Approaching new clients: There is no right pitch

  1. Francois Badenhorst

    Francois Badenhorst Business Editor, UKBF & AWEB Staff Member

    91 18
    1 |

    It’s a classic question: “tell me about yourself”. Or, even better, “let’s go around the table and introduce ourselves”.

    For most people, these questions are accompanied by pangs of nervousness. How the hell do you boil down who you are into a few sentences? Describing ourselves and what we do is hard, because it's a simultaneously public and intensely private experience.

    For business owners, there’s an added layer to this: pitching. UKBFers are a passionate bunch, but translating that passion into a compellingly worded pitch is a challenge that constantly pops up on the forums.

    It’s not necessarily a confidence issue, either (of course, that can also be a problem). UKBF user iXXi says he is “talkative” and has lots of cofidence, but he’s just not sure how to start. “I don't want to come across 'salesy' on the phone to scare away any business,” he says.

    Getting in touch with potential clients

    Well to start, how will you contact your potential clients? The medium, as Marshall McLuhan famously said, is the message. Gaffer offers his rule of thumb: “Is it a product that they already have and use, and you are wanting them to replace it with yours? If so, telephone cold calling could work.

    “If it's a product that is new and they are unaware of, then arranging appointments via phone first would be the route to take. Or, hitting the doors with product in hand.”

    In iXXi’s case, “80% of the time” the potential customers wouldn't have the product. In this case, Fisicx explains, “You need to make them aware of the benefits before you call them.

    “They don't want your product, what they want are the benefits it will bring them - the most important of which is probably to increase profits. So go sell the ultimate driving experience not a new BMW.”

    Reaching key decision makers

    Another headache for UKBF members is actually reaching key decision makers. Your pitch is wasted on a blank-eyed teenager on minimum wage, for example. How, then, do you penetrate into the upper echelons of a business?

    “The biggest problem I foresee will be actually getting to speak to the owner or decision maker,” writes Birmingham Blade. “Also, the classic, "can you email us what you just told us so we can take a look and get back to you."

    Sminter1st, a restaurant owner, says the best way to get him is a “straightforward” email. “If it’s without too much waffle and sales talk, it tells me what your product/service will offer me, why you’re different to someone else offering a similar service and how much will it cost me.

    “If you can link to a professional-looking website, that is a bonus. I decide within about 30 seconds of reading if I'm going to click on a link, and about another 20-30 seconds after I've clicked on a link if I'm going to investigate further.”

    Pitching for investment

    Sm1nterest’s snappy due diligence is very different from the other sort of pitch: investment. When you enter the realm of outrightly asking for money, with no absolute guarantee of success, you need to prepare for an altogether more strenuous conversation.

    Clinton advises: “you need to have detailed plans for what you'll do with the money. If you don't have that yet then you need to put it together.”

    The Byre agrees, adding: “You have to have complete command of every fact and figure. [Investors] are parting with their own money and therefore want to drill down to the bare bones of everything they can.”

    The complexity only increases after you get the yes. When you pass the eye test, the real examination begins. So you need to be certain that your business can survive an intense physical. The investment community is tight knit, and if you get a bad name it will damage your prospects in the future.

    It’s scary, sure. But if you do it right, it can send your business into the stratosphere. A mental shift might be in order. “There is no pitch. because there is no 'pitch',” says the Byre, channeling his inner Buddha, “just a buyer or buyers doing due diligence, to see if you really can supply what you claim you can supply.”

  2. UKBF Contributor Free Member

    60 9
    No right pitch you say?

    I'm sorry to disagree but there absolutely IS a right pitch
    for every single company on the planet.

    It is NOT easy to come up with, but it is right there built into the heart of every business.

    In the woods where I walk my dog are amazing carvings from tree trunks.

    That amazing bird of prey and that beautiful fox family were already in that tree trunk.

    It took an awful lot of time and skill and tenacity by the carver to show that they were already in there.

    That's what a business owner has to do on order to find their pitch (actually I prefer to call it a value proposition)
    Posted: Dec 1, 2017 By: Member since: Nov 30, 2017