If just reading the word “pitching” makes your feet feel tingly and your palms sweat, you aren’t alone. For many entrepreneurs, it probably feels unnatural (and scary!) to talk about yourself, especially if you are launching your very first business or if you’re a new-ish business owner. If this is the case, then let this article calm your nerves and arm you with some great pitching info and strategy.
To begin, scrap what you think you know about pitching. Most people define it as doing whatever it takes to get your business featured in a magazine, on a podcast, or television. And sure, yes, that technically counts, but really we can define “pitching” like this:
An intentional effort made to inform an individual or group about who you are, what your business is, and what you are offering.
Here is a semi-comprehensive list of what qualifies as a “pitch”:
- Sharing your elevator pitch with anyone you meet at a dinner party
- Introducing yourself at your networking group
- Emailing your family about your new offer
- Reaching out to a podcast who covers topics related to your industry
- Reaching out to publications who may be interested in your expertise
- Sharing your business details on social media
- Leaving your business cards at a local storefront or coffee shop
- Connecting with folks on LinkedIn
- Attending events related to your industry and talking to someone about what you do
- Circling back with people on your newsletter list who have a high open/click-through rate but who you’ve never heard from personally
- Checking in with your social media followers who hit the “like” button but not the “buy” button
- Reaching out to former clients you know would love your latest offer
- Circling back with consults who never bought and giving them first dibs on your next service
The takeaway? Pitching is reaching out to any and all folks who have or have not heard about you to tell/remind them who you are, what you’re doing, and what you can offer them.
My strongest piece of advice is to start with the people who already know you, one by one. 90% of the time—through 2-3 degrees of separation—this is where your first clients will come from! Word of mouth is invaluable (yes, even in today’s day and age of technology!) and you want the people who know and love you to spread the word to other people they know and love until it reaches someone who needs your help.
Other pitching rules of thumb:
Shoot for 20 pitches a month. It is a numbers game! The more people who know about you, the more clients you’ll get! However…
Keep it personal. Never cold email a giant bcc list. People will tune out, confuse you as spam, or not take the email seriously because it is not speaking to them directly.
Be sure to follow up with folks at least once (if not twice) before considering it a cold lead. You know how busy life can get. It is not uncommon for folks to read your email, consider your pitch and forget to follow up. By circling back, you give them the opportunity to say, “Oh yeah! Thank you! I meant to contact you earlier…”
If you just launched, there are three critical pitch emails you should send. (Swipe the templates right here!)
If you’re pitching to the media, make sure your email includes an introduction as to who you are (elevator pitch!), why you’re writing (“I thought of you because…”), what you want (“My hope is to…”), what your value is (“This will benefit you by…”), and the option to reciprocate the favor, if you find that applicable (“I will feature you on my website/social/newsletter” etc.)
And for those of you who still get all wobbly in your belly thinking about pitching yourself, here is my favorite piece of advice: Make it a game! Reward yourself for every 10 pitches you put out there, and trust me when I promise it gets easier with time! Treat yourself the first time you are able to say, “Hi. I’m the owner of ____, and I help ____ with _____.” without going all jelly legs, and then treat yourself the second time, too.
My most important piece of advice?
Never forget: Pitching yourself and your offer(s) is not bragging. Rather, you are doing your potential clients a service by making yourself known and available to them. Remember, they have a problem and *you* are able to solve it!
As with anything you master in life, it just takes practice. With time and commitment, not only will your pitches get better and better, but it will also become easier and easier! Talk to me after your 20th pitch and we’ll see who is teaching who.
For more professional support and guidance on how to effectively, happily, and easily build your client list, you’ll definitely want to check out my Build Your Client Base mastermind. Sign up for the interest list here and snag first dibs at the limited spots (and early bird pricing!) this June. As one former BYCB-er put it, she established “real people clients who are paying [her] money.” Sound good to you? Check it out.