Pitching yourself through life


Success involves people and organisations having to sell what they have to offer – this could be our skill, a product or service. This term frightens the life out of many as it conjures images of unethical smooth talking individuals manipulating others so as to get their own way. This is not the case, a great pitch is grounded in ethical behaviour fused to a mindset of offering real value through a passionate belief in what you have to offer. Personal and professional progression means that you will frequently be in a situation where you have to pitch for what you want. Applying for a career promotion, a place on the school board or attracting new customers fundamentally means we are in competition and there is a need to sell.

If you don’t adopt this mindset then you will struggle to get what you want out of life. When you find yourself in a situation where selling is vital, start by asking:

  • Do I understand their world?
  • What problem am I going to solve for the person I am pitching to?
  • What do I know about my audience?
  • What value do I bring?
  • What examples can I use to evidence credibility?
  • How can I bring to life the impact I make?
  • What is special about what I have to offer?

Personal progression means you must embrace the philosophy of life is a pitch. In doing this you condition yourself to delivering an effective and engaging performance to those that matter. Convincing others of the benefit of your talent, idea, product or service is an integral component to achieving your goals. Other people have an influence on whether we succeed or not. Your pitching mindset should help you to position your key messages in the following way:

  • Real and tangible
  • Deliver it with passion and meaning
  • Ruthlessly simplistic message
  • Clearly shows the difference you will make
  • Win – win outcome

Practicing your pitching skills to enhance your chances of success. It will put you in a stronger position to beat off competition.

Stand and deliver


The ability to stand up and deliver a powerful pitch, proposition or message is a fundamental skill for all growth/ambitious companies. It is a capability woven throughout all aspects of running and managing a business. Selling is such an important skill that many enterprise policy makers have overlooked and only in the US does it get the respect it deserves. The reality is if you can’t sell your business will suffer not only in terms of winning new customers – but it also has a knock on effect to recruiting high quality staff, suppliers and other strategic partners. The ability to raise and secure finance is also a function of how well you can sell. I was talking to a corporate finance friend of mine the other day – she said one VC’s she works with had 1,000 business plans fall on their desk – last year they invested in 7 ! Many of them were sent in on spec and others failed to hit the mark in any way shape or form. I keep hearing that there is no shortage of funds but poorly pitched ideas is common place. Many of them, with tweaks are potentially viable but most end up going nowhere.

I hope that the message and importance of selling and the power of great selling gets on the agenda – so many great ideas fail because of the ineffectiveness of the entrepreneurs ability to stand and deliver!