Pitching your company’s products or services to prospective clients is arguably the most important step in building a successful business. In order to grow your business and client list, effective pitches are essential.
Some of you reading this may feel like pitching to new clients is the most anxiety-inducing task that you take on in your day-to-day work (I was like that for a long time), but I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’m not referring to a “secret trick” or “hack”, either. I’m talking about good old-fashioned planning. The biggest mistake people make when pitching to new clients is that they don’t plan enough, and if they do, they tend to focus on things that don’t matter.
I want to share with you the basic pitch outline that I’ve used in my service-based business that gets to the point and lets prospective clients know what I bring to the table. And don’t worry, if your business focuses less on services and more on physical/digital products, these principals can work for you too.
Introduce Yourself and Your Company
This may seem obvious, but in reality, this first step can make or break your pitch no matter how well you’ve planned. It’s crucially important to make a good first impression on your prospective client.
Introduce yourself by name, let the client know the company you work for and the position that you hold there. In addition, in step one, give a brief overview of the services you offer your clients. This can be very general, as the next step dives deeper into what you are selling.
For instance, I work in the SEO and content marketing space, so that’s exactly what I say to the client in my first step.
Offer Your Value Proposition
So far you’ve made a great first impression with a professional introduction to yourself and your business, but that’s not why you scheduled this meeting. It’s time to outline how your company can solve the prospective client’s problem.
Of all the steps, this is probably the most important because it will set you apart (or not) from your competition. This is where you get into the nitty-gritty details of how you can solve their problem better than other companies like yours. This, in a nutshell, is your value proposition.
For the second step of my pitch, I usually talk about specific tactics that I use that make my services special. In my business, this could mean laying out for the client how I can optimize on-page SEO for their site, or explain how I go about getting backlinks from relevant websites to increase the brand exposure and visibility.
The key here is to set yourself apart. The chances of your company offering services that no other company can are very slim, so it’s how you get results that will win you new clients.
Show Your Previous Results
At this point, your potential client should have a great idea of what you do and how you do it. This is when you will want to back up your claims using examples from your previous/current clients. This can be done in a couple of ways.
One way, and in my opinion the best way, to show proof of your product or service is by backing it up with real data. For my business, I can often point to increased click-through, conversion, or organic traffic rates as proof that my tactics have improved my clients’ businesses. For website data, this can be done with analytical tools. One of the most popular tools in this field is Google Analytics
Depending on what your company does, however, it may make more sense to use client testimonials as proof of your success. With a current customer’s permission, you can use a inspiring quote from feedback they have given you in the past, or for a more straight-forward approach, ask a satisfied client to actually write a testimonial for you. If you’ve added value to their lives, this shouldn’t be too big of an ask.
Let Your Prospective Client in on Your Plan
This is a very important step as well. If your pitch has been successful so far, your potential client is eager to hear what you have in store for them, so explain!
Weeks before the pitch (hopefully), you learned about this prospective client’s needs and should have a pretty good idea of how you can help them, so give them the details so they can see that you’ve already invested time into their company without expecting anything in return.
Here’s an example of what I might say to a client who wants me to help generate traffic for their site: “As you know I do specialize in SEO, so I took a look at your site just to check on how optimized it was for traffic. I noticed on pages X,Y, and Z that your keyword is mentioned too many times. Because of this, the first thing I would do if hired would be to go through all your articles and pages and optimize them for the keywords of your choice, which may mean actually removing certain keywords entirely from some pages.”
You see, by letting them in on my plan and giving them some value (by letting them know their keyword density is too high), I can establish some credibility and a more personal connection with my prospective client’s needs.
Display Your Plan Proudly
This is the final touch, and the most fun! By going through these steps you’ve fully prepared yourself to give a confident and engaging pitch. As far as presentation of this pitch goes, do what is most comfortable to you.
Some people may prefer to study hard before and speak from heart during the pitch (not me). Others may choose to actually build a presentation in order to use visual aides and to keep the pitch on course.
I personally prefer to build some sort of presentation, whether it be a binder-version of my pitch or even a PowerPoint presentation. If this sounds more like you, you may be interested in services like SlideModel.com for professional presentation designs, or just SlideHunter.com if you are looking to download a bunch of free PowerPoint templates. These services offer pre-designed PowerPoint templates so that you can focus less on great design and more on the content of your pitch.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, you can start designing your presentation from a pre-baked Pitch PowerPoint template, which will help to save time. However you decide to package your pitch, remember that if you followed these steps closely, you have all the information you need to win over a new client.
This pitch plan has worked for me in my content marketing business, and I think it would translate well to whatever services or products your company offers! As long as you focus on adding value to the client during the presentation and bring attention to your company’s special offerings, your next pitch meeting will go smoothly and you might even add a new client to your list.