A formal sales pitch isn’t much different from other forms of copywriting.
It’s just a persuasive argument aimed at a target audience. The key difference is that it’s often done in presentation form.
If you’ve ever watched Shark Tank (or Dragon’s Den outside of the US), bought a car, or spoken with a telemarketer, you’ve seen a sales pitch.
In this article, I’m going to lay out how to build a strong sales pitch using a conventional copywriting formula. You’ll see real examples and get a step-by-step process to build your own pitch.
AIDA is one of many copywriting formulas you can use to build an argument. I like it because it’s pretty much built for direct, efficient persuasion.
AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.
(You can read more about AIDA here)
Generally speaking, that’s how most good arguments are made – they grab attention, make it relevant, make you want something, and get you to take action.
You’ll see this structure (and similar structures) in everything from a cold email that’s a few lines long to a full-blown sales letter.
For presentations, we’re going to focus a little more closely on a few types of elements for each stage:
Pick building blocks from each section to build your AIDA sales pitch
Let’s get into each section, with some examples.
Get their ATTENTION for the pitch:
A great way to grab attention is to highlight a major problem your audience is already interested in.
It’ll demonstrate that you’re both on the same page and imply that you may have a solution worth hearing about.
AirBnB’s pitch deck started with a slide that identifies problems and sets up context for their offer
Attention-grabbers are usually brief and focus on a specific problem the pitcher knows the target audience faces.
Don’t worry about getting fancy here or trying to dress up the idea with a collection of visual elements. Just make a single attention-grabbing claim or ask a pointed question.
Examples of ATTENTION:
⇨ Ask a relevant question
⇨ Highlight a major problem
⇨ Be specific and get in your audience’s head
INTEREST them with cool facts
Here’s where you can outline your solution, your value proposition, and the sexy features you offer.
You can get a little more creative here and use visuals to illustrate how you solve the problem you set up in the Attention section.
Manpacks is a men’s brand. This simple pitch used an equally simple drawing to explain what their products do.
INTEREST should take the attention-grabbing hook and start building some context around it. You can do this by talking about solutions and processes. Tell the viewer how you plan on solving the problem you hooked them with.
⇨State your Unique Value Proposition
⇨Position yourself vs the attention-grabber
⇨Outline the process of HOW you’ll solve the problem
Make them DESIRE the product
Desire is all about getting the audience to want your offer. You can do this by highlighting your best success stories, dramatic case studies, and specific benefits.
Buffer highlighted their big wins (past and future)
DESIRE is a great place to use visuals. The aim is to highlight the biggest, best numbers you have and make them unforgettable.
These should be the type of numbers that make viewers sit up and go, “Omg, I NEED this!” (testimonials work great too!).
⇨ Name-drop and highlight your big wins
⇨ Highlight a dramatic before + after change
Get them to take ACTION
This is pretty simple – tell the audience what you want them to do. Be specific and give them a crystal-clear CTA, in the form of a clear target number, a contact phone number, a link to click, or a person to speak to.
Kickfolio ended their pitch with a clear target number and their founders’ contact info.
Like ATTENTION, ACTION is best done by being clear and simple. All you need to do is give the viewers a logical CTA. There’s no need for complex imagery or distracting visuals.
⇨ Tell them what you want them to do.
⇨ Give them a link to click, a number to call, or a person to speak to.
Ready to get started on your own pitch?
All you need to do is:
- (ATTENTION) Build an attention-grabbing hook around one of your audience’s big problems.
- (INTEREST) Tell them how you solve this problem.
- (DESIRE) Highlight the great results you achieve by solving the problem.
- (ACTION) Tell them what to do next in order to get started.
When you’re done, connect the stages into a simple-but-powerful argument that plays to your audience. It’s sort of like an outline on steroids, with visuals.
Here’s a version I built around my service as a copywriter:
- Google Slides to build your pitch. Slides will force you to keep things succinct and laser-focused.
- SlideShare has a searchable library of presentations – use it for inspiration.
- LinkedIn Series B to Greylock is one of my favorite pitch slide decks. Even better, you get LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman’s commentary on the pitch!
Don’t let the format intimidate you – it’s actually really simple when you break it down into AIDA steps.