Your website and social media accounts can be a great source of leads when people know they need help. But what about those that don’t?
Being able to confidently pitch your services and programmes to corporates, high profile health coach clients, cold leads and people who are referred to you, can take your health coach business to the next level. In sales lingo, it’s the difference between being a “farmer” and being a “hunter.”
However, selling ourselves doesn’t always come naturally. In a face-to-face situation, you won’t get the time to prepare the perfect response. So, how do you decide what’s important? How do you get it across in a natural but professional way?
I’m passionate about what I do, but I get tongue-tied talking about it!
This “deer in the headlights” response is fairly common, which is why I wanted to share some simple tips below to help you improve your pitching skills with a little practice.
- Don’t Make It About You
The truth is that people aren’t really that interested in you. This might sound harsh, but knowing the truth can actually take a lot of pressure off you. You don’t need to give strangers your whole life story or even tell them that much about your business when you first pitch to them. At first, you just need to talk about how and who you help.
The same approach works wonders for B2B pitching as well!
Let’s say you’re attending a talk by an acknowledged expert in a field related to yours – perhaps a psychologist talking about postpartum depression. As you work with new moms, she would be an ideal person to refer clients to you. And there is going to be an opportunity to meet her at drinks after her talk.
The first thing to understand is that she’s going to have a lot of people wanting to talk to her and limited time to engage with you. Introduce yourself in just a couple of sentences, telling her your position, what people you help, and how
So something like, “Hi, I’m Mary. I’m a health coach, and I help new mums find the time for themselves without feeling guilty when they first have a baby. ” With this, you’ve given her enough to take the conversation further if she has the inclination and the time.
Top Tip: At events a lot of people don’t have time to spend a lot of time with you, and they are likely to be pitched to a lot. Start with a great pitch, and follow up with an old-fashion business card to create a follow up. Try having some made with your photo so that recipients can later “put a face” to your card.
- Make a Connection
Ideally, you would have had a chance to do a bit of research on whomever you’re pitching to. Look for some way of making a personal connection – at the end of the day, relationships are still about people with something in common and who like each other. Because the truth is, you’re never going to get along with everyone, even if they are your ideal client.
For health coach clients, personal introductions and recommendations are an excellent way to establish trust, so look out for shared contacts on social media accounts like LinkedIn or Facebook. Just make sure you avoid being too familiar or “creepy”. You can find out so much these days via the internet, and not everybody is happy to have their private life made public.
Make sure your topic is innocuous or something your prospect has put in the public domain themselves. Nobody wants a stalker coach.
Top Tip: Include an area on your forms/opt-ins/contact pages where people can write something about themselves. This can help you create a connection with them early on in your pitch!
- Ask Questions And Listen
In some situations, you might not have enough information to know upfront what solution to present. And your first engagement might not even be where you complete your pitch. This is especially true when dealing with corporate individuals or in a networking event setting.
Use discovery sessions to maximum advantage by asking questions. Actively listen and clarify points as you go. This is a “Listen to Sell” approach, rather than a “Talk to Sell” approach, and it is far more effective when it comes to someone’s health! It will show your prospective client you are paying attention to their specific needs and give them confidence you won’t just present a generic solution.
Open-ended questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer will help you get beyond one or two symptoms and discover the root cause of a client’s problems. It’s the place where you need to start and what your solution needs to address.
Examples of good questions to ask whilst pitching include:
- If you could accomplish only one thing this year, what would it be?
- What happened to make you think you wanted to do X or change X?
- What’s your biggest challenge with X?
- Have you tried doing something to address X in the past? What was it, and how did it go?
- What are the things that could potentially make this intervention fail?
- Who will be your biggest supporter in achieving X?
- What does success look/feel like for you?
- Talk in Sound Bites
Whatever stage of the pitch you’re at, try to include “sound bites” – one or two sentences at a time that get across your main points. Talking in sound bites is a media tactic for people being interviewed, but it is just as effective in impacting someone in a pitch. Good sound bites are characterised by:
- Analogies – make comparisons that will connect with the audience.
- Brevity – keep it short.
- Polish – sound bites take practice. Prepare them ahead of time, use them frequently and fine tune them over time based on the response you get.
After talking, pause to allow the other party to absorb what you’ve said and respond. Nothing makes eyes glaze over faster during a conversation than when one person rambles on without end. Allowing your prospect to respond at regular intervals will also give you a chance to adapt your pitch as you go.
Top Tip: Test this popular sound bite against the criteria above – “Cleaning a house with a toddler is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.” It’s one most parents will immediately identify with. Sound bites make for great copy on social media too. They’re memorable and can serve as a perfect delivery vehicle for your messages. Try applying these Ten Tips for Sound Bites with Substance by Liz Guthridge of Connect Consulting Group.
- Make It About Them
Always make your pitch about the benefits to your prospective client. To make the purchasing decision, “people need an itch, not a pitch.” What problem will you solve? How will they be better off? Quantify the value of the change you will help them make. This is essential for those who are really price sensitive.
In the case of wellness programmes, the cost savings may not be immediately apparent. Draw the connection for clients in the tangible, for example, if you’re a health coach for employees you could discuss, increased productivity, greater staff retention and reduced absenteeism which have their own value.
- Create a Template And Adapt It
You don’t have to make a custom pitch for everyone. After all, you have an ideal customer which means they will likely have the same or similar pain points you’re addressing. Create a slide deck, video, or other materials that you can practice and nail down, and then build around it to customise for the person you’re meeting.
That way, you always have something fully prepared if you’re caught off guard or at short notice, and you can avoid that deer in the headlight panic.
- Ask for Yes
This may sound obvious, but a surprising number of people never get round to “asking the ask.” Your prospective clients are not going to beg to work with you or create their own packages. Provide them with a solid solution with a set price, or at most, with three choices.
If it’s not appropriate to push for an answer there and then, tell them you’ll make contact in a week to address any queries they may have. And then do it!
Top Tip: If you have addressed their pain points in the pitch effectively, then there should be a natural flow into how they can resolve them, with your help. If you’re not sure where that should be in the pitch, try testing the conversation out on a friend or family member.
- Practice Makes Perfect
Finally, pitching takes practice. Don’t be too hard on yourself if your first few attempts are so cringe-worthy they make you want to run and hide. It really will get easier over time.
Set yourself a weekly pitch target. Create avatars for your ideal pitch candidates and go to where they hang out. Or try to secure appointments with them. Attend networking events even if they don’t host your ideal clients – the practice will still be good for you, and you might even find a new niche!
Top Tip: If the thought of public speaking scares you, join your local Toastmasters club to get some practice in and learn from the pros.
Pitching is one of those things that you can learn, and don’t have to shy away from. It just means that you sometimes have to get out of your comfort zone!
If you want to create branding that helps with your pitches or a website that appeals to the right type of health coach clients, drop me a message and I’ll see how I can help.