Pitching your products or services to a prospective customer or a group of strangers at an exhibition or conference can be nerve-wracking. How to prepare? What to say? How to say it? And what do you do to follow up?  Here are some tips that might help:

 Prepare your pitch

First of all, you need to decide what you plan to say. Focus on your value proposition, what differentiates your product or service, and its benefits from the perspective of the customers or your audience. Don’t be afraid to mention your competitors, but don’t dismiss what they do. Instead, be prepared to identify how your product or service compares.

Keep it snappy

The shorter the pitch, the better. You will only have minutes or sometimes seconds to get your message across, so don’t waste that precious time with waffle or jargon. Don’t get bogged down in irrelevant detail.

 Practice your pitch

If you’re not used to pitching your business, then you need to do a few dry runs. Do your pitch in front of the mirror. Ask a friend or a family member (preferably one in business) to listen to and critique your pitch. Learn your script and try to avoid bringing a written speech. For longer presentations, you might want to jot down some notes on cards to keep you on track.

 Be confident, but not arrogant

Make eye contact with your audience. Be relaxed. However, it’s important you don’t appear defensive, even when you are challenged.

Invite questions

This should be a dialogue, not a monologue, so ask questions. Don’t pretend that you have all the answers. If you don’t have the answer to hand, then say you’ll find out and let the individual know.

Provide opportunities for follow ups

Provide business cards, leaflets or contact details with your presentation. If someone is showing a keen interest, ask for their business card or their contact details. Follow up quickly by email or phone. Suggest a coffee meeting to a hot prospect.