Communications

How to Make a Successful Business Pitch: 9 Tips from Experts

You just had your lunch, and you’re about to get back to work. 

While making your post-lunch tea (or coffee), you can’t stop thinking about being your own boss. 

You wonder if it’s about time for you to turn your side hustle into a full-time business and become an entrepreneur. 

Or perhaps you want to propose the idea of a 4-day workweek to your CEO. 

If you want to introduce investors and prospects to your business idea and convince them to take the plunge with you,  you need a strong, persuasive business pitch. 

How to create a persuasive business pitch according to experts 

The good news — it’s possible to craft a convincing and successful business pitch. 

Even better news: This guide shows you how. 

Grab your drink of choice and take notes as we explore the different ways to pitch a business idea and understand what makes a great business pitch.

You’ll also get a glimpse of our business pitch templates and learn expert advice from those who have pitched their way to success (and failure too). 

You can also watch the video below if you don’t have time to go over this guide. It’s also easier to follow along if you sign up for a free Piktochart account and edit the templates yourself (learning by doing).

Watch this video if you want to learn about how to make a successful business pitch


What is a business pitch? 

A business pitch is a presentation of a business idea to a group of people who can help make the idea into a reality.

You can pitch to: 

  • Investors who can help fund your idea
  • Potential customers who will pay for your product or service
  • Advocates who will support your idea

In some cases, a business pitch doesn’t have to be all about presenting a new idea. You could be asking for more funding or continued support to an already established business venture. 

Whether through an investment, purchase, or advocacy, a business pitch becomes successful if you can convince people to believe in your idea or pique their interest and get them to learn more. 

Now that you understand what a business pitch is, let’s take a closer look at the different types of business pitches. 

Types of pitches in business

illustration showing the different types of a business pitch

Your business pitch can be narrowed down to the following types: 

1. Investor pitch

investor pitch template

In this type of business pitch, you present a persuasive pitch deck to a group of potential business partners or investors. 

Sign up for a free Piktochart account for professional-looking pitch deck templates you can edit in minutes.

An investor business pitch will typically last for 45 minutes.  You’ll have 20-30 minutes of presentation and a discussion or a Q&A afterward. There’s also the 5-10 minute business pitch with investors, which is common during a pitch competition. 

2. Sales pitch 

sales demo deck template

The goal of a sales pitch is to answer the question “What’s in it for me?” from the lens of the potential customer. 

The best salespeople can make a sales pitch in as short as a minute. Also known as the elevator pitch, you should be able to deliver the pitch within a single elevator ride  (in 30-60 seconds). 

3. Product pitch 

product pitch template

A product pitch is similar to a sales pitch, but the spotlight is mainly on the product itself. 

For example, a sales pitch for an email automation software will highlight 1 or  2 of its benefits. Meanwhile, a product pitch of the same automation software will focus more on its features, how it works, and how you can integrate the software into your existing setup. 

4. Job pitch 

job pitch template

If you’re applying for a job or internship and you’re curious how you can stand out in a sea of qualified applicants like you,  consider pitching yourself to a prospective employer. 

“It’s not about bragging or showing off — it’s about giving the other person evidence that you can actually do what you say you can do,” assures Starla Sampaco, TV news anchor at KCTS 9 and founder of Career Survival Guide.

5. Workplace pitching 

pitching at work template

Do you have an idea or initiative that will help your colleagues and help boost the company’s profitability?  Pitch it to your team or boss! 

For example, you can pitch a remote-first culture or the 4-day workweek to your HR and the rest of the leadership team. Or you might want to propose the creation of a new role in your team which can help advance your career and address a challenge in the organization at the same time. 

The structure of a successful business pitch 

If creating a business pitch sounds intimidating, we have your back. 

You can address this worry by making sure that you have a business pitch structure. 

When you have a structure, you’ll know exactly what you’re going to say next. 

In addition, structure helps make your business pitch more memorable to your audience. Specifically, it turns out that people retain structured information up to 40 percent more accurately than information presented in freeform. 

The WHAC Method

the WHAC method of business pitch structure

Whether you’re pitching to a group of potential investors or you’re selling real estate, use the WHAC method when structuring your business pitch. 

The WHAC method is introduced in The 3 Minute Rule by Brandt Pividic, an award-winning film director and television producer. He wrote the book to detail his experience and tips as he made hundreds of pitches in Hollywood. 

WHAC stands for: 

What is it and what do you offer? 

You start your business pitch by answering the questions: what is it, and what do you offer? 

At this point, you share your business plan and quickly outline the problem and solution you offer. For example, let’s say that you want to pitch the idea of having a UX researcher in your product team. 

You list down existing problems and challenges that your team and organization are currently experiencing without a dedicated UX researcher. Afterward, you propose your solution — hiring someone who can step in and do user research. 

How does it work? 

Next, explain your proposal. Provide a quick summary of the benefits of your solution. In our example, share how the UX researcher will help the product team accomplish its objectives. 

Are you sure? 

Once you have provided the solution, the people listening to your pitch are likely saying to themselves, “will it really work?”

This is the point where you have to provide solid proof in your pitch. You can use testimonials, a short case study, or statistics. If you’ve done your research, this is the time that you need to highlight your findings. 

Can you do it? 

The final part of your pitch should answer this question.

Now that your audience has heard you talk about the problem, solution, and proof that it works, you need to show them how you’re going to implement the solution. Think of this point as the “actionable” part of your pitch. 

“Show how you have thought about how to turn your idea into a commercial outcome or true partnership. This is really an opportunity to start or continue building trust and showing that you care about creating real value for the people in the room is the best way to put you on the right foot,” shares Michael Rosenbaum, CEO of Spacer,  one of the biggest parking marketplaces in the U.S. 

How to persuade your audience with your business pitch 

Now that you know the structure of a good business pitch, take note of the following tips to help make your business pitch more interesting, relatable, and most of all, convince your audience to say “yes”. 

1. Understand what your audience wants from you 

pitch deck template for apps

It’s standard advice to “know your audience”.  

However, if you’d like to become better at your business pitches, go the extra mile by understanding what your audience wants from you. 

There’s a difference between understanding and knowing your audience. Instead of just knowing where your client comes from, try to understand their pain points, goals, and motivation. 

How do you do this? 

Talk to them in advance, read about the things they publish online (tweets, blog posts), and understand what excites them. By doing so, you’ll be able to tailor your business pitch to their needs, wants, and preferences. 

For example, if you’re pitching to potential clients and investors who are eco-conscious at the same time, it makes sense to highlight how your idea can positively impact the environment. 

Stephen Keighery, CEO of Home Buyer Louisiana and Founder of Bald Eagle Investments USA, shares this tip when it comes to customizing your pitch to your audience: 

“Learn ahead and research about the company or the client you’ll be pitching to, just be sure that every information you obtain is for public knowledge. You can also observe their behavior and their words during the transaction; and perhaps while pitching, use the jargon they use to establish connection and a favorable impression to them.”

2. Have your elevator pitch ready 

mark cuban shark tank pitch meme

Imagine this. You just bumped into Mark Cuban of Shark Tank at the airport lounge, and you can’t believe that you’re sitting next to him! He looks at you and asks you about yourself and what you do. 

This is when you need your elevator pitch handy! 

The Asana team recommends the following elements of a good elevator pitch

  • Introduction
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Value proposition
  • CTA (call to action)

You don’t have to follow the exact formula. You can mix it up based on the situation, your personality, and the audience you’re pitching to. 

It’s also worth noting that you might not immediately notice the benefit of your elevator pitch.  Think of it as an opportunity for you to make a great first impression. 

3. Use visual aids

If you have the chance to present beyond the elevator pitch, you should never pitch with a presentation that’s filled with texts, numbers, or endless rows of data. 

As humans, our brains are hardwired to love visuals  — from photographs to infographics to icons. 

When pitching an idea, product, or service, get your audience’s attention (and support!) by telling a story visually and adding a bit of creativity to your powerpoint slides. 

Images trigger empathy which in turn can make your audience understand your pitch better. 

The more they understand your idea, the greater the likelihood of angel investors, venture capitalists, and potential customers supporting or advocating for you. 

Watch this 10 legendary pitch decks for visual inspiration.


4. Explain your business model clearly

business model slide in a business pitch

When pitching to investors, imagine them asking, “what’s in it for me?”. 

After learning about how your idea can help solve a problem, they’re interested in how you’re going to advertise to your target market and generate revenue consistently. 

Johannes Larsson, CEO of Financer.com explains that being able to articulate their business model was what made them successful in getting business partners on board. 

“We were relatively unknown in the industry, so it took us quite a few tries before we signed our first deal. After that, however, things became much easier — not just because we were building up a name for ourselves but also because we improved our approach.

We learned that being able to clearly explain our business model was the key to earning potential partners’ trust. Once we mastered that, we focused on providing proof of fruitful partnerships. It was obvious that this information was what our affiliates cared about, so we made sure to gather evidence of our success and present it in every pitch.”

5. Weave your passion or story with your pitch

story slide for a pitch deck

Your business pitch doesn’t have to sound like you’re reading it straight from a script that someone else wrote for you. 

When appropriate, add a bit of your personal touch.  In short, humanize your pitch and slide deck. 

It will not only improve your relatability factor but also make you feel less nervous. After all, you’re talking about something that you’re passionate about. 

Take it from Debbie Chew, an SEO Specialist at Dialpad.

“As part of my hiring process, I had to pitch a marketing campaign idea. I started brainstorming a list of potential ideas and their projected impact to decide which one to go with.

While doing this, one idea kept coming back to me, and I realized I was most passionate about pitching a campaign related to video meetings. People now spend so much of their time in video meetings, but how much time? And how can we have better meetings? So I built my pitch around this concept and really enjoyed pitching my idea (which also helped me feel less nervous),” shares Chew. 

If you can share a personal story or something you’re passionate about in your pitch — while also tying it back to your audience — they won’t forget it. And yes, I got the job!” 

6. Put the spotlight on benefits

pitch deck slide showing benefits

Once you have your audience’s attention, circle back to how your product or service will address customer needs and benefit business partners. 

For Carsten Schaefer of Trust.io, it boils down to being able to share the benefits of your product or service from the get-go. 

“When I first had to get funding for my product, I had to deliver a sales pitch in front of a board of investors. It didn’t succeed, and I learned a lot from it.

“Investors want cold, hard facts and the benefits to the end-user. In the end, they want to see if it makes money for them or not. I’m glad I failed because I learned that for an effective sales pitch, you really need to put yourself in the shoes of someone thinking about profit and pure common sense from a business perspective.

Create a successful business pitch

Select a template that sparks your imagination. Clone, add or delete blocks. Visualize concepts, processes, lists, timelines and data. Use charts and graphs. Sync them with spreadsheets. Export the visual in PDF or PNG format. Start for free.

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Infographic header template showcase

7. Highlight  why you’re different from the competition

pitch deck slide describe your secret sauce
pitch deck slide describing the competition

Your business pitch is also an opportunity for you to explain what sets you apart from other businesses or organizations.  What makes your idea different?  Why is your business model unique? 

It also helps to address the competition head-on in your pitch. For Brogan Renshaw of Firewire Digital, this tactic shows clients and investors that you’re an expert of what you are talking about, giving them confidence in your offering.

“I notice that this is a part of my business pitches that completely wins the client over because it answers their questions and concerns on the market position of competitors,” says Renshaw. 

8. Share the story behind your team

pitch deck slide describing your team

Investors and business partners are also curious about the people, employees, or the team behind your idea. When creating this presentation slide in your pitch deck, don’t forget to include information highlighting your team and each team member’s relevant skills. 

“Investors want to know whether the founders have worked together before, if your startup’s early hires have complementary skill sets, and whether you’ll be flexible, open-minded, and willing to embrace different perspectives, “ writes  Lauren Landry,  associate director of marketing and communications for Harvard Business School Online.

9. Have an impressive one-pager. 

As its name implies, a one-pager is a one-page document outlining your business plan and mission. Think of it as a business brochure

Imagine when an investor or client is too busy to listen to your pitch, you can simply email or hand out your one-pager.  

According to Greg Cullen, Sr. Account Executive at Dialpad, your one-pager should have these three components: 

  • What is the business pain
  • How the solution you’re positioning can solve said business pain
  • The value of the solution accompanied by the resulting positive impact by moving forward with the platform

“This one-pager condenses everything that is important succinctly into an easy-to-digest easy to digest format for everyone to read – and it ensures that all parties are on the same page. And most importantly, this can be used by the champion you’re working with to sell this internally, whether it’s to the CEO, procurement, etc. The better you make this one-pager, the better the result you’ll have,” recommends Cullen. 

Get funding, win clients, and gain support with Piktochart’s pitch deck creator 

While it may be nerve-wracking, particularly if it’s the first time that you’re creating a business pitch, use the expert tips above as your guideposts for a successful pitch. 

You’ll eventually have your unique style and approach to business pitching as you do it more frequently.

If you need help creating your pitch deck, create your pitch deck quickly with Piktochart’s pitch deck creator. The first step is to get your free Piktochart account.

Want additional insight on how to better prepare and deliver a  business pitch that you’ll be presenting online? Go to our guide to stress-free, engaging Zoom presentations.

We’re rooting for you and your business!

Kaitomboc

Kai Tomboc

Kyjean Tomboc is an experienced content marketer for healthcare, design, and SaaS brands. She also manages content (like a digital librarian of sorts). She lives for mountain trips, lap swimming, books, and cats.

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