Improve Your Short Pitch to Make Your Customers Listen

I found a great article by Jacqueline Whitmore in Business about refining the short pitch, called 7 Essentials for an Elevator Pitch That Gets People to Listen. I changed it slightly, as it was directed more to pitching to businesses rather than consumers. However, the key points are intact.
There is never any predicting what interaction, whether it’s in a grocery store or at a networking function, will present a new business opportunity. So be prepared to seize the day. The key that unlocks these opportunities is a short pitch that grabs people’s attention and makes them remember you and want to talk with you further.
To craft a pitch that is succinct and compelling keep these seven fundamental factors in mind:
1. Be brief.
In terms of actual time, plan on one or two minutes to make a connection and a strong impression on someone.
2. Be clear.
From the first line to closing sentence, your pitch must convey a coherent message about you or your business in easy-to-understand language. How you deliver it is as important as the content. Speak in an even but energetic tone, stand up straight, smile and maintain eye contact.
3. Make it specific to your audience.
Delivering a good pitch is like playing an instrument. …memorize the melody so you can improvise variations and still sound authentic instead of rehearsed. You’ll play your instrument slightly differently for various audiences.
4. Highlight your benefits.
In most settings, people are interested in who you are, what you do and what you can do for them. If you open with something like “I’m a (fill in the blank),” be sure to expand on your job title by explaining why this matters to your listeners.
5. Identify the problem and your solution.
What matters most to your listeners is that you are credible and competent at what you do. Communicate that you understand how your product or service trumps the competition.
6. Make a compelling call-to-action.
Tell your listeners what you would like them to do and how they’ll benefit from doing it. Remember, people can only do what you want them to do when you are clear and concise.
7. Extend an invitation to continue the conversation.
If you have made a convincing pitch to your listener, should she/he want to learn more about you, say something like, “May I give you my card?” Then invite them to your company.
A short pitch is often the first thing that people learn about you. Improve your pitch’s persuasiveness by practicing it frequently with different people in various settings, and watch your success rate rise higher and higher.
A tip of the glass from me to you!

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