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The Truth About How I Perfected My Pitch

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Do you like to pitch? A lot of people cringe at the idea of pitching or having to sell themselves in any way. So, they stay in that soul-sucking job because they are too terrified to bite the bullet and pitch their idea to an investor.

Or, they keep working for that abusive boss. The idea of going back to the job hunt and interviewing is too stressful to think about. ‘At least I’ve got a job….even if it’s awful.’

Guilty as charged

Your comfort zone will make you settle for some crazy things. I know I’m guilty of this. I had a couple jobs in college that I hated. But, I would justify staying because ‘I needed to focus on school’ or ‘this is just temporary until I graduate’. I would apply for a job here or there but would never follow up, I couldn’t be bothered. I had too much else to do and usually, it had to do with school. So, what kicked my butt into gear? What forced me to perfect my pitch?

Unemployment

Unemployment forced me into perfecting my pitch. After I graduated from college I moved to a small town in Minnesota so my husband could go to school. It was also 2009 a horrible time to graduate and look for a new job, especially in a small town! It gets better…I was also the breadwinner for my husband and I and we lived a thousand miles away from either one of our parents. If I didn’t get into gear and find a job I wasn’t going to be putting food on the table.

I had 24 interviews in 6 months. That’s a lot of opportunities to practice my pitch.

Notice how I said opportunities 🙂 It didn’t feel like that in the moment but in hindsight, it helped me put on my big girl pants and get the job done. I didn’t have a choice.

I couldn’t settle

I couldn’t settle for just any old job. I had a minimum amount I had to make to pay rent and bills. Plus, my husband could only work part-time since he was in school. So, it was on me to ‘bring home the bacon’.

It doesn’t mean there wasn’t pressure…

After a few months of unemployment, I had people telling me I should just be a hostess at the restaurant down the street. Or, a cashier at the store down the road. Neither of these would come close to paying my monthly bills. It would also take time away from searching and interviewing for a better job. These people thought government assistance was the answer and I didn’t so we differed there. The opportunity costs of taking a bad job until I found a better one were too great.

Finally got a job

After lots and lots of pitching and job interviews and selling my self I finally landed a job. It wasn’t my dream job but it paid the bills. It gave me the experience I needed to land an even better paying job 2 years later.

So, what’s the point of me telling you all this?

Getting your pitch down takes practice and perseverance. You can’t just give up when it gets hard or you will never sell your product or service. You will never get that better job. Practice really does make perfect.

Creating your pitch

There are 3 D’s to remember when you are crafting your pitch.

  • Draft – Don’t go in and wing it. Even if it’s an impromptu opportunity. You need to have something prepared that you have practiced. It doesn’t have to include everything it is, after all, a draft. You also want to individualize each pitch to make it about the other person.
  • Play the devil’s advocate – There will always be objections of some sort. So, have a friend examine your pitch and look for possible objections on the pitch and revise as necessary. You want to overcome all objections before you pitch
  • Deliver – practice, practice, practice. The content of your pitch may be spot on, but it’s not worth anything if you don’t deliver with confidence.

Tweaking your pitch

You may be noticing something isn’t working or you feel awkward during your pitch. Your pitch has to be presented well or you won’t be able to effectively sell yourself. Tweak as necessary and be sure to research what has worked for others. You can see a few more tips here.

Don’t do anything out of desperation

If you’ve received a lot fo no’s you may start to feel desperate. But, the last thing you want to do is come off as desperate. Investors and employers can smell that a mile away.

Don’t stop!

You may be thinking “I landed the job” or “I got the contract” now I can sit back and relax. Yes, have a celebratory drink and get back to work! If you are employed you are still your personal brand. You never know when your circumstances will change and you find your self on the job market again. As an entrepreneur, you never know when that contract will end. The last thing you want to do is dive back into pitching when your skills are rusty.

Pitching is tough work! But doing it well will set you apart from the competition. Doing it at all tends to set you apart from the competition. At first, it seems terrifying! It pushes you out of your comfort zone which can leave you feeling vulnerable. But, getting out of your comfort zone is how you grow. You won’t get that dream job or start that business without getting out and pitching what you offer.