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Winning a Pitch with Heart

Have you ever given your heart and soul to a pitch, thinking you have done well only to be told that you have not been selected? Have you scratched your head wondering what went wrong and not quite understanding why?

It would be fair to assume that most of us would have been in that position one time or other. If a given pitch had not been successful, the team would ideally sit down to have a post-mortem to dissect what went wrong and what could have been done better.

In our dissection of a presentation, there will often be improvement points – the content could have been better or more on point and the list goes on. But barring that, how much are we focusing on our likeability factor?

The Likeability Factor

Past a certain point in our careers, there would come a time when we would be considered as an accomplished professional. Unless you are a genius in your field or astronomically atrocious, you will most likely be successful enough but not a superstar. However the good news is, you don't need to be superstars to generate the most business because guess what? Your customers are not superstars either!

The key factor that makes the difference, is how much your clients feel that they can engage with you. In other words, how much do you "click"?

At the end of the day, we universally like to work with people who "get the way we do things". This is also known as chemistry, synergy, like-mindedness. In this regard, your potential clients are no different.

One question to ask (beyond the scope of the content of a pitch) is how much you have invested in making sure that your potential clients feel a connection with you. In an article entitled: "Change the Way you Persuade" by Gary A. Williams and Robert B. Miller, the authors stated that: "All too often, people make the mistake of focusing too much on the content of their argument and not enough on how they deliver that message."

This powerful but simple observation really resonated with us and our ethos. We acknowledge that you are the experts in your fields. While we may not be able to help you with your technical expertise, we can certainly help you and your team establish that "likeability factor" with your potential customer base. Digital platforms alone without proper adoption cannot create emotional connections. Robots cannot create emotional connections. Artificial Intelligence cannot create emotional connections. Only humans can.

According to the above mentioned article, there are five styles of decision making and you have to tailor your approach according to which category of decision making the decision-maker in question falls into. These are all nuances that contribute to the overall success of any pitch.

Focus on the PEOPLE you are delivering your message to

While preparing for a presentation or pitch, how much thought do you put into WHO you are talking to? For example, while talking to a roomful of people, have you identified who in the audience will be making the decision? While maintaining eye contact with everyone in general, is your body language tailored to engaging the person in the room that will be making the decision without leaving anyone out?

Once you have zoomed in on who the key decision-makers are, here are some helpful tips to properly engage them: Find out what their interests are for their organisation. Always make sure the message you are delivering to them is relevant to their current struggles. State clear, specific objectives where you could add value and transform their company for positive business outcomes.

Connect on both an intellectual and emotional level with the audience. If possible, inject some personal stories which the audience can relate to. For example, if there are parents in the room, open your speech with a personal anecdote of something serious that happened to your child to capture their attention. And then start with the crux of your message.

Become a person of influence when you develop an innate emotional connectivity with your clients. As leaders, think of how your team can connect with an emotional purpose when they are selling or presenting to their customers and clients. Be aware that people will know when you are playing on their emotions as well, hence, it is not as simple as just talking about feelings or playing on their fears about the market. It is engaging a heart-to-heart understanding of what the other person is dealing with and providing them with the appropriate decision-making process.

At Engaging Leaders, we are here to support your people in developing this emotional connection with your potential clients. It definitely takes time to shift a person's mindset and cultivate these qualities, but as the famous saying goes: Rome wasn't built in a day. Start a discovery process with us today.


Key Contact: Monica Tan

Monica Tan, Engaging Leaders, leads our clients through a journey of performance and change. With more than 15 years of client and project management experience, she serves as a key advisor to our clients.

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