Over the past several months, many LGBT businesses and Certified LGBTBE® business owners have taken a shot at pitching their business to a panel of experts as a part of NGLCC’s virtual Sip & Pitch program. But just what makes a killer pitch? Last week, NGLCC turned to the experts to find out. Angenetta Frison, Supplier Diversity & Sustainability Lead at Barilla, and Casey Oakes, Corporate Supplier Diversity Expert, answered all of your burning questions on pitching as an LGBT business owner. Here are some highlights from their conversation with moderator Sabrina Kent, Senior Vice President at NGLCC.
1. What are corporate supplier diversity leads looking for in a pitch?
Energy, energy, energy! Know your product and services, what value it could bring to companies, and what makes YOU different from other suppliers in the same field. Bringing this energetic understanding to a pitch is guaranteed to catch the attention of buyers. Angenetta and Casey recommend researching how you differ from the current supplier the company is using, as well as having an understanding of what the company needs and how you typically work with clients.
2. What should a supplier bring to a pitch or matchmaking session?
Since pitches and matchmaking sessions are now mostly virtual, it’s important to fine-tune your materials to match this shift. Prepare a capabilities statement, as well as a deck with examples of your work. If you produce hard goods or commodities, have a sample ready to present to potential buyers. Even though companies may not be able to hold your product in their hand during a session, cultivate a pitch to let them imagine doing so. Angenetta and Casey emphasize the importance of customizing your materials to the company you are pitching to, and personalizing your settings to the product or service you offer. When pitching on Zoom, consider aspects of your presentation like your backdrop or immediate surroundings. Do you live your brand?
3. What makes for a truly memorable pitch?
Find a way to stand out! Connect with the company liaison on something meaningful, whether it’s related or unrelated to your business. When you’re following up with the liaison, emphasize that point of connection to jog their memory. Supplier diversity professionals meet with many, many business owners – preparing a unique pitch will help to distinguish you. During this process, work to build a relationship with the person you’re talking to, not just the company you aim to provide services for.
4. What mistakes do people make during pitches?
Angenetta discussed the tendency of some suppliers to get overly technical during their pitches. Although it’s important for the company to understand your business or product, keep in mind that your audience is not always your end user. Diving too deeply into the mechanics of your product can be detrimental during pitching. Casey re-emphasized the importance of tailoring the pitch to the company you’re pitching to – pitches can get sloppy if they are overgeneralized to multiple companies.
5. What can you do to connect with SD professionals right now?
Get involved! Digital spaces can serve you right now through participation in supplier programs and outreach through supplier portals. NGLCC and their affiliate chambers are continuing to host series of matchmaking and pitch events, like Sip & Pitch. Participating in programming can help you to expand your reach and to connect with other suppliers and corporate liaisons.
As we often say at NGLCC: you do not get what you do not ask for– so help us help you by engaging the NGLCC Supplier Diversity team to help with guidance, connections, and resources your business needs to thrive.