Polish Your Persuasiveness

How to craft a winning pitch for any purpose

Pretend each person you meet has a sign around their neck that says, “Make me feel important.”

Mary Kay Ash
[3-min read]

Nine years ago, I was in Fresno, CA.

My mission?

Get my sales team ready for a big pitch. Winning the contract meant everything for our business.

We’d been positioning for this moment for years. Our pitch was sharp.

It was our second shot with this client. We’d lost a close race before and couldn’t afford another miss.

After rehearsing all day, we went to dinner.

I could feel the team’s nerves. On the spot, I gave a speech to rally their confidence.

We’d done the work. We were ready.

The next day? The team nailed the pitch and landed us a $71M contract.

It felt incredible. All the planning and effort finally paid off.

Flash forward to last weekend…

I couldn’t convince my 3-year-old to take a nap before her brother’s birthday party.

What happened? I wasn’t ready for my audience.

I made a bad pitch.

Learning to Pitch

No matter who you are:

  • Parent

  • Student

  • Freelancer

  • Business owner

  • Frontline manager

  • Corporate executive

You need to persuade. And to do that, you need a good pitch.

How can you increase your chances of a winning pitch, even if you have to think on the spot?

Here’s a simple model that works for any situation:

1. What if…

(Show the potential)

2. So you…

(Explain the benefits)

3. For example…

(Give a real-life case)

4. And that’s not all…

(Highlight more opportunities)

I learned this from Matt Abrahams, an organizational psychologist who teaches at Stanford.

Making It Work for You

I’ll give you 3 examples to get the ideas flowing.

Web Design Agency pitching a potential client:

1. What if you could have a standout website that captures your brand’s essence.

2. So you attract your ideal customers and convert their visits into sales.

3. For example, a local bakery we worked with saw a 50% increase in online orders the week after we revamped their site.

4. And that’s not all, our ongoing support means your website gets even better as your business grows.

Consultant pitching leadership workshops:

1. What if you knew the latest science-backed leadership techniques.

2. So you can help your team skyrocket their productivity and feel more connected than ever.

3. For example, a tech startup CEO who attended boosted her team’s efficiency by 40%.

4. And that’s not all, these leadership skills prepare you for future challenges. You’ll be ready for whatever comes next.

It’s useful for non-sales situations too...

Executive pitching their team about cutting costs at a tough time:

1. What if we could make temporary sacrifices in non-essential areas to keep our company strong?

2. So we ensure job security and our business’s continued success.

3. For example, Company C made similar hard choices and bounced back within a year. They even improved on what they had before.

4. And that’s not all, facing challenges together makes us even stronger as a team.

Diving Deeper

Dr. Robert Cialdini's book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a brilliant read. I guarantee you'll learn techniques that’ll help you in business and life.

Yale University (yes, that Yale) offers a free learn-at-your-pace online course called Introduction to Negotiation. It’s a $0 way to build an incredibly valuable skill.

Connecting the Dots

Life’s full of moments that require us to persuade.

It isn’t only about getting what we want.

It’s about creating mutual understanding and positive outcomes.

Whether you’re pitching a multi-million dollar contract or trying to get a toddler to nap, the principles are the same.

Understand your audience, be prepared, and communicate with clarity and purpose.

Every failed pitch is an opportunity to learn and refine your approach.

Remember, it’s not just about the words you say, but the genuine intent and belief behind them.

Gotta run. It’s almost my daughter’s naptime. Time to practice my pitch…

Until next week, stay brilliant my friend.


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