Ren茅e 馃悵 Cormier

5 years ago 路 2 min. reading time 路 0 路

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A Pragmatist's Approach to Pitching an Opportunity

A Pragmatist's Approach to Pitching an Opportunity

Graham Edwards
Graham Edwards is a seasoned sales and marketing leader with over 25 years in the biotech
industry. Graham is an accomplished leader and visionary with a reputation for effective
strategy, creative problem solving and execution. Well recognized for his ability to drive
growth, Graham brings a wealth of cross-functional skill sets in sales and marketing, strategic
g and execution, business development, process improvement and succession


Graham is especially passionate about working with start-ups but loves to drive results for any business in
need. Well known for his strategic excellence and problem solving, Graham's tendency toward creative
thinking allows him to develop some rather interesting and effective solutions for his clients.

Renée Cormier

Few public relations & communications specialists have as diverse a background as Renée
Cormier. Add published author, employee engagement specialist, sales and marketing
— strategist, entrepreneur and educator to her list of accomplishments. In her career Renée has
Ie leadership roles in sales and marketing, developed and implemented national marketing
4 © Kirategies and was responsible for teams as large as 28 strong. She brings a wide range of
experience and talent to her work.
Renée really shines in communications. She is known for developing and implementing comprehensive
communications strategies and generating results through flawless implementation. With such strong
business acumen, passion for her work and a natural talent for business strategy, Renée is definitely
considered an important resource for her clients.

In response to Graham馃悵 Edwards.

My approach to everything I do with Graham always ends up as a how-to. Graham might say that鈥檚 because I鈥檓 bossy, and he could be right, but I prefer to think that my natural teaching instincts just come into play whenever I write about sales, marketing or communications.

In his recent post about messaging ideas, Graham spoke mainly about the art of pitching and I definitely agree with what he says about how to approach prospects with your idea. Here is my pragmatic instructional version of how to pitch an opportunity and gain enthusiastic adopters.

Speak to the needs and interests of your audience. Even though you really want a deal to close, you cannot ever make your presentation about your own interests. Investors want to know how much money you are going to make for them and CEOs want to know how your solution will save them money, cut costs, and/ or increase sales. If your pitch or presentation doesn鈥檛 address any of the interests of your audience it is a waste of time.

Use simple language. You can鈥檛 go wrong with simple language, ever. Your audience may be composed of people from different language backgrounds, have different levels of technical expertise or different levels of education. Furthermore, your audience could also be tired, distracted, worried or stressed. Your message should not require deep concentration in order to resonate with people. If it does, you are on the wrong track. Try testing your pitch on uninformed people to see if they get it and if they find your message compelling.

Establish authority. This is important in order for anyone to take you seriously. Answer as many of the following questions as possible. What do your customers say about you? What kind of success have you had so far? What have you done to earn your level of expertise? How is your product better than your competitor鈥檚.

Create a sense of excitement. A little hype can go a long way, but just a little. Fantasy sells. People need to be able to envision themselves enjoying the benefits of what you are offering. This ties in with speaking to the needs of the audience but takes it one step further where you are actually painting the picture in their minds of what life will be like after they commit to working with you. As long as your picture isn鈥檛 a dishonest representation of your offering, you should be able to stir up some genuine interest and commitment. Speak to the opportunity you are creating for your audience/prospect and how it will give them what they want.

Ask for a commitment. After all that work, make sure you ask for a commitment. Test the waters by asking if they can see themselves using your product or service and then find out when they want to get started.

Get out quickly. Never give a long presentation. Anything over seven PowerPoint pages (including your intro and closing page) is too long. Respect people鈥檚 time and make sure they aren鈥檛 left with their heads spinning from detail fatigue. It is well worth the time to try to drill down your presentation to about four slides. Graham is quite adept at this and it works perfectly for him. It is possible to say a lot with only a few words. Details can be delivered through discussion and hand-outs. You can also arrange a follow up meeting to discuss details, if required. If anyone wants you back for more, then you are well on your way to closing a deal. Secure the appointment on the spot, if that鈥檚 the case. If you exhaust your prospect from the beginning, then you will never get a second chance.

Here are links to some of my previous posts about presentations and communications strategies:



Ren茅e 馃悵 Cormier

5 years ago #9

Thanks for commenting and sharing

David B. Grinberg

5 years ago #8

Thanks for the great advice, Renee. I really like your pragmatic approach. Keep buzzing! cc: Graham\ud83d\udc1d Edwards

Ren茅e 馃悵 Cormier

5 years ago #7

Agreed! Thanks for your comment Jerry Fletcher

Jerry Fletcher

5 years ago #6

Renee, Once again the ivory tower meets the real world and the approach taught loses. I've never understood why professors look down their noses at the people that make a living by their wits not tenure. One of my ongoing consulting treats is when a client "gets it" and their presentation deck is minimal, primarily graphics and limited words. The information in written form does not have to be the same as the pitch. It can and should include more information but should still hone to your points. Excellent advice.

Ren茅e 馃悵 Cormier

5 years ago #5

My short attention span never afforded me either the discipline or the desire to sit through anything long and tedious. I'm a "just the facts, ma'am" kind of gal. You may have a point about bulk being a hangover of our life in school. I once had a moron on an English prof who actually told us that if we didn't pad our bibliography we would fail. He seemed to think the sign of a good researcher was his or her ability to write bullshit.

Ren茅e 馃悵 Cormier

5 years ago #4

That's very kind! Thanks, Phil and thanks for sharing as well.

Robert Cormack

5 years ago #3

The worst presentations (essentially pitches) I've ever been involved in revolved around people believing "they got it all in there." I'd read their work, wondering why they thought giving clients back their own information was so important. One woman said to me, "Clients like bulk." She eventually headed up the agency and nearly destroyed it. As much as what you say is true, Ren\u00e9e \ud83d\udc1d Cormier, people seek protection in "bulk." I remember my students telling me about another teacher at the college asking for huge amounts of information in their presentations. Colleges are full of these teachers and it goes from there. Bulk baffles brains. Thanks for your post. Thanks for the brevity.

Phil Friedman

5 years ago #2

Ren\u00e9e \ud83d\udc1d Cormier led us to believe you're under the weather these days. You do better firing on four cylinders than most people firing on all eight. Cheers!

Ren茅e 馃悵 Cormier

5 years ago #1

Graham\ud83d\udc1d Edwards here it is!

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