For many Indigenous business owners, the prospect of pitching for business creates stress and anxiety, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Preparation and a bit of strategy go a long way to making a pitch easier and, most importantly, successful.
Pitching is an integral part of doing business, yet the prospect of doing a pitch is often met with trepidation and fear. The person you are pitching to might be hard to read and it might feel like you are missing the mark. Preparation and a good understanding of your audience are the best weapons when it comes to preparing your pitch. This article will provide you with tips to ensure you nail the perfect pitch.
Use Supply Nation:
The Supply Nation Member Directory gives you direct access to the procurement teams at our 148 corporate and government Member organisations. These procurement teams often have budgets measured in billions – so a strong relationship with them is vital, if your pitch is to be successful. As we know, procurement teams are not prone to spending frivolously. They carefully mitigate the risk that potential purchases expose their organisation to. Any firm that is on shaky financial ground, isn’t responsive, or that is difficult to build a relationship with will not gain much traction with procurement teams. Your pitch should speak to their concerns and peak their interest about your business.
Preparing for your pitch:
The key to a good pitch is in its preparation. There are five key things that you must know before you are ready to pitch.
- What does your organisation do?
- Who are your customers?
- Why would the corporate or government organisation want your product or service?
- What do you do differently to your competitors?
- What is the market that you operate in like?
- Does the Member require your products or services? When? Why?
These questions may seem overly simplistic, but if you can’t answer any of them easily and concisely – then you don’t really know the answer. When answering these questions you should do more than just scrape the surface. For example, when answering ‘What does you organisation do?’ you should also answer ‘what need does your business answer?’ and ‘what are your business’s capabilities?’ Explore every possible angle to the question, write notes, and build yourself a cheat sheet.
Advice from a Certified Supplier:
“We know exactly what our capabilities are,” said Wayne Denning from Carbon Media, a Supply Nation Certified Supplier. Wayne has to pitch to large corporate and government organisations almost daily. “We know what it is we can bring to the table compared to our competitors, our business, their business, and the market we are in,” he explained. This detailed knowledge of his business and its operations, have led to success for Wayne when it comes to pitching.
1. Know your audience
Successful pitchers know who their audience is. They do background research on the person they are pitching to and they know about their successes, failures, and trends in their procurement behaviour. If you can identify what the person wants before you enter the room, you will be better placed to make a successful pitch.
“We try to get as much background on the individual, not only their company but also any successes and any other information around their professional career, so we can engage with them on a more personal level,” said Mr Denning. “It gives us that edge.”
2. Peak their interest
In business, what people want is a cost effective solution to their problems. In competitive markets it is important to highlight a number of things that differentiate your business from another. This is when your status as an Indigenous business can be used in your favour. You should be able to show them that not only can your company solve their business problem; but it can also contribute to their RAP or CSR goals. Let them know how many indigenous people you employ, how much community work you do and what your businesses connection to country and community means.
3. Abate their risk sensors
Procurement professionals are trained to mitigate risk. Contracts they sign must be watertight, with almost zero chance they can fail. Therefore it is your job to put their concerns to rest. Tell them of other Supply Nation Members you have worked with. Mention your biggest clients, your experience in the industry and your trusted reputation.
4. Be yourself
Everyone has an in built BS detector so don’t try and be something you’re not. If you are not the corporate cookie cut-out don’t stress! Business relationships are just like personal relationships – an honest and open approach will always serve you best. Get to know your own pitch and don’t let it sound like you are reading a script. Once you know your pitch it will roll off the tongue and you will surprise yourself with your professionalism.
5. Test your pitch
Don’t keep your pitch to yourself before you test it on a potential customer. Try it out on your friends, family, and business partners. Then once you have made a real pitch, get feedback on that. Find out if you are waffling rather than staying on point. You should always be asking yourself could it be more concise, more detailed, or more emotional?
6. Follow up after the pitch
For Mr Denning, this point is key: “Entice them back for another discussion. The pitch isn’t the end, it is all in the follow up. Give it maximum 48 hours to hit them with a thank you. Give them additional information, something personal, and a thankyou in the follow up email,” he noted.
According to Mr Denning, a good pitch takes skill and confidence: “You have to be engaging, relevant and confident. Know yourself and read the situation in the room,” he explained. If you can’t read the situation, your pitch may flounder. Be ready to adapt the angle depending on their needs and mood. “Be ready to sum it up quickly or provide more detail depending on the room. It doesn’t play in anyone’s favour to harp on about things that aren’t going to work,” Mr Denning continued.
A certain amount of your success relies on your ability to ‘sell’ your business, but all that smooth talking will only take you so far. A really good pitch will be well prepared, practiced, informative and interesting, The only way to get better is to practice.