When entrepreneurs think of delivering a pitch, they tend to think of Dragon’s Den situations, where it’s do-or-die, now-or-never and it’s crucial to get the listener to buy into the idea enough to be a paying client or an investor right away. That’s a lot of pressure – for both you and your listener!
But the entrepreneur journey is a journey of a thousand pitches, and every pitch counts – no matter how short.
So before you break out the slide decks and marketing plans, it’s worth going back to basics. How you introduce yourself and answer the question “What do you do?” in a social situation is a pitch, too, and it’s a great way to get your foot in the door. Don’t overlook this as a pitching opportunity, and avoid making one or more of these mistakes:
Mumbling your name.
Telling people your name may seem obvious, but often in a rush to get to talking about what it is you do, you might just be getting off on the wrong foot by not clearly enunciating your name. Sometimes you might even get too caught up in thinking about how to talk about yourself or your business that you forget to step up and introduce yourself, accidentally zoning out until you hear the other person ask for your name (again!). Be present, be proactive, and state your name clearly.
Trying to be clever.
Everyone wants to stand out and be memorable. Especially in a networking environment where there could be tens, hundreds, even thousands of other entrepreneurs, the chances are high that someone else is in the same field or industry as you. But first impressions don’t always last – especially if your first impression confuses. “Multiplatform Marketing Oracle” does sound different, but you can’t go wrong with just helping your listener easily equate you with something familiar: a digital marketing professional.
Being too humble.
Nobody likes a brag (not even a humblebrag), and that’s why so many entrepreneurs are overly cautious about sharing some of their big achievements, thinking it’ll sound like bragging. What’s worse, they may not even share it at all because they don’t see it as a valuable achievement themselves. However, to get your foot in the door, you need to establish some credibility and authority with your listener, so find a way to mention a relevant achievement in the conversation, and watch their ears perk up.
Wanting too many things.
As an entrepreneur, you might have an ever-growing wishlist, and why not? As a business owner, there are a lot of things you need to stay on top of to keep your business running. You need to be marketer, salesperson, recruiter, accountant, payroll provider and visionary in varying degrees throughout a single day. But before you head into that meeting or networking event, try to keep it to one: the one thing you currently need or are working on, so it’s easier for your listener to offer up resources or introductions.
Leaving it flat.
As the saying goes, people may not remember every single thing you said, but they will remember how you leave them feeling, so leave them feeling excited and inspired. As an entrepreneur, you surely have a big vision. It’s what you always come back to when things don’t go as planned or you’ve had a particularly tough day. Don’t be afraid to give your listener a glimpse of it – it just might get them excited to do business with you.
Struggling to find the right balance.
Introducing yourself and letting people know what you do requires balance. Often, though, people can get tongue-tied and say too little, or panic and say too much. If you’re in business, the question “What do you do?” is one that you should already be expecting, yet it’s surprising how much it can catch you off-guard.
The entrepreneur journey is a journey of a thousand pitches because to get to a “yes” you’ll go through a lot of “no’s” – but it’s also because you’ll need to keep trying and testing it until you find the right one that resonates enough to get you into a meeting.
And when you find it, then you can worry about your Dragon’s Den-style pitch.
On the 10th of September, bestselling author Daniel Priestley will be covering our tested pitch structure that’s helped thousands of entrepreneurs more effectively answer the question “What do you do?”. He’ll be joined by our industry-leading guest speakers who’ll share their best ideas on how you can become more visible, valuable and connected in your industry. Find out more here.