to the event and acknowledge that the benefits outweigh the momentary discomfort. Don’t let the feelings stop you from doing what you want, as Robert Dilts, an NLP Practitioner, says: ‘You don’t want to get rid of the butterflies; you just want them to fly in formation.’
Make genuine connections
Whilst you always aim to bring your authentic self to the table on any platform, it is critical that when you meet people face to face, you are ‘real’, genuine, and interested in them first. You pull your pitch out when the person asks about you – it is not the first thing that should pop out of your mouth. As in most things, preparation for networking is important, not only for getting your pitch honed, but for knowing your audience, and having something engaging to open the conversation with.
There are numerous ways you can start a networking conversation: you can ask a question, give a compliment, or make a statement. Keeping abreast of current affairs is incredibly useful for questions and statements, but it is imperative that you know your audience, and taking the age-old advice of staying away from politics and religion is generally a sensible thing to do.
In my experience, people are more interested in the questions you ask than what you have to say about yourself. If you have intelligent questions that make them think and hold some relevance to what they do, or are trying to do, so much the better.
If you decide to go with a compliment, then please make it an appropriate one! Stay away from looks (unless they’re a model), and focus in on something they did, said or wrote. Try also not to be obvious, and steer clear of platitudes they’ve heard a thousand times before.
Another tip is that if you engage someone for 10 minutes before they ask what you do, then it’s likely you’ve made a strong connection. Obviously, when you pull out your killer pitch, this connection should only become stronger! Please remember to exchange details, as the next important thing to do takes place after the event.
The Follow Up
Within a few days of the event, reach out to the people you met, say how nice it was to meet them, and add some value. Send them an article, quote, or something that resonates with what they are trying to achieve. Work the relationship so that it becomes an asset for both of you, and you make a genuine connection to someone you’ll be able to count on in the future.
Go Forth and Prosper
Congratulations for getting to the end. I hope you’ve found this book useful, and you will apply the steps to growing your business and building some great results and connections.
About Sarah Archer
Sarah Archer has a unique combination of experience in business, writing, comedy, theatre and coaching.
She has written and performed comedy all over the UK, including two solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe.
She is a published playwright, and her play ‘Dearly Beloved’, which was performed across the UK, and at the Edinburgh Fringe, is now published by Lazybee Scripts. She is working on her next play, ‘Crunch’.
Sarah’s courses on speaking and presentation skills have empowered people to overcome their fears, become funnier, and present powerfully. She also coaches individuals to fulfil their potential to engage, entertain and earn. Her book, ‘Cracking Speech Mate! – How to use Humour to make you an Amazing Speaker’ is available on Amazon in e-book format, and in paperback from http://www.lemon-squeeze.co.uk .
Sarah is also an international speaker, and utilises her experience, expertise and engaging style to cover a variety of talks on change, engagement, diversity, and the power of humour and fun in business.
Find out more about Sarah at www.saraharcher.co.uk
I would like to thank the following people for their encouragement, influence, love and support. Without them this book wouldn’t be here.
To Emma – thank you for always keeping the ship steady, and pointing in the right direction.
To my family, for the continued support and excitement.
To my daughter and friend Izzy – you exemplify the fact that wisdom doesn’t always come with age.
Thanks to JT Foxx and his team for powering my success, and Jeff Walker for showing me the way.
Thanks to all my friends and supporters, as ever, for your valuable feedback and support.
To Doug – it looks fab. Thanks!
Finally, thanks to all the clients who have trusted me with their business propositions.
Do you want to learn how to create and deliver an elevator pitch that gets results? Do you want to discover simple, repeatable techniques to give your pitches punch? Then you need ‘Straight to the Top!’ Seneca said “luck is when preparation meets opportunity”. JT Foxx, The Number One Wealth Coach, says “that takes one person, one opportunity, one deal to change your life” When you meet someone and they ask “so what do you do?” you have 30 seconds to grab their attention… to engage them and showcase your business or opportunity. Are you ready? Straight to the top will show you how to: • Identify your target market(s) and work out their pain point(s) • Analyze your competition and work out where your niche lies • Discover and define your Unique Selling Point • Use simple frameworks for creating killer elevator and investor pitches • Learn from real product, service & investor pitches, deconstructed so you can see why they work • Enhance your delivery for maximum impact • Increase your networking effectiveness Copywriting Client Feedback: “Your work blew me away! I am amazed at how you made each of my requests unique, clever, inspiring, and on-point.” “Sarah is a true writer with incredible skills. From knowing my product for just 2 days, she wrote a Pitch as if she has been involved from the inception of the product.” “Sarah did a great job doing something I have been struggling with for ages. It’s hard to communicate in words sometimes what you do without sounding wishy washy and Sarah helped take care of that.” About the Author: Sarah Archer has a unique combination of experience in business, comedy, theatre and coaching. She has written and performed comedy all over the UK, she is a published playwright, author of ‘Cracking Speech Mate!’, a copy writer and an entrepreneur. As a coach, her courses have empowered people to overcome their fears, become funnier, and present powerfully.