If you’re pitching a business idea, you need to get comfortable with a fundamental, sad truth: most listeners aren’t interested.
There are some you simply won’t win over. But the majority of your audience could become interested if you package your pitch in a way that appeals to their personal preference for absorbing information.
In my experience, there are three complementary forms your pitch should take.
Pitching a business idea as logo, label and leave behind
Long years of experience in public speaking and pitching have provided me with a raft of tools to win attention, hold attention, and persuade.
One tool I keep coming back to is logo, label, leave behind. It’s simple and incredibly effective if you want to create a pitch that leaves your audience smiling, while embedding your key points in their brain and making them actually want to refer back to the info pack you’re sending them home with. Here’s how it works.
A Logo is an icon that represents your brand.
In the context of pitching a business idea, however, a logo is the one simple thing you want your audience to take away from your presentation. It should be as quick to understand and like as an actual logo. Metaphorically speaking, it should pull your attention on a crowded grocery shelf. Successfully executed, your logo thought should leave your audience thinking of you as “that person with the (insert simple, sticky idea here).”
Let me illustrate with an example. We were pitching our ad agency to a car brand, and wanted to set ourselves apart from our big-spending rivals with their million-dollar work. We used visual icons (money bags, a fulcrum, etc.) to convey our logo idea: leverage. If the client leveraged their modest budget properly, they could get the bang of a big-budget commercial – without ever having to spend a million.
We repeated that idea throughout our presentation. We tied it to a colour and symbol. Our leverage idea became embedded in their brains. The competition was painted as mismatches, and we walked away with the business.
A label is a slightly longer description you read after you’ve been attracted to a logo. If you like the logo on the bottle, you turn the bottle around to see what’s inside. That’s the label you’re reading.
I first started to understand the power of the logo/label one-two punch in my days running a sustainability-focused ad agency.
Consumers were attracted to products with green attributes, so I created some form of a green logo for nearly every client I worked with.
Just as important, I gave consumers a brief description of the product’s unique green selling proposition close to the logo. Consumers were attracted by the logo and left with a simple line or two to reinforce their good judgement. That was the label.
When you’re pitching a business idea, the label is a short reason why your idea is the right idea.
The label points should be headers in the presentation. Devote a few minutes to each one, and then reiterate how it ties back to the simple selling idea – the logo. At the conclusion of the presentation, you should summarize the label points one last time.
If you’re making an business pitch, creating a strong logo and label will win you the battle. But the war is far from over.
You need to reassure your audience that your presentation is part of a larger package. This package maps out, in great detail, how you’re actually going to deliver the goods.
The package is what your listeners receive as they leave the room.
Most companies create a leave behind. And most do a terrible job of it. Either their leave behind is a print out of their death-by-PowerPoint slides, or it has no connection to the presentation they made.
Properly executed, your leave behind will start by reintroducing your logo and label. It will pepper your logo throughout, include evidence reinforcing each label point, and conclude with a reiteration of the logo and label. It will reintroduce the speaking points you made and build on them with fresh ideas. The reader will feel they’re seeing the book version of your movie — but also getting fresh reasons to believe.
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