Pitching to Sharks: Tips for Getting the Right Attention during a Pitch


The Wrong Bait Never Catches the Right Fish.

Here’s a story about Johnny.

Johnny is trying to start his own personal training business. He needs to drum up some clients. He decides to send out an elevator pitch to men in his contacts list on social media as one of his tactics.

He groups the men into different demographics (not bad).

He’s in his early 20’s, single, married, married with kids, desk job, over 40, etc.

Then he writes a quick pitch inviting them to sign up for his online health and fitness education course. He creates…two versions and sends them out.

Rick sees the message.

Hey man! Last time we talked, you said you wanted to get healthy to keep up with your kids. But, you weren’t financially able to invest in yourself. I think you’d love XYZ”.

Mark receives the exact same message.

The Big Problem With the Blanket Pitch.

Rick is a little out of shape and works a desk job. He has a one-year-old, and he’s tried a few things to get in better shape. But, he’s rubbed the wrong way because they’ve never talked about personal training and he’s a little affronted by the assumptions Johnny made.

shark tank GIF by ABC Network

Mark has been contacted by Johnny before. He’s got two kids and is on a budget. But, he’s active-duty military, a bodybuilder hobbyist and avid outdoors-men. When Johnny contacted Mark before, Mark let him know he was pretty well versed in different fitness strategies and nutrition. Plus, he was building up his home gym.

Mark’s rubbed the wrong way because it’s pretty clear no effort went into knowing him, his interests and needs as a potential client.

shark tank GIF by ABC Network

Oh, and since Johnny messaged all the men in his contacts, quite a few of them know each other. This includes Mark and Rick, who talk about Johnny’s message with frustration.

Johnny could be a great personal trainer with the potential for a great business. But in one elevator pitch, he lost a lot of credibility and trust.

Stop Polluting the Waters with Bad Pitches.

So many things can go wrong when giving a pitch. It doesn’t matter if you’re pitching a potential client or a big-time investor, some things should just never happen during a pitch.

The top three blunders that’ll make you stand out in the wrong way:

  1. Promising something you don’t know for a fact you can deliver or the process of how you can deliver it.
  2. Not knowing every number that matters from every angle.
  3. Using the same approach for everyone (i.e., Johnny).

The Lure That Get’s You Noticed the Right Way By the Big Sharks.

Discovery Sharks GIF by Shark Week

You could have the best proposal in the world, but a bad pitch will ruin your credibility every time. And it’s a shark eat shark world (Quite literally as even shark embryos will attack each other!).

You can’t afford to be bad at pitches.

We know the top three blunders are over-promising, not knowing your numbers or your audience. So those take major priority on what to do right.

And really, it’ll boil down to knowing your stuff and who you’re talking too.

The Bait Isn’t for The Fishermen.

When you’re pitching someone, they know you need them or something from them. If you just focus on how good their “yes”  will be for you, they’re going to feel used.

Instead, make the pitch all about how great your idea will be for them. You’ve got to throw some chum in the water. And to do that, you’ve to know what their chum would be.

Every Fishermen Has His Own Tricks.

In order to stand out, your pitch, while professional and geared towards your audience, should still ring true to your personality and brand.

This isn’t because your personality should be entertaining full of quips. Instead, this is how you establish the kind of authenticity to which people can connect. And quite honestly, it’s usually easy to tell when you’re putting up a show.

When you present your pitch true to yourself, you’ll demonstrate greater confidence and comfort in your communications.

Keep in mind that as you pitch whatever business idea, service, or solution, you’re also pitching yourself. You should be your greatest asset. Don’t forget to use it.

Bait the Hook.

Alongside keeping true to your brand identity, there’re a couple of other things that can help you get noticed in the right way.

For once, have your pitch practiced, rehearsed, and perfected. You should know it so well you don’t have to think about it during your delivery. This includes any sort of demonstration. You’ve to know it’ll work every time.

Another is to have samples and examples at the ready—the more tactile, the better. A pitch is all about gaining trust, so if you can physically show what you’re talking about, it’ll help your case tremendously. When pitching a shark, seeing is believing.

Lastly, always remember pitching is storytelling. Tell a story that’s relatable, and creates connection. As much as you need to have the numbers, you also need to have human empathy. This is how you build relationships, foster trust, and develop loyalty.

Keep On Casting

When you get a no, you always keep on casting. Adjust, reevaluate, and try again. There isn’t a one no that ends everything, but there could be that one yes that takes you to the next level.

See Also:

Hire Like a Shark: Tips for Sinking Your Teeth into the Best Candidates

Shark Week: Competitive Business Analysis Reveals Predators Lurking Under the Surface

Sink or Swim: How to Survive in a Competitive Marketplace

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