Business guide to Coronavirus

How to pitch for business online and win

For the time being, everything in business has been moved online – including pitching for new business. But how do you best prepare to make your business stand out when preparing for a new business meeting in the virtual world when you're keen to get a new client onboard? Here are some practical tips to get you started.

1. Prepare your presentation

When you’re pitching in person, team chemistry and your physical presentation count for a lot. However, when this process is moved online, these things are harder to convey, which means your presentation deck will draw a lot more attention than usual.

To keep your audience interested and focused, try to include more slides with less information in your pitch deck than usual and flip through often. This helps give your pitch a sense of depth, direction and make it more dynamic. And go easy on videos and animations as these are more likely to cause technical difficulties when screen sharing.

2. Be organised

Speaking of tech, you should give yourself plenty of time to set up before your pitch meeting starts. Check your internet connection is steady, your screen sharing software works, make sure your camera and sound are working, and double check you know where the mute button is.

Resend the meeting invite 15 minutes before your scheduled start time so no one has to search their inbox for the link. Because you can’t use traffic or parking as an excuse for being late when you’re meeting online, punctuality is crucial. Joining the meeting a few minutes early helps give the right impression. Put your phone on silent and keep it out of sight to stop it from distracting you during the pitch.

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3. Look your best

It’s a no-brainer that dressing the part is just as important for a virtual pitch as it is for an in-person meeting. But when it comes to delivering a professional online presentation, there’s more to consider than what you’re wearing.

Positioning your camera at eye level and looking at the camera when you speak (not at yourself) means people aren’t going to get an unflattering look of you. Plus, it gives attendees the impression you’re looking directly at them and it helps to facilitate eye contact.

Placing the brightest light source in the room – a window or light – behind your camera will help improve the quality of your video and ensure you look clear and pixel-free. And if you don’t want everyone to see your messy home office, using a digital background can create a professional vibe. Even better, why not customise a virtual background for your brand.

4. Win the virtual room

Virtual interactions can feel awkward and it can be tempting to get straight to the pitch, but the usual meeting conventions still apply. Start with introductions and a little small talk. With most people working from home, feeling connected matters more than ever.

When it’s time to deliver your pitch, speak clearly, leave lots of pauses and expect regular requests for clarification. It can be harder to voice a query when you’re meeting virtually, so go slowly and provide breaks for questions. If you’re delivering your pitch with a colleague, having a plan for who will speak and when will help avoid both of you speaking at once.

Above all, remember that even though you’re speaking to a screen, you’re communicating with real people in real-time. Connection and collaboration are the goals. 

To learn more about running your business in the virtual world, visit our resource centre.