What’s Your Pitch?

What’s Your Pitch?

You remember the childhood parties with a piñata when you were a kid. Your friends spin you around. Someone is spinning you on the shoulders, you become a tad dizzy, and then you just start swinging wildly. You may cross your fingers or hold your breath hoping that you hit something.

woman-swing-at-pinanta

Are you like this woman with the piñata in your business? She has a blindfold on and she is swinging blindly at it. Many up and coming business owners tend to approach their marketing this way. They are unsure of who they are swinging at. They are little bit dizzy and spinning around inside their heads and they are not looking clearly at their target. 

Isn’t it time to take off the blindfold and look clearly at what you would like to hit? When you do, it is not as difficult to get people to pay premium rates to work with you, to find people who are clear about the fact that you offer tremendous value, and to have people step into saying yes to working with you. 

Imagine if the woman in the photo did not have the blindfold on. She just had the baseball bat and she begins hitting at the piñata. She has a straight shot and hits it. It explodes and the prizes fall out. You can have a similar experience in your business when you have resolved your niche and your pitch. 

A pitch is a simple, clear statement of what problem you solve and the group of people you do it for, right? Well have you ever heard someone give you a pitch that is five minutes long and at the end of it you: 

  • Do not have any idea what they are doing
  • Do not know who to refer them to
  • Are not sure if you need them

 

I believe that some entrepreneurs place a lot of pressure on themselves to be fancy, creative, or snappy. They are trying too hard to be different. Your pitch does not need to be fancy. It can be a simple statement of the problem you solve and the group of people that you help solve this problem. All it needs to be is clear. 

 

The ‘What Do You Do’ Talk

If you are working with more than one niche, tailor your pitch for each group. If you are a health coach and you are unsure if you want to work with stay-at-home moms or with corporate professionals, you want to test both of those out. You want to find a pitch that speaks to each one of those groups. The key thing is to not start your pitch with “I am a _____.” You do not want to start your pitch with a declaration of what you are because it makes whatever follows it all about you.

One of the key secrets to talking about what you do in a way that gets people to want it is to make it all about them. We tend to think that we have to talk about our education, certifications and training. We may have to talk about those things to build credibility; however, our ideal clients are going to be more interested in the results–what we can do for them. They want to make sure that we get them–that we are tuned into where they are. This is why I say use an action verb to explain who you work with and what you help them become, do, or achieve. It is the simplest way to flip the switch from making it all about you to making it all about them. 

Your pitch is not “I am a therapist” or “I teach cooking classes” or “I am a designer”. Your pitch is about how to explain what you do so that it is all about them and what they want and where they want to go. This is taking off the blindfold and learning where to swing your bat at the pinata. 

Rule #1

Focus on solving a problem or creating an aspiration for your client. Most of my clients are service professionals who solve a specific problem for their clients. Of course, some of you are not really solving a problem—you are helping others live out a desire that they have. That is perfectly okay. What I want you to know is that when I say “solve a problem” just substitute in “create an aspiration” or any other suitable phrase. But those are your only two options as far as I can tell.  Following are examples of how those two play out: 

A pitch would be “I take adventurous couples to beautiful, exotic places around the world they would never see on their own.” That is an example of a desire-based pitch or an aspiration-based pitch. You are not really solving a problem. Your niche group is adventurous couples and the aspiration is that they are looking to visit places that they would never go to on their own. They want to go to beautiful, exotic places but it is either too dangerous, they do not speak the language or they just would not know the first thing about finding a hotel. It all just feels too intimidating to them. That is what your business would do for them.

An example of a problem-based pitch: “I teach busy professional women how to lose weight and keep it off permanently.” Your niche is busy professional women and the problem that they are having is they want to lose weight. This example adds an extra bit because they can lose the weight; however, they cannot permanently keep it off. That is what you help them do. 

Rule #2

Focus your pitch on a hot and itchy problem.

Rule #3

Note the response that you receive. An exciting pitch is crafted over time and field tested. It gets people interested. It is best if you can do it in person with people whether you are talking to a friend or you are attending a network event, mixer, or social gathering. You really want to have the experience of watching someone’s face and watching their energy respond to you. The best case scenario here when you know that you have nailed your pitch is when they reply, “Oh, I need that” or “Oh, I know someone that I need to introduce you to.” That is why I feel it is preferable to focus your pitch on being clear and not being fancy. Of course, not everyone you are talking to is an ideal client or they may not know someone who needs what you are offering. You are on the right track when you get some sort of affirmation in response to you sharing your pitch. 

 

Levels of a Marketing Message

There are three levels of your marketing message. Not realizing this or mucking this up is one of the biggest reasons why people are not getting a positive response to their marketing. 

Level 1 – Your clients’ hot and itchy problem

This is also call the “point of entry” problems. These are problems that are showing up in the daily lives of your potential clients. These are things that are important to them and that they are highly motivated to solve.

This level is where you want to target your marketing. You want your Home Page to speak to this. You want your free gift and newsletter articles to speak to this. You really want to meet people where they are at and you want to connect with these hot and itchy problems that are showing up in their daily lives and driving them bananas.

This initially felt unnatural to me because it is so simple. And I have had clients tell me “Well, everyone says this. I don’t want to sound like everyone else.” My response to that is, “The reason everyone else is saying it is because it works.” You need to have your marketing meet people on the first level of message. That is the only way you are going to connect with them and that is the only way they are going to be motivated to take the next step with you, whether it is picking up your free report, picking up the phone to call you, sending you an e-mail, signing up for an initial session with you, etc. Unless you target their hot and itchy problem very specifically, they are not going to move. 

Level 2 – Your program

If you are a relationship coach, the program might be called the “Find Your Mate” program. At this level, one of the biggest mistakes I see service professionals making is they are pitching the program, but not really talking about the hot and itchy problem that the program will solve. One of the ways this shows up most frequently is with coaches. Coaches love to sell coaching, but no one besides other coaches want to buy coaching. That may be because coaches know how awesome coaching is, but the rest of the general population – including their target market – does not wake up in the morning and say, “Gee, I need some coaching.”

It is very difficult to sell a program without positioning it in a way that solves the hot and itchy problem. 

Level 3 – Your mission or your transformation

This is your highest purpose in your business. This is what makes it all worthwhile for you and helps you get out of bed in the morning and hit both feet on the ground excited to get going because you want to get this done. This is life’s level work.

I recently worked with a woman whose mission is to help women finally find love within themselves so that they can get aligned and attract a man. She believes that a part of what blocks women from getting  love is that there is something within themselves or their own experience that gets in their way. They keep looking outside themselves in order to get that adoration, and as long as they are looking outside themselves for that, they will never get the love they want because there is a need within them they can only fill themselves. While that may be true, that is not a marketing message. I think it will be difficult to connect with ideal clients who say, “You know what my problem is? I need to find love within myself so that I can attract love.” No woman is going to be saying that to herself, right?  It seems too lofty and does not meet people where they live.  Perhaps the mission is:

“To help women finally find love within themselves so they can get aligned with and attract love.”

Pitch Play

If you need to tweak your pitch, following are a couple of statement guides to get you started: create-a-pitch-statement

 

 

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About Online Biz Boomer Babe

Rachel Lavern is a Certified Business Coach and founder of My Booming Online Business--a blog for middle-age, global, uptown women. She is on a mission to transform entrepreneurs' finances by teaching the action set, mindset and skill set needed to get launched + make money.

Comments

  1. A very helpful post.It’s very insightful to someone like me who’s had enough of the corporate grind and looks forward to branching out on something of my own.Is there a newsletter of sorts that you circulate by email, from I could benefit with more of such useful info?

  2. Wow! Thank you for this! Such a good thing to keep in mind! 🙂

  3. Brilliant post and very helpful. We do forget the best way to pitch. I go to many networking events and people are terrified to speak. I say speak from the heart.
    Jacqui Malpass recently posted…Quirky bird needs your helpMy Profile

  4. This was a great post. I hate speaking in front of others! :S

  5. Allen Elkins
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    Rachel ,
    Thank you for this post this is something i truly needed.
    This will help me better focus on a targeted market and how to approch it.
    I think my ambition had the best of me
    Allen Elkins recently posted…Facebook FriendMy Profile

  6. Rebekah Radice
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    Hi Rachel! I love your explanation of a “hot and itchy” problem. Being able to understand consumer needs and then being able to give them exactly what they need, when they need it is something all marketers should aspire to.

    Great post as always!
    Rebekah Radice recently posted…12 Most Innovative Ways to Create Content That Gets SharedMy Profile

  7. Hi Rachel,

    You’ve put in strong and picturesque terms something I’ve heard before in much milder, blander terms… “Lead with benefits rather than research or facts.”

    Knowing and addressing the “hot and itchy problem” is much more motivating to those of us who aren’t born salesmen. 🙂

    Willena
    Willena Flewelling recently posted…Charlie Chaplin – in the LimelightMy Profile

  8. Hi Rachel ,

    You have made some excellent points in this article. I really like your pitch and play graphic What problem can you solve , for your customers is so true , one thing I do for my customers is I save time for my customers and have the skills they do not have the time to learn or apply . Which is very important as then they can focus on there core skills for there businesses.

    Many thanks for sharing your expertise .

    Rosemary
    Rosemary O’Shaughnessy recently posted…Trust An Important Study !My Profile

  9. Thanks Rachel, This is the best post I have read which gives practical examples of how to approach potential clients and customers.

  10. nick catricala :

    Rachel,
    what a great article you have here.. this is truly a masterpiece and for certain it took a while to research and put it together.. but just in time for the big bang.. Good for you.. you sure know what to do and how..

    Best wishes in all you do.. you deserve it and THANKS so much for all your tips here and by the way.. I can talk anywhere.. writing is not my forte, but talking .. wow, many people tell me when I shut up haha 🙂

    Happy easter.
    _nicck
    nick catricala recently posted…Follow Me….My Profile

  11. Leslie Denning
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    Hi Rachel. Great job on this post! I was recently working with my mentor on this very thing. I think that many of us go into a home business with a lack of knowledge in marketing skills. I love these lessons that you are providing in this blog. Thanks so much.

    All the best,
    Leslie
    Leslie Denning recently posted…5 Ways to Write Magnetic Headlines That Get People To Read Your PostsMy Profile

  12. Nice post to use as a reflection for my business direction. It it helpful and healthy to have check and adjust moments along our journey. Thanks for this great post!
    Dawn Golden recently posted…Wireless Logitech H800 HeadsetMy Profile

  13. donna merrill
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    Bravo Rachel!
    This is the perfect pattern to follow. I love the picture of the woman and the pinata. It’s the perfect analogy.
    I like the way you explained focus your pitch on a hot an itchy problem. Oh boy does that work well!
    When focusing on our target market, it does take so much into consideration. Following your “Pitch Plan” sure is helpful.
    Thanks so much
    -Donna
    donna merrill recently posted…Drive Traffic To Your Blog With Facebook Page PostsMy Profile

  14. Excellent post Rachel! So many times we lead with what we do instead of how we can help others. By tailoring your pitch and marketing messages on how you can solve your target clients problems you can attract the idea clients and help them with your expertise. Thanks for all the great advice!
    Shelley Alexander recently posted…11 Wonder Herbs That Aid Hair GrowthMy Profile

  15. The Food Curator
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    Rachel, Spot on! Keep things clear and simple and you will deliver a successful message 🙂

  16. This is great for me! I’m working on narrowing my niche and what I do.. and the items you have shared here will help me focus on the hot itchy problem! What a great way to put it!! I also like the idea that you suggest one starts with the client in mind, not me.
    Holly recently posted…Why Workout?My Profile

  17. Rachel i cant explain how amazing this article is. I received my Bachelors in Entrepreneurship and none of my courses presented a guideline on pitching to possibly customers, clients or investors in such an easy way that is so spot on. The pitch party graphic you created is a great way to get started and will help you better understand whether or not the individual is going to stay interested in your pitch.

    Thanks for the advice!
    Kyle Nelson recently posted…Take A Break – How To Tuck In A Dress ShirtMy Profile

  18. Heather
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    Wow, timing could not have been better! Thank you!! <3

  19. Karen Peltier
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    Thanks, Rachael. I love your suggestion of keeping it simple! Sometimes it’s so easy to overlook the obvious when trying to put together marketing materials or speak to others about what you do.
    Karen Peltier recently posted…How to Do a Detoxifying Dead Sea Mud Body Mask or Wrap at HomeMy Profile

  20. Pitches are a necessity. Even for blogs, you have to have a pitch or people won’t know what your site is suppose to be about. Thanks for sharing this… you’re right on the money. 🙂

  21. Dr. Erica Goodstone
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    Rachel,

    Such valuable suggestions. So often people begin by talking about them self when all anybody wants to know is what’s in it for me? But we are so used to promoting ourselves. It takes a shift in mindset and i love the templates you offer to make it so simple and easy to create a powerful pitch that sells.

    Warmly,

    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…One Moment in TimeMy Profile

  22. sherman smith
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    :

    Hey Rachel,

    This is agreat way to get your message across to prospects. I’ve learned this a while back and it’s amazing how people respond to it just for the fact that you’re more focused on them while you explain what you do. It gives them that indirect WIIFM factor even though it’s a pitch! Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a great weekend!
    sherman smith recently posted…How Does SEO Affect Your BlogMy Profile

  23. Liz Delaney
    Twitter:
    :

    Hi Rachel. This is a terrific post putting it all in simple terms. I am working on narrowing my niche at the moment. I thought I had it, but now I know I need to keep refining.
    Thanks again
    Liz
    Liz Delaney recently posted…Australia and New Zealand’s ANZAC DAYMy Profile

  24. Hi Rachel,
    What a great post and timing was perfect. I had just answered a question when someone asked me what I did. I had to go back and read what I had written after reading your post. It wasn’t too bad but I need to work on it.

    Thanks for the great suggestions. Have a great day. Monna
    Monna Ellithorpe recently posted…WordPress Updates – Don’t Get In A Rush To UpdateMy Profile

  25. Erika Mohssen-Beyk
    Twitter:
    :

    Hi Rachel ,
    thank you for this good advice ,
    it will help me and I am sure many
    others . I have to think about this.
    Well done 🙂

  26. Merle
    Twitter:
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    Excellent post Rachel with some very helpful advice and information.

  27. Wow!

    Thank you for offer some extremely practical marketing/power positioning advice! especially your three levels of marketing message levels! Very well articulated! And definitely worth reading again and sharing with others! thanks!
    Mark recently posted…Where You’re Going Wrong By Confusing Cheap Trophies With Low Value!My Profile

  28. This is very thorough breakdown of the “pitch” we use in our online business, Rachel.

    It’s critical to always make the pitch help folks solve their big problems, as you show. Nobody cares about us or our business model or anything else. They care about the problems they face and how to overcome them. If we can develop a pitch that offers solutions to those “hot, itchy problems,” we are delivering powerful pitch, indeed.
    David Merrill 101 recently posted…Get The Best Email Marketing ResultsMy Profile

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