Crafting a Pitch That Drives Results
It does not matter if you are in sales, marketing, IT, are just starting out in your career, or own your own business. Learning how to pitch products, services, and most importantly yourself is the most valuable business skill you will ever learn.Throughout the past four years, I have pitched countless times and also have people pitch to me.
Through trial and error, I honestly felt I had this thing down until I started pitching for my personal brand Slaydy. Let me tell you, when you’re pitching yourself without a recognizable brand or business to back you up, that’s a whole other level of difficulty. Below are my tried and true tips that have helped me along the way both at the marketing agency I work for and also for Slaydy. Pitching really is an art and can always be tweaked and perfected. I’m sure in 6 months to a year, I will follow up with even more valuable tips that I have learned but for now, this is what I know and I hope it helps you too.
Ask For A Referral
Getting a referral is a much more effective way to get in the door than cold emailing or calling someone. I typically get referrals using the 2 tactics below.
LinkedIn Prospecting- LinkedIn is my go-to tool for finding solid prospects and asking for referrals. I typically start out by ‘mining’ my best contact’s prospects. These are my strongest business acquaintances that know me and my work well and would be willing to refer me in. I have done a considerable amount of networking throughout the years and have also volunteered my time on multiple committees and boards for manufacturing and women-related causes so my network is strong. I will start by going through their connections and seeing if there is anyone that I would like to be introduced to. I make a list of 3-5 people (don’t want to be too greedy), and ask my acquaintance if they would refer me in.
Since I am only asking people I know well for referrals, they are more than willing to introduce me in. I always make a list of 3-5 because I never know where my contact’s relationship with these individuals stands. They very well might not know one of the people well or have a strained relationship with another so it is important to make a list of a few prospects so you have a better likelihood of at least getting one referral. Also, I am constantly referring my connections into other businesses too. You cannot be in a one-sided relationship. You have to give referrals to others in order for people to reciprocate.
Mass Message People In Your Network- Every once and a while, I email key individuals I know from networking groups or boards I am on asking if they know of any individuals or companies that might need my service. When doing this, you need to be very specific about the ideal prospects you are targeting in order to get good leads from your network. Paint the picture of what your ideal client or customer looks like i.e. age, industry, job title, opportunity indicators, etc.
Another thing I tried out recently for Slaydy is asking for feature suggestions on Instagram. I shared a coordinated photo and said in the caption section that said “Hey all! I want to start a series on my blog called #womenownedwednesday. Know any amazing businesses run by women that deserve a shout out? Leave suggestions in the comments or DM me.” I got great feedback from friends, past colleagues, and strangers regarding women I should feature. I was able to reach out to women business owners saying that "‘Patricia from her Orange Theory class’ or her ‘sister Becky’ suggested her. Having a personal touch and knowing people in my prospect’s life makes them way more likely to connect with me. I’ve gone from being that young girl with a blog to someone they should pay attention to with that little touch.
I should note that I think that a social media ploy like this worked for my brand in this instance because I am adding value. I am interviewing businesswomen and giving them a voice and also free press. Who doesn’t love that? If you are selling Rodan and Fields or selling business coaching, this type of ploy could come off too strong and salesy. Instead, giving away a free eBook or free samples of product could be a better way to ease them into your brand without feeling like you are only making them reach into their pockets.
My #1 Tip If Your Contact is Doing The Intro To Refer You In
Many times, if I am being referred in by my contact, they will want to do the introduction. I love when people do this for me because it gives me credibility. However, when people are introducing me in, a lot of times they will get caught up in their day-to-day lives and not send the referral email as quickly as I would like. It could take a while with multiple reminders from me for my contact to write the referral email they promised. What I do to combat this is a tip I learned from my friend Caleb Townsend. I write my own referral paragraph. Now, I’ll be honest with you. When I first heard this tip, I thought it was crazy. But let me tell you it is super effective for 2 reasons:
People are busy and appreciate that they can literally copy and paste, send this referral email, and cross it off their to-do list.
I can control the messaging and make sure that I am being referred in exactly how I would like to be introduced.
Below are two examples of mock emails I would send, both for a marketing agency referral and a Slaydy referral.
After someone refers to refer me in via introduction email, I always start my email like this:
[Insert Name], Thank you for offering to refer me into [Insert Prospect Name] at [Company]. Below is a mock introduction paragraph of how I am typically introduced. Feel free to use it, tweak it, or write your own introduction if you wish.
Marketing Agency Introduction Example:
I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Allison Miller, of Felber PR & Marketing. Allison helps manufacturing sales managers like yourself fill in the gaps in their sales cycle through targeted content and marketing automation. I have known Allison for many years and also know many of her clients. I can say confidently that the work she and Felber PR & Marketing do drives lead generation and customer acquisition. If you would mind if she reached out to you directly?
*Note I always hyperlink my name to my LinkedIn profile and my company name to the agency’s website so the prospect can research me easily.
Slaydy Introduction Example:
I would like to introduce you to my friend, Allison Miller. Recently, she launched Slaydy.com, a resource for career-focused millennial and gen z women. She is starting a series of articles called “Women-Owned Wednesdays”. Her goal with the series is to shed light on cool brands and the powerhouse women behind them. I immediately thought of you when she told me about it. I think that you have a story that needs to be told and that your clothing line deserves recognition. If you are interested in learning more and possibly participating in an interview, please let me know and I will have Allison reach out to you directly.
In closing, I want wrap up with a few more important things:
Research The Company & Contact Before Pitching- I get pitched to on LinkedIn in all the time by people who I can tell really haven’t research the agency I work for. Either the agency isn’t a fit for what they are pitching or I am not the correct contact for what they are selling. It is important to not only make sure that the company is the right fit for what you are offering, but also that you are talking to the right person!
Personalize every pitch- People are smart and can tell if you copy and pasted the same pitch you send to everyone else. You should not have the same pitch to a sales manager that you would have to an owner. Both of those prospects have different challenges and motivations. Put yourself if their shoes and ask yourself: How does what I’m pitching help them specifically? Answer that, and you’ll be golden.
Keep it short, sweet, and to the point- There is no reason your pitch should be more than one paragraph. People are busy and don’t have time to read a novel. Also, if you send them too much copy, you seem desperate for their business. You need to leave the prospect intrigued but wanting to follow up and ask more questions. It’s always better to get a prospect on the phone or face-to-face. Tell them enough to hook them but also want more so that you can schedule a phone call or in-person meeting.