You’re going to make a lot of sales pitches as an entrepreneur. Some of them will be elevator pitches, some of them are for investors, and others will be for customers. The problem is people are attacked by pitches all the time. Commercials are basically product pitches, and they can’t open their email without a new offer trying to get their attention. That means you need to make it stand out or they’ll just mentally block it. There are a couple of ways you can do that.

Get to Know Them
Whether you’re sending a pitch through email or making it in person, you need to know who you’re talking to. If you don’t know who they are, you won’t be able to craft your message appropriately. They’ll feel like they’re getting spam and they’ll stop listening.

Getting to know your audience allows you to personalize the pitch, which will make them feel special. This will directly influence how they perceive your pitch, and will at least get your foot in the door. Let’s say you’re talking to a potential client. Telling them about your profit margins isn’t going to sell them on your idea, because that’s not what they’re interested in. Tell them about what your business can do for them and you’ll get their attention.

Depending on who you’re talking to, the actual process of getting to know them can vary. Take a potential investor with whom you have a meeting. You can type their name into Google and see what comes up. Do they have any hobbies that can help you figure out what they’re looking for? Do they have an investor portfolio that can tell you if they’re going to be a hard sell?

On the flipside, you could be talking to a potential investor due to a chance encounter. Here, you should spend the time getting to know them by engaging in some light conversation before making your pitch.

Develop a Relationship
Chances are you’re not going to get a response immediately, especially if you’re talking to an investor or are offering a contract based service. That doesn’t mean you walk away once the pitch is made. Businesses are built on relationships, and that’s what you’re going to do — you’re going to nurture a relationship with the person you just spoke to.

That means talking to them about things unrelated to work. Build trust. Help them out on a few things and give them advice. People are far more likely to work with or buy from someone who is genuinely interested in their well-being.

Take note that this is something you can do before the first pitch. Strike up a conversation with someone or send a few emails. People tend to be more receptive if you establish a rapport with them first.

Give Them Value
You have a lot of value to offer people as an entrepreneur with a start-up of your own. There’s no reason that you can’t give the listener something good. It doesn’t matter how they respond to your pitch – just keep giving them value.

What constitutes value can vary. You can give them a shout-out on a podcast or on Twitter, or give them a heads-up on a deal they may have missed. The value you offer might not even be from your company. The fact that you’re looking to serve them will make you memorable amidst all the other companies who just want to sell their products.

Stay in Touch
An effective sales pitch is not just about getting a yes – it’s about getting future business. They may not be interested at the moment, but that could change in the future. That’s why you should stay in touch with them. Investors, for example, are not made of money – perhaps they’re waiting for something to mature before getting in bed with another business. Clients may decide to switch off their current provider and remember you because you kept in touch, which can result in a sale.

Making a sales pitch is not easy, but it’s part of life as an entrepreneur. You won’t always get a yes, but then again you might not need to. You may end up developing a relationship with someone who can open doors for you and your start-up in other ways. Give the listener value, get to know them, and stay in touch with them. You never know what’s going to happen.


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