The year is coming to a close and we all have goals to meet for 2017. We want to start off the year on a great note and we line up all the targets we wish to achieve. We tell ourselves to meet as many clients and pitch our ideas to them. We feel very happy and confident in our decision. The day draws nearer and that’s when it begins – the nerves slowly kick in. Pitching your worth to a client can even frazzle the calmest of people. If you have a fear of speaking to people it does not make things any easier.
Someone at one time told me this – never show your fear even if you are trembling at heart. The honest truth is and as I have learnt myself – your clients can smell out your fear from a mile off. They have probably seen many presentations in their careers that they can tune out those that they deem unsuitable within the first moment of introduction. You really don’t want to be that person that they tune out.
Regardless of the position we hold; a business person, a sales person, a marketing professional, a writer and the list goes on – WE CANNOT RUN from the thought of sales aka pitching your ideas, services or products to people in a purposeful manner.
So what are some ways we can ensure they do not run for the hills or selectively listen to what you have to say? Over the years I have found that these simple yet strong pieces of advice have served me well;
Prepare, Organize, Educate!
” By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”
– Benjamin Franklin
Remember that if they have given you their time to hear you out, it means you have caught their interest in some way. Attempt to determine what it is and educate yourself deeper on that point. There is nothing worse than meeting a client and presenting an idea with no knowledge of what you are talking about. The moment you appear to be uncertain of your subject of pitch, you have lost their attention in what you have to offer. So research and learn as much as you can about the client, organize your facts, numbers and materials to “wow” them in a manner that befits the culture and personality of the organization or people you are speaking to.
Willingness to Conquer that Fear
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
– Nelson Mandela
You may be a great pile of nerves inside, but no one has to recognize that. Will yourself to be convinced of the success of the task ahead. Prepare a mental pep talk before the meeting, use it before and during the meeting. Limit signs of nervousness such as;
- Saying ‘um’
- Being repetitive of phrases you commonly use; such as ” you get what I mean?”.
- Fidgeting with your hands
- Clicking a pen if you have one on you
- Extensive hands gesturing while speaking
- Folded arms
- If standing, don’t pace across the room. Walk about the room naturally.
- If seated, don’t shift around in your seat too much
- Averting eye contact and looking round the room. Steady eye contact immediately assures the client of your confidence.
Remember to snap yourself back to reality if you find yourself becoming nervous. If you feel like you can’t go on anymore, don’t be afraid to ask for time to excuse yourself to the restroom. Compose yourself and go back stronger!
I am a Storyteller
The most powerful person in the world is the story teller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.”
– Steve Jobs
Every brand, product, service and company no matter how large or small has a narrative. Your customers have observed many people feeding them the corporate language. We exist in a world where information is readily available. Therefore, don’t share with clients, corporate jargon right off Google. They hope to be intrigued and surprised, they probably yearn to discover something that would not only entice their corporate minds but also their soulful hearts. Share with them a different viewpoint that is intriguing and heartwarming. During the pitch ask them the questions and for their opinions – you don’t have to wait until the end. Create an ongoing dialogue throughout the pitch. Make them laugh with a few jokes (make certain that they are client appropriate). When you are able to emotionally connect with the customer, they are more likely to remember you for you and not just as the person who babbled some facts.
Practice your Story
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
― Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics
I cannot stress this enough and there is a reason for that. With any role we embark upon – the longer we practice it the better we get playing that part. So dedicating time to develop and practice your pitch is not an option – IT IS A MUST. Practice it in front of the mirror or gather an audience of family and friends and try it out with them. Ask them for their observations. Sometimes we don’t hear ourselves as others might – so that affords us the opportunity to see our areas of improvement and make the modifications. After several practice sessions, presenting to your client will become second nature.
Always Dress to Impress
“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”
— Rachel Zoe
Feeling good about yourself is a step in the right direction to get rid of the nerves. When you look respectable, you feel like a star and you will represent the way you feel. First impressions are important and they are usually made within the first thirty seconds of meeting somebody. So always be ready to face a client as a convinced and assured professional.
Ensure that your attire keeps with the tone of the company you are presenting to. For instance, if you are presenting to a bank, don’t turn up wearing a tropical themed suit or insanely bright colours. On the other hand, if it is a creative agency, by all means take the fun factor up a notch. Still, keep it professional by striking the balance of pairing bright colours with solid colours. You want your clients to be impressed by the entire persona of professionalism, confidence and intellect and have them focus on what you have to say and not be unhinged by all the colours, accessories and perfume you are wearing.
To conclude the most important advice given to me was to be myself and believe in what I had to say. If you don’t believe in your words, why should your clients? We hope this was helpful and we wish everyone a fantastic 2017! Go on and try these out to wow your clients!
Chief Writer (WriteHaus Asia)
Visit us at http://writehausasia.com/