5 Tips for Projecting Professionalism: How to Look Like a Boss During the Pitch
You’ve laid all the groundwork by making a good first impression on the phone or via email and you’ve set an appointment to meet with a prospect. It’s the bottom of the 9th and it’s time for the final pitch. Will you strike out or hit a home run? Oddly enough, unlike baseball, the pitch itself will often have little to do with whether you’re able to land the job.
Instead, your appearance and demeanour are typically the primary factors that will determine the outcome of the proposal. Throughout the pitch there will be times when the client seems to not be paying attention to your words but to your mannerisms, attire, accessories, and attitude. At these times, they’re most likely asking themselves whether you’re “the real deal.”
With that said, let’s take a look at 5 brief tips you can use to project boss-like professionalism during a pitch:
1. Dress Appropriately
Consider the context of the consultation and the environment it will take place in. If you’re going to a boardroom that will be filled with suit and ties, play your cards right and follow suit. On the other hand, if you’re pitching an HVAC installation to a homeowner, dress the part of a handyman, and so on.
2. Bring a Laptop, Tablet, or Projector
Showing up with nothing but a bundle of papers and a smartphone says “I’m not prepared” and/or “I can’t afford a decent presentation device.” Adversely, pulling out an expensive laptop or 2-in-1 tablet says “I don’t necessarily need you. You need me, because I’m a professional.” Something like a Microsoft Surface Pro, an Apple MacBook Pro, or a business-oriented HD projector would fit the bill nicely.
3. Bring a Presentation Folder
Contrary to popular misconception, papers and folders are far from obsolete. In fact, many prospects would prefer to have a physical pamphlet, portfolio, brochure, or list of pros and cons to skim over as you’re giving an oral presentation. Pulling out printed presentation folders and handing out a few informative printouts is also a great way to break the ice going into the pitch.
4. Create a Digital Slideshow
This is where your aforementioned presentation device comes into play. Use a software like PowerPoint or an alternative to create a convincing slideshow that summarizes why the client should choose your product or service. If you choose not to use a projector, there are apps that will let you use your smartphone as a remote to control the slides on your laptop or tablet.
5. Rehearse Your Pitch Extensively the Night Before
Studies have shown that we process and organise information while sleeping. For this reason, repeatedly rehearsing your pitch the night before is much more effective than waiting until the day of the presentation. Although, running it back in your mind on the way to the meeting is advisable as well.
Learn to Control Nervousness
Finally, as a bonus tip – you absolutely cannot show any signs of being nervous, insecure, or unconfident. Even if you follow all of the above tips to the tee, failing to remain calm and collected can ruin everything. If you’re anxious in any way, they’ll be able to tell, and it’ll only make you look inexperienced and unqualified. Show that you can handle the pressure of the pitch and you’ll land the prospect.