Take off with a “bullet” sales pitch

Nail that opportunity in 8 seconds or less

“So. Tell me about your business?” 

It’s the question we dread. The reason we find it so difficult to talk and engage others about a new business idea is because we know too much about it. We have one hundred and one reasons why our business or product is amazing. We’re overflowing with passion and knowledge, and that makes it hard to choose what to say.

The reality is that the person asking simply wants you to headline it. That’s why you need a bullet pitch.

What is a bullet pitch?

There are times when a standard meeting pitch, elevator pitch, and pitch document are far too long to use.  

A “bullet pitch” is different. It’s the shortest form of a pitch — just 8  to 10 seconds and about 30 words. It’s a quick line or two, more likely to be heard and easy to remember. 

Every single word counts.

People are busy – they have no time, no attention span, poor memories and most don’t listen very well. The goal of a bullet pitch is to get their attention so they  say, “Tell me more.”

So, let’s start off with how to write a memorable bullet pitch using our four pillars. Then, we’ll go into how to use your pitch

Part I: Crafting your bullet pitch

Pillar One: Say who you are and what you do

First off, introduce yourself and tell them what your business is.  Are you a consultant? What is your area of specialty?  Keep it simple and straightforward so people understand immediately what “category” to put you and your business into.

For example, you start by saying, “My name is_____.  My company builds websites for small businesses who are looking to get into e-commerce. We build and install landscaping for urban gardens; we make black cakes using traditional Jamaican recipes. We design fashion for professional women who now work from home. We are strategy consultants for nonprofits.”

Pillar Two: Tell them how you are different and better

You must also point out what you do that’s different and better than your competitors. 

Try to find the essence of you and your business that is the most defining and appealing to others. It can be helpful to ask your friends to describe you or your business. Even better, ask your customers what makes you stand out and why they chose you.

Now, connect what you do with your point of difference. For example, you might say, “The websites we build help small businesses get 20% more business from leads.” Or, “Our reusable diapers not only help save the planet but keep babies happier and are just as easy to use as disposable diapers.”

Pillar Three: Show your credibility

You must demonstrate your expertise to win over skeptics. People are naturally resistant to being pitched. When you’re delivering a “bullet pitch”, make sure your eight seconds include a reason to believe 

This could include a host of reasons:

  • Experience or team behind the business
  • Years of research
  • A special process or methodology
  • A unique recipe
  • Proof of quality or efficacy

Pillar Four: Show how you feel

Short messages allow you to speak more slowly with the right emphasis. As you speak, pause to listen whether you’re on track or even being listened to. People respond to passion and conviction. If you truly believe in what you’re offering, don’t hesitate to show this in your voice, your facial expression, and your body language.

If others say you stand out because you are bold and your idea is bold too, then the pitch has to convey that. If you’re naturally funny, definitely add humor. If you were Dos Equis beer, your brand would say, “I’m interesting.” Be guided by the impression you want to create for your business.

Buyers, investors, and partners want to know who they’re dealing with. Don’t try to change yourself for the buyer. Don’t pretend to be someone else because it won’t work. Authenticity matters. At the end of the day, people want to buy or work with you, not some abstract concept of a business.

At the end of every pitch, you should always look and listen carefully to the response so you can refine and improve for the next time.

Part II: Using your bullet pitch

What’s next? 

If you do get the “Tell me more,” you know you have piqued someone’s interest. This is where you can ask questions to find out if what you are offering is even relevant. Ask, “Do you have a website? How is it working for you?” Doing this allows you to find out what their pain points are or what is causing them frustration.

Understanding what the need and want is how you begin to establish the value of what you are offering. At this point, stop selling and start helping. Ask questions like: 

  • Why are you making this product and providing this service? 
  • And who are you making it for? 

If you started a natural refrigerated haircare line for women because some buyers believe preservatives are harmful and underserved, that should be the core of your pitch.

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Be ready to suggest next steps for your potential client to take after your pitch. Some people are all about the facts. Tell these folks that you’ll send them the details and arrange to speak again after they’ve had time to review. Some people are more social so you’d do better if you arrange a time to go out for a coffee and talk further. 

The person you speak with may not be the decider, who will make the buying decision.  If that is the case, ask who is the decider, and whether your contact can introduce you. Try to find out what the “decider” is looking for.  

Practice, practice, practice

Let’s face it. At the end of the day, pitches are a form of theater. The best performances always have scripts. Boiling everything you have to say down to 8 seconds is hard, so do it in advance. Take the time to write a short pitch, edit, time, rework and say it out loud. 

Test your bullet pitch with family and friends, refine it, and practice until it feels like second nature. This way, it will easily roll off your tongue the next time someone asks, “So, what do you do? Tell me about your business.”

If you leave a positive impression —and your contact info—, you may get that call later. Or better yet, hit that sale!

Authors

Mary Tan, NYWIB Founder, SCORE Mentor
Aileen Ghee, NYWIB Director of Marketing
Macollie J. Neel, Senior Editor

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