Pitching is often seen as hard-core sales. You are there to convince your audience to buy your product or service. Or to invest in your company. All you are after is ‘winning’. Closing the deal.
That’s why many believe pitching is all about broadcasting your message. About stating facts. And about convincing by showing how amazing you are.
These people are dead wrong. In pitching, it is about one thing only: trust. If you are capable of winning the trust of those listening to your pitch, they will buy anything. That is why pitching should be about winning trust. And what better way to win trust, than to tell a story?
Storytelling is often referred to as a marketing tactic. Telling stories isn’t often seen as a good pitch strategy. But it should. Because it is. And for more reasons than winning trust. In pitching, storytelling skills are important. Let me explain why.
Stories will take people out of the role of the critic
Someone who is listening to pitches has one role that they want to play. One that they feel they have to play: that of the critic.
As a potential client or investor, I’m thinking: “You are trying to sell me something. And I don’t that. I want to make my own decision.”
And because I want to make my own decision, I want to prove that it wasn’t you persuading me. To do that, I must be as critical as possible. This is why those listening to a pitch, will focus on finding loopholes. They will try to find something wrong with your product or service.
The best way to get people out of this role is storytelling. The mind works in mysterious ways. And one way is that when we hear stories, we become part of it.
When people listen to stories, they will step into another world. No longer are they the critics. They are listeners, trying to relate to the hero in your story.
A story will show real life
If there is one thing that those listening to a pitch think is ‘how does this fit into my life or business?’. We want to make sure that what we buy is something that will help us forward. It has to improve our lives.
Listening to a ‘dry’ pitch means that we have to do the translation to real life ourselves. We hear the facts, we see the functionalities of a product. But how will that work in our real-life situation? It is hard to imagine.
If you’re presenting in a pitch, you can help your audience imagine real life. By telling a story. It will make it easier for the listener to imagine how things will work in real life. Because they show a part of reality. Even if they are fictional. It takes people into a world where they can picture themselves in a new situation. Using your product or service.
Stories get them to talk
A misconception about pitches is that it’s all about the salesman talking. Trying to show the product or service. If a pitch goes well, the ‘receiving end’, those that are making the decisions, are talking a lot as well. In fact, the more you get them to talk, the higher the chance you will make the sale.
A great way to get people to talk is to tell a story. It will trigger them to relate to and talk about their own experiences. It will open them up.
They will hear something, will relate and when you let them, they will talk.
A story trigger emotions
We think we are all rational buyers. We buy products and services based on checklists. On functionalities. And on well-researched documentation. Right? Wrong!
Most of our buying decisions, both personal and professional, are emotional. In fact, over 80% of our buying decisions based on emotion. Because we feel good about a product. Because we like the salesperson. Or because of peer pressure. Our friends have it, or even worse: our competitors. That’s why we need it as well!
A story is a great way to trigger emotions. Once the listener can relate to the problem, it will feel emotionally close to the hero. This means that the emotion is decisive when buying. Because they feel a relationship. They can see themselves. And if they are emotionally involved in the story, it will mean they will make the right decision. Buying into your product or service.
Storytelling is crucial in a pitch
You see? Storytelling is very important in pitching. In fact, it’s crucial! When you use stories, you will have a bigger chance of winning the pitch. Go for it! Tell that story!