Pitch Perfect: It’s not the “What” but the “Why” that matters most

  As we here at NYCVanity embark on the next phase of our launch we have been forced to look long and hard at our product pitch. And yes, we hate the word pitch because none of us work everyday to create new designs and products and source just the right finishes in order that we may simplify all of those efforts down into something as inconsequential and artistically irrelevant as a…pitch. However, it is a hard fact that if you cannot talk about your work, your product, your output in a way that piques the interest of an audience then not only are you dead in the water but perhaps so too is your masterpiece. If you have an issue lauding your own praises then you shouldn’t start your own business. You must shed like an old snakeskin that faux modesty that many of us were raised with, the “it’s rude to talk about your accomplishments” which falls often in the same breath as it is “rude to talk about money”. On day 1 of your entrepreneurial expedition you have to convince not only all of the naysayers that you aren’t crazy for leaving your day job but also convince the world that you do have a plan to take your product to the next level. Below is the list of elements your must consider when developing and doling out your pitch. Failing to include the below will diminish your opportunity for a successful pitch and outcome. #1 AUDIENCE Before we land on the most critical piece of detail around your pitch, it is important to note that the angle of your pitch will change depending on your audience. Think about it, the intended party could come from a variety of backgrounds, they could be press, they could be prospective manufacturers, or a prospective retailer in whose store you dream of having your product, or a sales team that you are trying leverage for a phase of your promotions. Each audience will be listening for different things and looking to see if you have something that they can leverage. The list is endless. But you must first assess what each of them wants to hear (specifically, how your product will support their process) and create a list of benefits that would be attractive to that audience. #2 FORUM You’ve all heard of the elevator pitch, that compressed and deliberate pitch built for the time it takes an elevator to reach its destination. The elevator pitch is good to have in your back pocket but given the numerous channels that we all must push our messaging through each day it is important to understand the various requirements for your pitch based on the forum. Remember, the forum dictates the terms and the duration of your pitch. A television interview requires succinct, time-sensitive and direct snippets of information, whereas an article can be more nuanced and allow for more in- depth responses. If you are an exhibitor at a conference and the stage is yours you can talk as long as you want about your product; you’ve paid to play at that point, so talk on! So, consider the forum and craft your pitch, its length and tone accordingly. # 3 THE WHAT The what speaks to your actual product. What is it? What makes it different from the competition? What problem is it intended to solve? What is it made of and how is it used? This is the simplest part of your pitch and the part you should know cold. You need to know exactly how your product is made, where it is made and by what labor source. It is imperative that you understand whether or not your product is green and environmentally sound. Our organization cares about being green, but more than care about it, we also put in the work to source materials that are environmentally sound. Your customers will want to know these things, so be prepared to go deep on the development, sourcing and labor associated with your product. It is not only good business, but also the right thing to do. And your customer will be taking note. #4 THE ASK No pitch worth a dime does not end with a call to action. You are not just spreading the word about your product you are also working day and night to make sure that it ends up in the hands of a customer. To ensure that is the case, you need to build in an “Ask” at the end of each pitch. That ask will change depending on your audience. If you are speaking to a customer the ask could be: “Can I get your email address to include you on our email list for new products and discounts?”, a journalist: “Great talking with you, can I have your card I would like to make time to talk more with you about my product journey, perhaps offer an exclusive interview if you are interested.”  Each interaction, whether in the real world or virtual should increase your chances of getting your product out there. Remember, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Get” from a book we know well: http://bit.ly/1xwYVzy.   # 5 THE CROWN JEWEL (THE WHY) And now, for the most important element of your pitch, though you may not have known it until right now….The Why. The “Why” transforms your product into the byproduct of your inspiration. The Why is simply the reason that the thing now exists. The details of its architecture and where you found the right materials are all interesting, but they fall within the what category of your pitch. The what explains what the thing is, but the why explains why its a thing at all. WHY did you create this thing that we are now talking about? Set the stage, where were you when you first had a thought about your product, was it while experiencing a problem? If so what was the problem, paint the picture, talk about how this problem perhaps is experienced by others too and how you validated that. Talk about your journey you took to realizing the product. What steps did you take to make it happen? Did you sacrifice anything in order to create this thing? Show the passion you have by the steps you have taken to realize this product, this will help people understand how important it is to you and the value you place on it can translate to others perceptions of the product. What is it they always say? Excitement is infectious. So, when you are talking about the why and all of its inspirational moments, make sure that you show the listener through the tone of your voice and the expression on your face just how excited you are. This may sound like emotional painting by numbers but its real.  A monotone and expressionless delivery is not going to inspire anything. By doing your research you are already light years ahead of many other entrepreneurs. If you remember the key points found within this piece, you will have a successful pitch that will inspire the masses to take on whatever you are promoting. Good luck out there! NYCVanity, Vanity Reformed http://www.nycvanity.com      

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