When pitching to a potential client, how do you stand out from the competition?
Small business owners often find themselves competing against larger companies for potential clients. The CLAP acronym can be used to help stand out from the noise of a competitive field.
CLAP stands for:
Be clear as to why your business is the business this client should engage and why working with you would be beneficial to them.
The questions that need to be addressed when preparing your presentation are:
- What is the purpose of the meeting?
- What is the problem that your business will be able to solve for this potential client?
- What background does the client require?
- What are the expectations of the parties in this meeting?
- What is the desired outcome?
- How can trust be built?
When you are able to answer these questions then you are more likely to have a focused approach to your communication with the potential client. You are also better able to explain the benefits to the client of your product or service.
Loud is about gaining the attention of your audience. Nowadays, you are not only competing with other companies, you are also competing with the potential client’s other tasks and priorities. Many people only have a short period of time that they will allocate to you and your presentation. You need to be focused and succinct.
It only takes three seconds to form a first impression, so it is important to make a good first impression. The same is true when presenting a product or service to a potential client. The opening should capture the audience’s attention.
Your opening will be dependent upon your topic and audience. What will be your opening that will have your audience listening intently?
Here are five possible options for an opening.
1. State a fact
24,000 children die from poverty-related causes every day around the world.
2. Give a quote
Imagination is more important than knowledge – Albert Einstein.
3. Ask a question
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the number of emails that you receive in a day?
4. Set the scene
Imagine living in a pain-free state…
5. Tell a story and make a point
One in every five motor vehicle occupants killed on our roads last year was unbelted. One such person was John. John was an 18-year-old who after a big night out with friends was crammed into the back seat of his friend’s car … not wearing a seat belt. Dave, who was driving, was speeding and had had a few drinks that night. He lost control of the car. Dave was wearing a seat belt and survived the crash. John and his friends in the back seat … never made it.
Consider using one of these options to make a connection with your audience and to engage them. An appropriate and strong opening will help the audience to be focused on your presentation.
After you have captured your audience’s attention with your opening, give them the facts. Provide them with the necessary information to support what you say. Let them know how your product or service will work by providing the practical applications for them in their workplace.
The practical application should also demonstrate the benefits to their organisation. For example:
- How will it increase productivity?
- How will it reduce absenteeism?
- How will it minimise accidents in the workplace?
What will be your call to action? Link it back to your opening and reinforce how the potential client can benefit from your business services.
Pause to allow the message to register. If your audience has been engaged they are likely to have questions.
Be prepared to address your audience’s questions around your product or service. Questions are an opportunity to explore the situation and to map the conversation onto the listener’s given experience.
Pitching to a potential client is about letting them know why your business offering is the best fit for them. By following CLAP, you are able to address your audience’s needs and expectations whilst focused on your message. Stand out from the competition for all of the right reasons.
Maria Pantalone’s company Infinite Growth provides training in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication with colleagues and clients and her blog was featured in SmartCompany’s list of Australia’s best business blogs for 2015.