Master the 1-Minute Marketing Pitch

At the start of every technical communication project, I work with business owners to articulate their 1-minute marketing pitch. A 1-minute pitch is an instant summary of your business, you as a brand, or your big idea. A pitch isn’t what you’re selling, it’s what the customer is buying. That’s an important distinction.

What is a good, 1-minute “sales pitch”?

  • It mustn’t SOUND like a sales pitch
  • It must spark conversation and interest
  • It should end with someone saying – “look give me your card and let’s meet up next week!”

Your pitch isn’t necessarily going to be a formal slide presentation!  Your prospect could be the guy in the lift next to you. The person stuck in a queue with you. The lady you sit next to at a working lunch. You might have less than a minute of “face-to-face” talk time to pitch to the person who will change your career.

It’s hard to evolve your own pitch…

I struggled for years to describe my business – I kept saying “it’s complicated”. I probably lost a lot of potential  clients.  I eventually evolved my own “so what do you do” by listening to my clients.  Their point of reference was not what I sold, but what they got out of working with me.

So now, that is what I do for my new clients – I’m a curious outsider wanting to learn more about you!

…but it’s worth it!

  • Your 1-minute pitch becomes the core strategy of the pitch deck or website.
  • Your 1-minute pitch is actually a networking tool. When you use it strategically, it can generate new leads, develop relationships and advance your career.
  • The 1-minute pitch is a business analysis tool.  Even if you use it only now and then, the process of writing it can make you think about what you want others to know about you in the simplest of terms.
  • The 1-minute pitch is a confidence builder.  It’s a chance to look back at your achievements, and ahead to your goals.  It keeps you centered on what you do best.

The problem with pitching technically-complex ideas

Like most people in engineering, I’m not an extrovert. I hate talking about myself – I feel self conscious. There’s a thin line between arrogance and confidence.  But I do feel comfortable when I’m solving someone’s problems and saying, “Yes, I can help you with that.” That is why my “intro” examples at the end focus on people’s problems. At heart, I’m a creative problem solver.

5 marketing pitch intro’s in 20 words or less

The opening 20 words of your marketing pitch are critical to grabbing enough attention for the next 45 seconds.

Before you start, first write down 4 things:

  1. who you help or niche audience (Wrong answers: women, people, over 45’s. Be specific.)
  2. their statement of need, or problem to be solved or burning desire
  3. their result (what they achieve or are capable of, once they have purchased your product or worked with you)
  4. your secret sauce (the unique result for the client only you can achieve)

Here are some traditional pitch formulas.

  • I  <transform/translate/convert a problem> into <burning desire>
  • I help <niche audience> do <statement of need> through <secret sauce>
  • I connect <niche audience> to <burning desire> + <secret sauce>
  • I <fix this problem> + <secret sauce> for <niche audience>
  • I’m a <expert skill> with <secret sauce>. I help <niche audience> to <solve a problem>. I’m particularly good at contributing <secret sauce>.
  • My company helps <target audience> in three specific ways <secret sauce>.
  • My team built a product that fixes <problem> for <niche audience> using <secret sauce> . Our product achieves <result>. Last month we had <proof of result>.
  • “My Company <name> is developing <offering> to help <target audience> <solve a problem> with <secret sauce>.

Pitch Delivery

  • Not to soft, but not too loud.
  • Change the pace with a pause to give your listener the opportunity to digest and consider your point before you move on.
  • Don’t stare at your shoes. Direct eye contact conveys seriousness and attentiveness.
  • For some, eye contact can be uncomfortable. In this case, making direct eye contact only at key points can be another great way to emphasize them.
  • Always smile while you are talking, even if you are giving your pitch over the phone.
  • Try to stand when you talk, even over Zoom.
  • Don’t make big gestures in small spaces, tiny gestures in huge rooms. Don’t enter someone’s personal space. Fidgeting is distracting, but so is standing so rigid you don’t move at all.

Practice again and again – with real people

Over the pandemic, I attended a weekly meeting of the GLDC (Global Learning & Development Group) on Zoom. Each week, they have 2 breakout rooms where you introduce yourself – the business version of speed dating.  In six months I tested 50 different “1 minute pitches”. I got used to the words, and the flow and saw when people looked more or less interested, and when they asked questions.

Most people don’t realize what they really sound, or look like, to others. That leads to poor delivery.

  1. Record your voice only and listen to yourself – focus only on the way your voice sounds.
  2. Then practice your pitch in front of the mirror and get your facial expression right.
  3. Then video yourself. Look at your posture, body language and movements.

Over the course of simply practicing your pitch, you’ll perfect your wording, and you’ll feel much more comfortable delivering it.

Almost all these tips are content ideas to keep in mind for your website as well. It’s a communication medium that works best for businesses who get to the point quickly and confidently, and avoid buzzwords and gimmicks.

So what will YOU say in your 1-minute marketing pitch?

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