I’m going to venture a guess and state that one of the most difficult things for you to do is to pitch your company or services to someone over the phone or at a show. Why this guess? Because pitching is the number one concern of any small business owner. There are a multitude of books and articles that tell you how simple pitching can be, but none of those things are true, are they?
If you’ve ever been on the other end of a line of questioning, you know that there’s nothing easy about selling what you do. Selling becomes even harder if what you do isn’t widely understood, or you’re talking to someone that doesn’t work in your industry. So how can you effectively pitch? Here’s what works well, but you’ll have to perfect that pitch on your own – and according to the person you’re speaking to.
1. Make it concise. The more words you use, the more you stumble over those words, and (let’s be honest) the more you wind up with something that’s just plain confusing.
2. Ask yourself what it is that you do. Really. Once you’ve answered yourself, put that thought into two or three sentences, on paper. Read those sentences out loud. Do you sound clear? Is it obvious what you do? Would you understand yourself? If not, start editing.
3. Be confident in what you do. For some reason, many of us can get tripped up in creating the perfect pitch so much that we start to lose confidence in what we do. If you have a product that people need or want, or you sell something that you’re good at doing, you have every right to be confident. Don’t let someone shake you.
4. Realize that some pitches won’t go well. A client could catch you off-guard, you might have had too much coffee, you could be multi-tasking, you may just be having a bad day. All of these things can lead to a pitch that’s flat or just plain confusing. If you don’t get the business, so be it – it wasn’t meant to be, and it’s not the end of the world.
5. Don’t correct people. Every day, I hear people spouting off facts that are nothing more than fiction or simply mass believed truths that are really ridiculous. I could correct those people, point out why they are wrong, and move on. But, if you’re trying to network or pitch your product, being the smartest person in the conversation isn’t the way to go.
6. Stick with the facts. What have you done for other companies? What does your track record point to? Give facts and figures.
7. Avoid the “trying to get information” trap. It’s a complete waste of time when someone feigns interest in what you do – just to try and get some information that they can use on their own, or they can try to hire someone cheaper to do.
Sure, people will want to know how you do what you do, but don’t give up all of your secrets. A good way to get around this is to try and provide examples of what you have done for other people – but be as vague as possible. There are information vampires out there, so beware.
8. Don’t waste your time. You should treat everyone as a prospective client, but don’t waste your time with people that clearly aren’t interested in what you do or what you’re selling. Some people just want to talk and network, but recognize the purpose of the call right away.
9. Ask questions. This might be the biggest mistake that business owners make. The person you’re trying to sell to might have questions for you, but there’s no rule that you can’t ask a few of your own. Be ready, ask questions, and find out what you need to know.
Selling at the Show
A trade show floor is just like any other sales process. You have to pitch your product or service to the person that has approached your exhibit booth. The beauty of the trade show is, though, that you can literally practice your pitch on hundreds of people that walk by your exhibit booth, and by the tenth person you’ll have that pitch down perfectly. What could be better practice than standing behind an exhibit booth?
All you need when attending a show is a great pitch, the right objectives and plan, and an excellent exhibition design – and we can help you with that. When it comes to exhibition design, we offer everything from portable booths to more complex booths. In fact, exhibition design is what we are great at. We can create a custom display that matches your exact expectations, so make sure to let us know what you have in mind when it comes to a custom display – or let us know if you’d like help designing that custom display.
Reach out to the Blazer team here on this blog, or find us on Facebook for some additional details.