Myth: I suck as an entrepreneur because I always feel scared or nervous before I pitch my services to a prospect.
Truth: There are people out there who eat presentations, sales, cold calling etc, for breakfast. They are called extroverts. If you are an introvert, like me, you can still work and practice yourself into being a great service pitcher – even if you feel nervous before every presentation you make.
2 Truths about Nerves
- It’s Ok to Be Nervous: I’ve heard Michael Hyatt say this multiple times, “Nervousness is my body preparing me for peak performance.” (Michael Hyatt Reframe Your Fear and Let it Work For You. ) Before I pitch, I DO feel nervous and it is ok for you to feel it too. It means, at least to me, that I’m not overconfident. I’m not going to be pushy, and most importantly: I’m going to prepare like crazy. (Don’t ever let your case of the nerves be because you haven’t prepped your pitch properly!) Your goal, in other words, is not to eliminate nervousness from your life, but to focus it correctly.
2. Your Nerves Must Focus You On Others. Being ‘self-conscious’ is your worst enemy in any pitch. So as you arrive to meet your prospect, start changing your focus away from yourself and how you feel. Focus on others! Specifically, everything possible that relates to your prospect. Notice things like: office decorations, how the receptionist greets you, how everyone around you is dressed. In your prospect’s office, pay VERY close attention to personal pictures they have, art on the wall, or the decorations on their desk.
Does something you see connect with you in some way? Be brave, and comment on it, or be curious and ask about it. In one meeting I had with a prospect, I saw that his office was filled with cool decorations from Africa, specifically elephants and giraffes. It was a long time ago, but I remember making a simple comment like: ‘Wow, you must really love elephants!” The comment was genuine and full of the surprise I felt at seeing soo many of the large animals around me, and it totally opened our meeting up. He told me all about his recent safari trip, and how exciting it was for him. Rapport was built almost instantly, and the sale came a little later. It was painless.
That experience would not have happened if I had of allowed my fear/nervousness to focus my attention inward on what I had to say, my presentation, my services, etc. I wouldn’t have been able to engage him on the most important topic of the day: HIM! Remember: your business is not about you, it should be about the people you want to serve.
When you feel self-conscious, which is really what nervousness is all about, you are focussed on the wrong person: you!
Effective pitches obviously start with knowing yourself, your service/business, your benefits, what’s in it for your prospect, your prices, how you compare with your competition, the most frequent objections and how to overcome them, and how you do what you do. But a pitch that has power is focused on others.
How have you used nervousness to help you grow your business?