When you look in the mirror, you probably don’t see a sales person. But you are in fact “pitching” on a regular basis.
You’re pitching ideas to clients and transformational outcomes to potential
clients and buyers.
You’re pitching to old and new media—traditional outlets, bloggers, podcasts, video shows, webinar hosts and the like.
You’re pitching potential alliance partners—referral sources, project partners and publishers.
So whether you’re writing a proposal, asking to be a podcast guest, requesting an interview or even a blurb for your book, improving your pitches can pay off immediately
Here are six ways to make your pitches more powerful and compelling:
Pitch what THEY value.
As with most things in life, you get what you want by helping others get what they want. Put yourself deeply into their headspace—what rings their chimes that you can deliver? Clients want help solving their big problems. Reporters want pithy, fast, reliable commentary. Podcast interviewers want guests who will be interesting and easy to work with.
Read (or watch or listen to) their stuff.
This legwork is how you can pinpoint exactly what your target values and serve it up to them on a platter (think the opposite of those spammy requests that clutter up your inbox). Using some of their language and keywords will make it obvious that you’ve done more than a casual survey of their content and point of view. This also gives you great pitch ammunition, as in “Your interview with Sally Brandmeister In your ‘cultural brilliance’ episode teased out several insights I can’t stop thinking about” which you then link to your pitch.
Frame your “ask”.
After you’ve done your homework, you’ll know enough to frame your request within the space your target usually occupies. So if you’re an expert on say team leadership and you’re pitching to a podcast for start-ups, you’re toast if you can’t frame it so an entrepreneur will bite.
Think brevity and clarity.
Please don’t tell them your life story unless you’re pitching your memoir (and even then just lead with the hook). You want to put your ask right up front—ideally in the first sentence or two, because if you don’t do it there, it’s unlikely they’ll keep reading. Keep it simple—one “ask”, one clear trail of breadcrumbs.
Be clear on what you uniquely bring to the party. Think of this as
connecting the dots for the object of your pitch—why are you exactly the right resource? Don’t be afraid to show your personality—it’s a lot harder to ignore a clever request that hits their bulls-eye. This is the time to own—and share—what makes you exactly who they need right now.
Lead with confidence (knowing rejection isn’t personal).
When you’ve prepared fully, leading with confidence is your best bet. My favorite pitches are the ones that are filled with quiet or even quirky confidence (like this one from a VA: “I’ll organize anything you need so your business runs smoothly, including your sock drawer, because your focus should be on your magic, not the day-to-day tasks that keep it afloat.”) And if they still say no (or worse, ghost you), accept the no graciously and move on.
The art of pitching is all about helping others get what they want
. When you frame your ask in their best interests, you’ll hear “yes” far more often—and build some great relationships along the way.
Related: Specializing Alone Won’t Make You An Authority