The anatomy of the perfect pitch |

The anatomy of the perfect pitch

If we’re in business to do business, we need to engage our target audience and deliver. In a perfect world, clients are lined up down the block and around the corner, cash in hand, ready to go. They’ve heard great reviews from their best friends and business associates. Now they’re just waiting in line. Reality check. Look outside. If there’s a line of customers down the block and around the corner, you’re awesome. Get back to work. For everyone else, keep reading.

Finding our target audience and closing the deal starts with getting to know our potential patrons. They are a more diverse group than we realize. When we take the time to search them out, listen to what they say (and what they don’t say), we get more innovative about what we offer and more articulate about explaining how our goods and services meet their unique needs. In business, we call this the pitch. It’s a baseball term. I’m going to throw this ball in your direction and see if you’re interested in swinging at it. Crooks hope you’ll swing and miss. Professionals with heart and integrity lob something you’ll be able to hit out of the park. That’s the game. Exceed expectations in your delivery and the line around the block will grow.

As I was writing this piece, I asked the business man sitting next to me if he thought the term pitch had a negative connotation — if people might find it offensive. A shrewd consumer and seasoned entrepreneur, he thought about the question for a few moments. His response was simple. No. He said people want to know if they can benefit from some innovative problem-solving commodity. He said people want to know what it is, how it works and why they should care. It’s quick, dirty and right to the point — without the gimmicky commercial fluff. I had to agree. So, let’s look at the anatomy of the perfect pitch.

1. Play your strengths. Know what you can and can’t deliver. When you show up with an intimate understanding of what you offer, the words you choose to describe it will flow with ease and enthusiasm.

2. Learn to listen. Knowing yourself provides some measure of content for the conversation. Understanding your audience provides the context. If you launch into how great your homemade peanut butter is, only to discover that your audience has a peanut allergy — the conversation must abruptly change course. If we are going to close the deal, we must not presume to know our audience; we must learn to listen.

3. Ultimately, we must prioritize excellent service over income. Compensation for our services is nice, even essential. But delivering in the service of others must trump everything else. Closing the deal is not about taking someone’s money, it’s about delivering on a promise with heart and integrity. Improving someone’s life as a result of your services — that’s the end game. That must come through in your pitch. People must feel the assurance in your voice and see the sincerity in your eyes. Closing the deal is about building authentic relationships with people on the basis of trust.

4. Deliver. The perfect pitch comes with some kind of guarantee. Just stating that someone will love something is not enough. We must give them more than hope; we must provide assertions that their investment is grounded in tangible outcomes — with negligible risk. My guarantee states, “You’re going to love the results of this process — I guarantee it.” That means, if you’re not happy, I’ll make it right — or you don’t pay. I’m being compensated on the basis of value and performance, not unfulfilled promise.

Building and sustaining a thriving professional practice is about engaging our people with a sincere commitment to serve. We can’t be afraid to put ourselves out there for fear of rejection. Perfecting the pitch is like gardening. We prepare our soil, plant intentional seeds, and nurture plants as they grow — over and over again.

Evan Zislis is founder and principal consultant of, delivering hands-on organizational solutions and strategies consulting for households, businesses, nonprofits, students, and life transitions. For more information about simplifying your stuff and organizing your life, call 970-366-2532, email or become a friend at

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