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Six steps for the perfect pitch

Posted by Devin Cole  August 3, 2012 11:00 AM

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Ask yourself these questions as you start to think about how to pitch a project:

• What is my ultimate goal in pitching this to them? Be specific! What is it that I want THEM to think, feel or do differently when I am finished with my pitch?

• Why would THEY want to listen to me pitch this? Are these the right people to pitch the project to?

• What’s a good title that will pique the listener’s curiosity?

1) BACKGROUND
Don’t assume anything when you start talking. It’s likely you’re one of dozens of projects being considered, so be sure they know who you are before you launch into your pitch. Reiterate what you discussed when you initially met or the synopsis you sent over. Share what inspired you to work on this project. Be positive, sincere and passionate about your project.

2) ANGLE
Do your homework. Know what kind of projects they normally sign on to so you can frame your proposal as within their goals.

3) PROPOSAL
This is the main part of your pitch. Now that you’ve offered some background and framed it with the right angle, your audience should be looking forward to hearing more details about your project. Rehearse ahead of time with a friend and ask for unbiased feedback. Practice, practice, practice!

4) OBJECTIVE PROOF
What proves that your proposal will be a great project? Has someone written a review or given a testimonial? Do you have a film clip or magazine article about your project? Bring proof from an outside source. You can’t just say it’ll be great, because it’s obvious by this point that you believe in your work – the question is whether anyone else does.

5) THE ASK
How do you want them to stay connected? What do you want them to do for you?
“I’m asking you to be my agent and represent my work, will you do that?”
“I’m asking you to produce my play, will you do that?”
“I’m asking you read my script and give feedback, will you do that?”
“I’m asking you to support my project by XXXX, will you do that?”

Be quiet and confident. It is critical not to say anything at this point but relay confidence in yourself and the organization through your body language and facial response. The seconds that follow may be uncomfortable, so prepare for it. Eye contact and supportive facial gestures will relay a quiet confidence.

6) CONCLUSION AND NEXT STEPS
a) Thank them and respond. It is important to thank them sincerely for their time and consideration of an investment in your project. Regardless of the response, a sincere thank you and leaving on a positive note is important.

b) Create a sense of urgency and determine next steps. Ask them when the appropriate time would be to follow up to learn their decision. It is important to relay a time frame upon which you are working. For example, “May I call you the end of next week to learn your answer?” Ending with a specific plan will help you seal the deal.

c) Respond in writing within 24 hours. Once you have the information, put it in writing and mail back to the prospect within 24 hours. This act will relay a sense of urgency and importance. It also signals a sense of respect. It is critical to treat this person with the respect that they deserve as a prospective supporter of your project.

d) Follow up in the agreed upon time frame. Lastly, put the time to call them on your calendar and make sure you follow through. Representing yourself in a professional manner is important. Make sure you do what you said you would do.

Robbie Samuels is the Senior Manager of Events and Donor Engagement at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. In 2006, he co-founded Socializing for Justice (SoJust.org), a cross-issue progressive network. In 2011, his birthday was declared "Robbie Samuels Day" by the Boston City Council. He provides networking and fundraising trainings to social entrepreneurs and non-profits. Learn more about him and his work at www.robbiesamuels.com.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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