Your pitch is not a selfie — How to stand out

SelfieYou take a selfie why? Because it’s a thing. And no matter how hard you try you can’t have your selfie look like me, your neighbor, or your bestie.

Not that you’d want that anyway.

You are unique and unless you have a twin, you are probably happy looking like you and having your selfie look like you, (famous beautiful person envy aside.) Or you’d throw away that selfie stick and take pics of other people and show them off.

When you stand up in front of a room at a networking event, unless you’ve taken my pitch class or have read up on how to make your pitch unique, most likely, you will sound like another couple or few other attendees who offer similar things.

And it might hit people like an audio selfie; “me, me, me, this is who I am.”

Or it sounds more like, “I am just like the other coaches/realtors/financial planners in this room. Thank you.”

Admittedly these situations are not ideal but if networking is a thing you do to get new business, a necessary evil.

Problem #1: most networking groups (LeTip and BNI excepted) don’t allow only one of a type of business in their membership. I think that’s a good thing. If there is only one photographer and she specializes in family portraits but I want a head shot, I’m going elsewhere to find my photographer. In addition, sometimes we don’t have chemistry with the person how owns or represents the service we want.

Don’t you do research when looking for a service provider before talking with them about your needs? Me too and yes, me too on the “way too much” at times.

So problem #1 isn’t really a problem. Not knowing how to stand out is.

Problem #2: you don’t get a whole lot of time to grab people’s attention and tell them what you do and who you do it for. Unless you are the speaker for that meeting, you will likely have somewhere between 30 seconds and one minute.

A 30-second pitch has about 80 words, depending on your delivery. That’s just 8 more than the above paragraph. If you are not the first person to pitch, aka introduce yourself and your service or product, you run the risk of being in the same or similar business as a few of the people who went before you.

Most people will start with “Hi, I’m Roger. I’m a financial planner and I work with families, retirees, people getting ready for retirement, millennials.” And so on. Mucho blah blah, no mucho information my brain finds interesting, (and a clear indication that there is no niche, so little chance someone who wants an expert who can relate to them — retired, not yet retired but close and haven’t saved a dime, Millennial who realizes it’s time to start saving for a family, solo-preneur, etc. Do you see the importance of having one category of people to pitch to if you want ideal clients?

Okay back to the pitch perfection part. Hook them in with your first few words then hold them through to the call to action. I’ve spoken about powerful vs lame calls to action, you can find that article here.

You’re a distributor for essential oils, let’s say. Your temptation might be to start out as did Roger above, with your name and what you do, how amazing your products are. How about this instead: “75% of families will get sick at least twice this winter, most will end up on medication. Not in my house, not anymore. I’m Jennifer Jones and I help families stay well throughout the year with all natural, organic, affordable essential oils. I work with busy moms in person or via skype. I also offer classes. I’ve got a few samples, meet me in the back and indulge your senses. I’ll tell you more.”

The first way has little connection for an audience member because it’s all about you and what you love about what you do, etc. Make it about them first.

Here are the 5 elements of the best pitches:

  • Hook
  • Your name and business name if you have one, and have time, but it’s not necessary
  • Your product or service name or description
  • Who you work with and how
  • Call to action

Simple, right? It will be once you try it a few times. You’ll need a couple or even a few different pitches for the different audiences you are speaking to; so plenty of time to play. Earlier I said you have to have one target audience, but I didn’t say you can’t serve more than one audience. You just don’t get ideal clients by running through a laundry list of market segments in a few seconds. Have a slightly different pitch for your different audiences. In Roger’s case either it’s an audience filled with pre-retirees or he may be speaking to a room full of tech experts. They are likely to be a younger than that and need different kinds of financial advice.

Next room you are in, listen for the same/same, take note when someone actually has you interested in what they said, whether you need the service or not. How did they hook you?

Use the 5 best pitch elements and get to work. I promise if you take the time to use this formula, you’ll stand out in a crowd of selfies.

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