Lesson 8: Creating a Winning Pitch

What You’ll Learn: Making a successful pitch requires you to get into your client’s mind and solve their problems with what you are offering. As a creative, sales can be one of the most challenging things you can do, in part because you are selling yourself as much as what you are promising to deliver.

Creating A Winning Pitch (continued)

Pitch Components

O.K., you’ve done your homework, you figured out what makes you shine in the marketplace, and you may have researched a few prime targets.

Your pitch should be to the point and relevant. People are giving you their time; respect it. You want your presentation to be succinct. Edit mercilessly. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address took less than three minutes.

Here are some things you may find helpful if you want to keep your prospect’s eyes glazing over as they continually check your watch.

  1. Your opening. Grab them right from the start. You want them to step into the world of the story you are about to tell them. Don’t bother with the usual “I am so-and-so with such-and-such, and I’m here to tell you this and this.” Set the stage with the problem your prospect is facing. You want them to know that you understand where they are and what they need.
  2. Offer the solution. Once you have the problem framed, move on to how you’re going to be the solution. List the three reasons why you are perfect for this project or gig. Don’t bother with benefits or features. You want your prospect to connect their need with you as the solution instantly. You have plenty of time to fill them in on all the details once you make this critical connection. Don’t wait until the end to tell them how you’re going to be the answer. If you do, you may have already lost them.
  3. Don’t tell. Show. Customers aren’t going to buy something they can’t see, if only in their own minds. Again, you don’t need a finished product or even an example. Get the prospect to picture it. Take them on a journey so they can see, feel, taste or hear what you’re proposing on the solution. Use all of the senses to tease and tantalize them. This will get the questions going.
  4. Why you? You more than likely have competitors, even if you don’t know who they are. They may offer a lower price or have more experience than you. Acknowledge these facts and then explain why you are uniquely qualified to be their first, and hopefully only, chance. Your prospect is investing in you. This is the ideal moment to build trust and instill confidence.
  5. Get personal. Sales are about trust. People will hire someone they trust more often than someone who has a lower price. Share your personal story with the prospect. Tell them why they should buy from you and not someone else. Exceed their expectations at every turn.
  6. Make the ask. Don’t let the prospect guess what you want from them. Be clear in what you are seeking from the prospect. This should spur a conversation that leads to a negotiation or sale.
  7. Close the deal. Leave time to answer any questions and remove any roadblocks. You want to move from selling to opening a dialogue that can continue after the meeting is finished.
  8. Follow-up. If a deal isn’t closed, ask for a good time to loop back to check in with the prospect to see if a decision has been made or to answer any additional questions.

The Elevator Speech

If you got your long-form pitch perfected, it’s time to go pro. This is where you edit everything you’re using down to a 30 to 60-second spiel.


  1. Three things. People will only remember three things. Don’t give them more than they will remember. You can always add detail later if you get to the next level. Get to the point, stay on topic and connect what you have with what they need in a couple of sentences.
  2. Be natural. Don’t make a canned pitch. No one wants to hear from a robot. Be personable and friendly. People hire people. Get them to like you.
  3. Focus on the benefits. This isn’t about the benefits of your creation. It’s about the benefits of considering you. Forget the statistics and data. Pitch you through a compelling story that gets them to want to know about you and what you have to offer.
  4. Include a call to action. You’re not going to get the job in a single elevator ride. The point of the entire pitch is to get the prospect to want more information or agree to meet. This is where you hand them a business card or exchange digits.