A solid three-minute pitch can help you attract vendors and advertisers, recruit employees, and win over other advocates,....and, yes, maybe even investors.
Follow these three basic principles to frame your pitch and easily adapt it in the moment.
Get their attention
A three-minute pitch isn’t just an expanded mission statement or the “About” section of your website. It is a short opener that tells what your company does, why it’s unique and how it serves your customers. Your goal is to encourage your audience to want to hear more. When they’re interested, you have won permission to tell them additional details about your company that might intrigue them. At the most basic level, you should explain your concept, your target audience and how your idea solves a problem. Vendors, suppliers and investors will want to know more about the potential market and customers and prospective partners will want to know more about the product.
You can start by pulling winning metaphors, terminology, phrases and examples from existing materials: both short and snappy (e.g., your elevator pitch or tagline) and long and leisurely (case studies and market research).
Take that cherry-picked material and organize it into three parts: an opener, an explanation of what your company does, and a very short story or technical detail designed specifically to invite your audience to start a conversation. An opener that resonates and conveys personality is especially important. “The first line is essentialas it explains what the product or service does and what it does differently from its competitors:
Tell them the right story
In a short pitch, you can grab attention with a quick story about a client experience, a breakthrough or the light-bulb moment when you came up with the idea for the company. Showing excitement about your business and wanting to prove that you have, researched all the possibilities are crucial. The idea of a pitch, in any format, is to start discussion and ensue continued interest. Your pitch should whet the appetite, not leave your audience full.
Develop the first two-sentences with examples of client experiences. The first sentence should explain what your company did for the client; the second provides just one fact about the results the product or service delivered. Each example is tailored to a specific audience. Talk about the key benefits that you offer by simply proving that your business model will help potential partners quickly get a return on their investment.
Keep ’em on the hook
The goal of any pitch is to tee up an ongoing conversation. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of assuming they have to cram everything about their company into a three-minute pitch, but whether you are presenting a PowerPoint slide presentation or introducing yourself at a networking event, your goal is to start a relationship. Make the pitch more about the audience and less about you. Figure out how your business is relevant to that exact person you are speaking with. Remember it’s not about sharing what’s interesting to you about the company, but what’s interesting to them about it.
Be ready to pivot as you learn what your audience wants most to understand about what you are doing, Use transitional phrases to engage the listener, such as “Have you ever had personal experience with this kind of product or service?” or “One thing that really surprised us when we started exploring this market was …. ” The goal is to equip your audience with just one key message that they might use to introduce you and your company to someone else.
Craft your pitch to be uniquely positioned to help sponsors connect with hard-to-reach demographic. Keep your goal to finding out why a potential sponsor needs to build that particular audience and propel that information into a relationship. It’s not an opportunity just for you to speak. It’s an opportunity for ongoing conversation