You found your passion and you’re ready to commit. You’re on the path of building an empire and before the world knows it, you’d have taken it over. You decide to tell everyone with a zest and eagerness that would put Tony Robbins to shame. Yet, instead of being showered with words of joy and encouragement that you deserve for such a grandiose life strategy, you are met with a wall of negativity and blank stares.
Enter the nay-sayers.
Now, the nay-sayers have their place; they can identify gaps in your plan and see challenges where your rose coloured glasses overlooked. However, this can really break your stride when you’re in the most critical stages of business development.
Just how do you deliver your business pitch without getting your bag of excitement all beaten up?
1. Marinate your pitch, and deliver it with a big scoop of confidence.
One of the hardest things any business owner has to get across is why they are doing this at all. Known as a value proposition or offering, you have to convince people that their money would be well spent in exchange for your product or service. This needs to be done within 30 seconds and with utmost conviction and confidence.
And how do you get the confidence? I love the following advice from Chris Westfall, author of The New Elevator Pitch, which I found on Speakingppt.com
Start with a story/humour/news/etc.
Don’t launch into your company spiel. Instead, start with something you expect to hear in a regular conversation: humour, a story, recent news. Choose something that highlights a problem you help customers solve.
Add an emotional benefit statement.
Say “That’s what I do.” Then, summarise the results you achieve for customers. The benefits should extend beyond the functional and be emotional as well.
Quantify your success. If you have the numbers to show (or tell), add this as proof.
Use the “velvet rope close”.
The velvet rope close suggests your offer is only accessible to certain groups of people. Rather than closing your pitch like a desperate salesman, hook your prospect in. The key phrase is “I’m not sure if I can help you, but…”
Once you have this down pat, you can convince almost anyone.
2. Know your stuff inside out.
Before you begin your discussions, be prepared with absolutely everything you know about your product or service, industry, target market, established competitors and tools you need to make business easier.
If you are serious about starting your own business, you’ll be researching like a mad-(wo)man, snooping out all information relevant to your success. Identify the most reliable sources such as websites, blogs, chambers of commerce, university libraries or personal mentors.
3. Everybody has an opinion. Pick your audience.
Everybody has an opinion that they absolutely have to share. As you start wowing the world with your aspirations, you’d hear more and more well-meaning advice. But, which advice you choose to heed is totally up to you. Make sure the people giving you advice are credible, and have successfully walked the talk.
Of course, there is great value in hearing from business folk who have had a flop, just make sure the advice hasn’t been tainted with bitter dream killers. And if you do receive valuable advice from a credible source, investigate it further to see if it’s viable and applicable.
4. Take action and shut those naysayers up
Step 1. ACTION.
Step 2. ACTION.
Step 3. ACTION.
Get my point?
The only way you’re ever going to find out if the venture is for you is to go for it. Believe in your capabilities and don’t beat yourself up too much if it all goes haywire. Get up and try again. Business is for the brave and you have to be prepared to cop a slug every now and then. Continue to be proactive and prove the naysayers wrong with your actions. They’d be munching on sour grapes when they see you live your dream.
Have you ever had to tell someone you are starting a business? How did you do it? We read every comment and can’t wait to see yours!
Lauren is the senior marketing manager at Australian tech start-up Tappr. She has a passion for social media, entrepreneurial mindsets and corn bread.