How to win a pitch

It begins by forgetting about the pitch deck. Because the bigger the pitch deck, and the more people contributed to it, the less It will work. You are literally rearranging the pitch deck chairs as your own opportunity sinks like the Titanic. What’s the alternative? It’s to develop a pitch story. Now I’m not going to trick you into thinking this is easy, but it’s the best way I have found to win bigger pitches earlier. How to lose a pitch?

Why use a story? There’s lots of reasons. They’re easier to tell for you and your team. We weren’t raised by PowerPoint parents, we are hardwired to tell and hear stories. What we are looking for is the right story well told. Stories build better emotional connection with your customer, stakeholder or donor. Stories are also more memorable, more transportable, and your listeners can retell them. Often most of the selling of your pitch goes on when you are not there.

It’s not fairy tales we’re talking about here. In the popular pitching program shark tank, 70% of the businesses that won over the investors told stories. Why stories add commercial value?

Here’s a simple guide of how to construct your pitch story

It’s based on the hero’s journey originally developed by Joseph Campbell and modified by Christopher Vogler. It’s at the core of every great story, myth and movie. So, something about this must be working. I studied story at the Australian film and television school and adapted the hero’s journey for commercial pitches. Here is what I’ve learned are the five steps that work.

1.   Give your audience a reason to care. Care about the problem and emotionally connect with you.

2.  Identify a hero. Your story needs to be about one central idea, product, or person.

3.  Skilfully map the challenges. Your hero idea needs to face challenges in the past, present, or in the future. This is where you build tension and identify challenges that only you uniquely understand. It’s your unique understanding of their needs and environment that set’s the platform for the next step.

4.  Resolution. The challenges are resolved by an opportunity idea or approach that only you have identified or can uniquely implement.

5.  Call to action. This is when you seek a commitment from the listener to assist you in making the resolution real for them.

There are lots of different ways to execute the structure. The perfect blend of the familiar story structure, and your unique version of the plot. This is where the magic happens, and the pitch is won. It’s more work upfront to develop a pitch story, but I’ve found when you do what’s hard upfront the pitch itself is easy.

You can use the story structure to talk about value, purpose, brands, develop partnerships, or to identify your leadership approach.