The goal of your pitch is to convince your listener to perform a certain action.
Influencing with a pitch is a great skill to have.
There are multiple ways to convince somebody to perform a certain action. Your story, body language and your energy are the fundamentals of your pitch and all have a big impact on the success of your pitch.
Next to these pitching fundamentals there are numerous psychological tricks you can use to increase your success.
Dr. Robert Cialdini did years of research on the ‘art’ of influence. He came up with 6 principles which you can use to influence others. Use (some of) these principles in your pitch to increase the impact of your pitch.
- Reciprocity in your pitch
If I give you a nice present, you are most likely gratefull for that. Therefore, in return, you are quite likely to conform if I ask you for a favor.
|What is it?||By giving something to another person, he is more likely to give something back|
|What can it do for you?||By giving something, preferably a physical object, you increase the chances that your listener will conform to your call to action|
|Example:||Before your pitch starts you give a prototype of your product to your listener. If you are pitching for a cookies company, make sure to give all your listeners a sample of your newest flavour.|
- Scarcity in your pitch
If there is a race on a certain product, people tend to go crazy for it. For example, in times of economic wellfare houses in the big cities tend to be very popular. Because of this, the prices of these houses will increase significantly.
|What is it?||By creating the feeling that there is a limit on the amount of people who can participate or invest, the listener feels he should act quick|
|What can it do for you?||By saying there are a few investors keen to invest, you increase the chance somebody wants to invest on a short term|
|Example:||‘We haven’t signed an investor yet, but we have a few meetings lined up next week.’|
- Authority in your pitch
Let’s say you are smoking a cigarette on the street. Then a random person approaches you, and tells you that smoking is bad and you should quit. Most likely to will not pay too much attention to what he has to say. However, when he explains to you that he is a doctor who did a Phd on the effects of smoking on your body, you are way more likely to take his advice seriously.
|What is it?||People follow the lead of credible and knowledgeable experts|
|What can it do for you?||By demonstrating your authority on the subject the listener is more likely to agree with the rest of your pitch|
|Example:||‘I have over more than 15 years of experience with pitching. That’s why I am more than ready to help you to create the perfect pitch.’|
- Consistency in your pitch
This is an example which gets used a lot by people who ‘sell’ subscriptions to charity organizations on the street. When they approach you, it usually goes something like this:
Him: Hi! Do you like animals?
Him: Nice. Do you like cats or dogs?
You: Ehh. Sure.
Him: Nice. Me too! Don’t you also feel sorry for cats and dogs who are underfed, and beaten up by their previous owners?
You: Ehh. Ofcourse.
Him: Exactly. I have a way how you can help, it only costs you $10 per month to help those poor animals. You liked animals, right?
You: Ehhh. I suppose you are right. Let’s do it.
What happened here is a classic version of the consistency principle. Because human beings don’t like being inconsistent, they will often follow up on their previous statements.
Here you confirmed multiple times that you like animals, and you feel sorry for the abused ones. By saying that, you would feel inconsistent by rejecting his offer.
|What is it?||People like to be consistent with the things they have previously said or done.|
|What can it do for you?||By getting your listener to say yes to a few small questions you increase the chance that he will say yes to your call to action|
|Example:||‘Raise your hand if you like a good pitch. Now also raise your hand if you appreciate the art of pitching.’
In this case the call to action could be: I saw a lot of people who are excited about being a great pitcher. Become a great pitcher yourself and buy the course for only $399,-.
- Liking in your pitch
If you like somebody a lot, he can get away with a lot of things another person probably couldn’t. Think about it:
When a good friend asks you to help to paint the house, you’ll probably say yes. However, when a random person asks you the same thing, you’d never do it.
If other people like you, you will be way more succesfull in getting what you want.
|What is it?||People prefer to say yes to those that they like.|
|What can it do for you?||There are 3 reasons why people like you:
1) They are similar to you
2) They share the same goals as you
3) They get a compliment from you
Since number 1 and 2 require more time to accomplish, you could use these tactics during potential negotiations after your pitch. You can however use number 3 during your pitch.
|Example:||Thank you so much for taking the time to listen to this pitch. I understand you have a busy schedule, so I highly appreciate it.|
- Consensus in your pitch
Of all the influencing principles this is probably the most subtle one. The power of consensus is the strongest in situations where people don’t know what is expected of them. The less familiar somebody is with the situation, the more he or she will comply with the consensus principle.
The Consesus principle defines the behaviour, where people copy the behaviour of others in situations where they don’t know what to do. Here’s an example which you unfortunately see in the news way too often:
A person is stabbed in a crowded street in the middle of the day. He or she is bleeding and obviously needs to go to a hospital. But because so many people walk by, everybody thinks that another person already called an ambulance. So they walk by.
Here comes the consensus:
Because passengers see the other people walking by. They assume unconsciously that that’s the right thing to do. So they do the same and also walk by.
|What is it?||When people are not sure what to do, they follow the actions of others|
|What can it do for you?||If potential investors are not sure whether or not to invest, the agreement of other investors might convince them|
|Example:||We are looking for an investment of 150.000,-. However, we already have 2 investors who agree on 50.000,- each and you could be the last one to join as well.
As you can see there are 6 ways how you can influence others with your pitch. People all over the world use them and the impact can be high.
Please use these 6 infuencing principles ethically, as the impact of these principles can be very strong,
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