I have been in agencies most of my career and have had a pretty good chance at owning a successful too; I have been pitching most of my professional life and if I have learned one thing is that we have to change regularly.
The first thing I strongly recommend: Get rid of two words from your dictionary "Thank you" and "Please"- at least while you are in in the pitching mode. I will explain.
I see most of the people coming in for a meeting and starting with something like the following.
1. Thank you for taking the time and giving us the opportunity to make this presentation.
2. We are pleased to be here and appreciate the time that you have given us- thank you so much.
Seriously get out of my office!
It is 9 am, and we said we would start at 9 am so let us begin.
First, this sets the tone that you respect your own time and the time of the person in front of you. If you think they don't get it, tell them their time is expensive and they must respect it- of course, you should be nice while you deliver that.
There is always an opportunity to say this as in India someone or the other is delayed for the meeting and I am amazed at the unapologetic attitude.
Here is one more example of a place where you could use the dialogue.
Mr. Prospect: Hey we are waiting for Manish, he is running late.
Saurav: Manish is a smart guy he knows he is running late and has to play catch up. I respect your time and mine so let us begin.
Mr. Prospect: Yeah sure let us move ahead.
Most of the times the meeting begins with this long series of bragging about the company and about who they are what have they done blah blah blah and it is never-ending. While you think the meeting is extending and going great, let me tell you it is not. You have the internet you know about the company you have come to make the presentation- if not please change your career and stop pretending that you want to do this.
This bragging should be Immediately interrupted, and you must set the direction of the meeting cause if at the end the meeting if the prospect does not have an intense emotion towards you he will not even remember you leave alone doing business.
This could happen something like the following.
Saurav: I know you are Microsoft/Google/IBM (Whoever) and I have done my homework -you are not a hidden secret :). Today we are here with a specific matter and let me tell you what I can do/ think/ learn/identify/detect/ view about it. I will tell you what I do the best. Post that it will be your turn to reflect in context to what we have shared, and we can see if there is an overlap.
Most of the people that I know are agencies who have worked for the same clients as Ford, GM, Maruti, Suzuki, Hyundai, Honda etc. They know what the client's concerns are what are they sensitive about what is the threat etc.
Important - speak first, go first for sure. If you know and understand the clients business, always control the agenda.
The reason you go first is 2 things (attention and status)- remember from my previous post(no one likes to do business with a needy person). A lot of people would think that they cannot be aggressive or, may not have the personality to swing this. You can always have your more excellent version of this :)- ping me if you are confused will try to help.
As a human being, we always like when people take charge, still, we go to so many meetings where no one takes charge and waste everyone's time. I always love it when someone takes charge- its refreshing. Someones emerge as a leader says start and draws the agenda, and plans out the meeting. I see this a lot of time, and you know what- I feel great and safe, it feels like I am in the hands of a professional. He is not just telling me what the agenda is but running it for me - excellent!
So, What is the agenda here?
The agenda is that you are going to make an unreal pitch and blow the prospects brains out, and help him make a decision at the end of it, how does that sound?
The agenda is that you are a professional, you know that you are going to finish talking in the next 15 minutes and be in a position to give options, the prospect will know everything about you. You are not going to bore the attendees for the next 60 minutes, You are going will be honest with them.
All the best!
Credits: Saurav Patnaik