In order to progress from being a start-up business to a growing company you will need a perfect sales pitch. It is handy to have pitch planned out, it will allow you to organise your thoughts and help you realise your business’ potential. Not only can a well-prepared and informative presentation work well in an ‘on the phone’ sales environment but it is also an invaluable asset when networking, sending out a direct mail campaign or applying to your bank for a business loan. It is very important that you tailor the pitch to the audience, this is ‘presentation one-oh-one.’
As an online invoice finance provider we have a lot of experience in pitching our business solution to potential clients and investors. Here are some of the steps that we take when preparing a pitch:
- Remember your business plan
Be sure take a look at your business plan when thinking about your pitch. Business plans are decision-making tools. There is no fixed content for a business plan; it is all subject to goals and audience. A business plan represents all aspects of the planning process; declaring vision and strategy alongside sub-plans to cover marketing, finance, operations, human resources and legal plan when required. Remember: a bank won’t look twice at a loan application if you don’t have a business plan. Here are some tips for writing a business plan.
- Know the client and therefore their goals
If you know the client well, you’re in a great position to make a great pitch. If not, take the time and do a little research on the client/company/individual that you will be pitching or talking to. Get to know their product, company, or publication. Google them, find out more via LinkedIn, contact others in your network that know the client. The more you know, the better your pitch. If you are just attending an event, such as a networking breakfast, do some homework on the type of industry players that will be attending, thus helping you to find your target market, (the event’s website is always a good place to start.) By understanding what your target does you will begin to understand what the client hopes to achieve. You need to pinpoint how your business will help them meet those goals. Think about what service you provide that they couldn’t possibly do without. Talk to others, read their website, learn their message from promotions, marketing and advertising.
- What is your business’ message
Get it clear in your head what your business stands for and what is the main benefit that makes your offering attractive. Think of how you differ from your competitors and why you are better than them. For example MarketInvoice is very different to the main short-term source of working capital finance, factoring. Our three main advantages are flexibility, cost and scope. Remember the key points of your offering and think how that relates to your customers’ needs and interests.
- Prepare for the cross-examination
You would be foolish not to anticipate objections or questions the audience might raise. As you become more adept at pitching and have done it a few times you begin to know the type of questions you will be asked. Decide whether to put the answers in the pitch or just have them ready.
- Let the figures do the talking
Collate facts and figures to support your argument. Statistics can be used to show how successful your venture is/going to be, they can highlight your growth and also indicate the popularity of your business service. When pitching your business make credible projections and be prepared to defend them.
- Steps to take when starting your business (thestartupmag.com)
- Alternative Ways of Raising Finance for Start-ups (thestartupmag.com)
- The Darwin theory of start-ups (thestartupmag.com)