How to write a winning business pitch
No matter the size of your business, winning pitches is integral to your company’s survival and success.
A good pitch makes the difference between a sale and a rejection. So, whether you’re pitching your start-up idea to investors, or your sales team are presenting to a potential client, it’s important that you get it right.
Effective business pitches help you stand out from your competitors, clearly convey your company messages and connect with your audiences. Follow these steps to discover how to write a winning pitch and completely ace your next presentation.
Get to the point quickly
Your audience doesn’t have much time and they have even less attention. In fact, the average attention span is now less than that of a goldfish at just 8.25 seconds! So, it’s more important than ever that you deliver your idea as early in the presentation as possible. A winning pitch engages your audience immediately with a strong introductory slide that makes it clear how you can help them.
Instead of opening with a history of each of your business partners’ lives, which your audience frankly don’t care about, make it instantly apparent why they should be interested in what you’re saying. In Airbnb’s now infamous business pitch, the first slide summed up their entire business concept and caught the audience’s attention: ‘book rooms with locals, rather than hotels’. And we’ve heard they’ve gone on to do alright…
Keep it simple
Avoid jargon. While some business terms may be obvious to you as an industry expert, it’s likely that your audience won’t understand them which can switch them off early on.
And keep the words people see on the screen to a minimum. This focusses their attention on you as you build rapport, connection and demonstrate your expert knowledge and solutions.
Keeping it simple isn’t reserved to language and visuals either. Like many things in life, bigger isn’t always better and you don’t need 100 slides to win your pitch, in fact Buffer managed to secure $500,000 of investment in 3 months with just 13 slides.
Use a story structure
Applying a strong narrative to your pitch deck is a sure-fire way to make your presentation much more effective. The emotive nature of stories will help you to connect with your audiences and ultimately get your message across.
Creator of the LifeSaver water bottle, Michael Pritchard, spoke at a TED conference in 2009 using an emotive narrative to engage his audience. Pritchard even paused halfway through his presentation to inform the audience how many children had died from diarrhoea since the start of his talk. By 2010, Lifesaver was the solution of choice of the British Army.
When using a story structure in your sales pitch, there’s no better narrative to follow than the hero’s journey – one of the most popular storytelling techniques of all time.
Back it up with evidence
Include credible numbers, facts and stats that back up what you’re saying. Giving your audience tangible evidence helps to take your business pitch from good to winning, and is particularly important if you’re pitching to companies or individuals with problems to solve or that want to grow.
When writing their business pitch as a start-up, tech company SendGrid included concrete facts to back up the idea for their business. Founder Isaac Saldana provided stats highlighting the existing issues in their market. One company alone was losing up to $14million every year. This allowed the presenters to then introduce their business idea as an obvious solution to this problem, encouraging audience buy-in. And it worked – the company has since raised over $27.4million from investors.
Make it flexible
Each audience you present to will naturally have different wants and needs, and you need a winning pitch deck that can meet different needs. Author Scott Berkun suggests in his much-cited essay ‘How to Pitch an Idea’ that you need to be able to pitch your idea in 5 seconds, 30 seconds and 5 minutes. This means that your presentation deck needs to be flexible enough to work in these different scenarios.
A great way to do this is by limiting the amount of text onscreen, something which is good practice in all presentations. But in a pitch deck, minimal text is particularly important as it allows you talk around each topic in as much, or as little detail as time permits.
Another great way to create a flexible business pitch is with a menu system. A menu enables you to easily navigate your pitch deck in a non-chronological order, so that you can tailor delivering it to suit each audience, their needs and time constraints.
Creating a winning business pitch
It’s clear that there are a lot of factors that go into writing a business pitch that wins. And, following these principles will help you to begin to improve your existing pitch documents and drive results.
Using a simple structure that engages your audience from the start and addresses their needs will ensure you stand out from your competitors. So, take note from some of the most successful start-up pitches of all time and transform the way you present today.
Future Present are the experts in PowerPoint presentation storytelling, design and build. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can create a winning business pitch for you.