How to Get Past your Fear of the Pitch

Is fear holding you back from making the pitch?

Don’t worry—that’s totally normal!

The bad news is that that fear might be sabotaging the success of your entire business.

But the good news is that you can do something about fear.

Chances are, you may have worried about a million different what-ifs, such as, “what if…”

  • A prospect doesn’t like me?
  • I spend all that time and energy building a relationship and they still turn me down?
  • They say “no”?
  • I’m not actually that good at the services I offer?
  • I forget what I wanted to say and I make a mess of the pitch?
  • I do well in the pitch and I actually DO get hired for the gig?
  • I can’t pay my bills?
  • The prospect asks me a question that I don’t know the answer to?
  • They laugh in my face?
  • They balk at my prices?
  • I realize partway through the pitch meeting that it’s not a good fit after all?
  • I completely underestimate or overestimate the cost of the project?

And the list can go on. . .

First, know that your thoughts are valid and legitimate. It’s okay to be afraid and ask yourself these types of questions. Just make sure you remember that you are in control of the situation. You can control your fear. The trick is essentially to identify the issue, come up with solutions, and then act on those solutions. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Identify what exactly it is that you’re so afraid of.

Dig a little deeper than answers like, “I’m afraid of failing”. What exactly is so scary about failing? Why does that frighten you? What is it about failing that worries you?

Perhaps it’s that you won’t be able to have enough money to pay your bills. If so, we’re starting to get closer to pinpointing what it is that you’re really afraid of.

You might want to set a timer for 20 minutes and free-write or talk out loud about what you’re feeling to help narrow things down and get to the root of your fear.

It’s likely that your fears are a symptom of something bigger that’s going on, and this is a useful exercise for identifying that cause so you can move past your anxiety.

Step 2: Ask yourself, “what will happen—and what will I do—if XYZ doesn’t work out?”

For example, let’s say that you’re afraid a prospect will turn you down, no matter how much time and energy you put into making the pitch “just right”.

In that case, is it really the end of the world? Nope! In fact, you’ll probably learn a lot from the experience and identify things you could do differently in the future. Or at the very least, you’ll have a chance to practice pitching so you’ll be more comfortable with it next time.

Having some kind of plan in place for your worst-case scenario will make you feel more in control, which can help to relieve the fear.

Step 3: Figure out what you can do to take action on this NOW.

You might be terrified that you won’t be able to get clients. In that case, you could take action now to create an epic marketing and relationship-building strategy, plan your pitches with precision, and bulk up your client directory with extra prospects. You can even plan what you’ll say if a prospect says “no”.

Coming up with actionable plans to prevent and work around your fears will do a lot to help you move forward.

Step 4: Prepare and practice to improve your confidence.

The more you prepare for the pitch and practice, the more confident and less scared you’ll be.

You can also improve your confidence—and thus eliminate fears—by having little rituals in place. For instance, something I like to do is get into “power poses” before meeting with clients (or even hosting webinars).

Smaller things you can do to make yourself feel more comfortable, powerful, or confident—such as giving yourself plenty of time to arrive to the meeting early, wearing a favorite outfit, or getting a pep talk from a supportive friend—can also go a long way.

Step 5: Stay positive and plan for a successful outcome.

Get yourself into the right mindset by focusing on the positive aspects of the meeting. For example, you might think to yourself, “This is my first pitch meeting ever—cool! It’ll be interesting to see how this goes,” or “I’m so glad I’m meeting with this client at my favorite coffee shop,” or “It’s going to be great to meet this prospect in person for the first time!”

Rather than being so focused on nailing the pitch, instead focus on other aspects of the meeting that you’re excited about: the learning opportunity, the chance to chat with someone who seems cool, the fun of getting out of your office for an hour, etc.

Planning with a positive mindset for a successful outcome—regardless of what that actual “outcome” might be—will help to put you at ease and take the pressure off the meeting. And that’s going to make you much more approachable and more enjoyable to chat with. . .which will probably also improve the likelihood of the client hiring you. Win-win!

 

Ready to make your pitch? Here are 10 things you should do ahead of time for an extra confidence boost!

Sagan Morrow

Sagan Morrow has a decade of experience as a blogger and freelance writer, editor, and social media manager at SaganMorrow.com. She is the author of The Business of Writing & Editing and A Year in the Life of Candid Conversations, and has taught dozens of new freelancers how to start and grow their own successful, profitable home-based businesses—without the overwhelm—through her online courses.

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