How to Lose a Pitch in 5 Minutes or Less

Pitching is like blind dating.

Within the first five minutes (or less) the person seated across from you has sized you up and made one of three decisions:

#1. Lightning bolt, jack pot, soul mate alert

Note: This is very rare except in beer commercials and Meg Ryan movies.

#2. I see potential, let’s keep talking and maybe meet again

#3. Total turn off… “Waiter, check please!”

How can you avoid being in the all too common, but completely undesirable third category?

Some tips for making it past the “blind date” test:

Engage in some foreplay

Ideally this first meeting should not be your first contact. Try for a short pre-meeting or phone call at the very least before you show up in your Saturday night best.

Think about dating.

Would you ever launch right into  “let’s meet for dinner” before at least having a quick IM, email exchange, or perhaps phone conversation?

Channel your inner stalker

You Google your dates right? (Sure you do, admit it).

Make sure you find out the backgrounds on everyone you are meeting.

Don’t just know it, but use it.

If you are presenting to a seasoned brand professional don’t start with the 101 on branding.

If you have something in common with the attendees (a university, common past employer or friend, or even a passion for fly fishing) whatever… bring it up!

Bring one wing man- not three

Everyone knows if you go out cruising with a crowd it’s hard to make any real connections.

One person can help you break the ice, help showcase your witty side, fill in the conversation gaps when you falter.

But a crowd of people unless they have clearly defined roles and a real reason for being there are just extra baggage.

Put out or shut up

If you got the goods, then put them on the table. Don’t blather on about how creative, strategic, and brilliant you are.

Show it.

Demonstrate your process by showing some work-not just describing your “proprietary” methodology.

Better yet, make that work about my product or brand and I’ll know you are really interested in me and not just chasing everything that moves.

It  doesn’t have to be a ton of work or high production.

Just show me you’ve been thinking about me. Do some vox pop’s or other research.

Sketch out some ideas, come with specific questions.

Don’t tell me you are interested while you’re actions say otherwise.

(I see you checking out some other client at another table).

Make me feel special.

Follow up with flowers

Or at least a sincere thank you note, witty trinket, something that reminds me of the nice time we had together and what we discussed.

It doesn’t need to be fancy, it should just show your personality. And make me want to call you to say thanks and perhaps invite you back for a second date.

Nothing too cheesy- think tulips not carnations.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?
How do you pass the blind date test?

3 thoughts on “How to Lose a Pitch in 5 Minutes or Less

  1. Good points. Increasingly, I think save your time for other things than beauty parades unless you’re convinced you’ve got the substance in your presentation and the background knowledge and experience to win.

  2. Great post, Julie.

    One addition: Don’t be so self-centered. Show me you care about ME. You may say you do. But if you spend 90% of the date talking about yourself, you will just show how full of sh_t you are!

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