You know the moment.
You’ve just met someone at a conference. You shake hands and introduce yourself. Your new friend describes their circumstances and you think, “This is my perfect target customer!”
You can almost see the glimmer of future revenue in their eyes – until all of a sudden, they ask, “So, what do you do?”
And, like every business builder since the dawn of time, you take a deep breath and start talking. And keep talking.
You talk about the technical aspects of your business. Your winning formula. Your 12-stage strategy for servicing clients. The 20-point matrix that makes your business “unique”.
You feel great! Yet, you might as well be describing the texture of the crackers and cheese on the snack table, because that’s where your interlocutor will be heading in a heartbeat.
What does your business do? It’s a simple question, and yet it befuddles many of us. Think of all the pitches you’ve heard at networking events; how many of them actually stuck in your head, say, three hours after the event? How many of them compelled you enough to ask for a business card?
This is the dilemma that Antony Gaddie addresses in his Anthill Academy course:
Networking 101: It’s not about you
Why do so many pitches fail to deliver?
It’s not that we don’t know what we do, says Gaddie. The problem is that we fail to recognise the real, hidden question that those prospects are asking us. Most people don’t want to hear industry jargon when they meet you the first time.
What they really want to know is, “How is what you do going to solve my problems?”
Or, “What’s in this for me?”
Answering that question requires us to be clear, memorable, catchy… and confident. And it means the focus of our pitch is ultimately not us; it’s them.
Networking 102: It’s still all about them
Before getting to the pitch itself, there are the two questions Gaddie says you must know the answers to:
1. Who are your target customers?
Who is your market? How do you categorise the people who buy from you? Saying that you target customer is a “small business owner” or a “parent”, for example, is not enough. What type of business do they own? Are they parents of toddlers ior teenagers?
2. What are your target customers’ biggest problems?
What’s on their mind? What worries these people at night? What is it that keeps them from reaching their potential? Because if you can isolate a problem, you can offer a solution.
And that’s the surest way to grab attention.
Clients respond to emotion – not technical gibberish
The secret to a great pitch, then, is the same secret to closing sales.
The hook to your pitch isn’t in the features of the product or service that you offer; it’s in the benefits that your service provides clients and the feelings they get from having the benefits that solve their problem.
“I don’t buy a computer because it’s got four gigabytes of RAM,” Gaddie says by way of example. “Suppose you find out I’m an online gamer, so you say to me, ‘When you plug this machine in you’ll just be so excited the way this thing operates, you will be grabbed by the graphics. When you do your 3 a.m. gaming experience, you’ll be thrilled!’
Is that language more likely to sway me than jargon, technical words about the four gig of RAM?”
Thrilled. Excited. Grabbed.
This is the language that clients want to hear when they buy from you.
They need to be engaged at an emotional level, not technical.
What’s the value of this lesson? Watch.
So, let’s revisit the big question: What do you do?
Understanding the value of emotional rhetoric, we’re ready to construct ‘The Gaddie Pitch’ – using a fail-proof formula that makes any encounter, whether at a conference or in an elevator, that much more memorable.
Gaddie breaks down his pitch into three sentences:
- You know how…?
- Well what we do is…
- In fact…
That’s the basic formula. But there’s a little more to it than that.