How to Find American Clients by Pitching Your Company (Ultimate Guide)

By 3 April 2023 Non classé No Comments
how to pitch to Americans

Do you need to expand your business into the United States or find more American clients? Then you’re going to need to pitch to Americans. And if you’re like a lot of my coaching clients, you’ve already learned the basics of promoting your business in English. 

But you’re going to want to go beyond the basics behind a good pitch–and that’s what we’ll do in today’s guide. After all, you want to make your pitch to Americans highly personalized, professional, and, well, successful. In fact, today’s ultimate guide is based on questions I’ve been asked by clients and business contacts who need to pitch to Americans.

So what will you learn today?

You’ll find out what’s different about American pitches.  And learn to avoid some big communication mistakes that can kill your deal. You’ll learn some great strategies for really adjusting your pitch to your audience (I’ve got a secret tip for you there).

Ready to find out what else business owners have been asking about pitching to Americans–and what you need to do to make your pitch irresistible? Read on…

Don’t miss my next free, interactive workshop.

You’re serious about improving your English and your business skills. And I’m serious about helping you do that. That’s why I hold workshops every month on business communication skills you need. Want your exclusive monthly invitation? It’s easy. Just sign up for my newsletter.

What you’ll learn in this article:

1.  4 mistakes that kill your deal when pitching to Americans (Why pitching to Americans is different)
2. Pitch to Americans Expert Tip: Know who you’re talking to.
3. 3 Strategies for Pitching in Casual Conversations.

1. 4 mistakes that kill your deal when pitching to Americans (Why pitching to Americans is different)

You’ve probably figured out–as most of my clients have–that pitching to Americans is different than in your country. You can feel it when things aren’t right. But you might not know exactly what the problem is! And what you don’t know can hurt you.

Are you making these 4 mistakes that will kill your pitch? If the future of your business means you need to pitch to Americans you need to be able to follow the cultural codes, in English, like a pro.

Mistake #1: You talk too much about your product or solution.

Here’s an example of a mistake that will kill your pitch from where the founder of a tech company goes to pitch an investor in Silicon Valley. They started talking about their product and all the details about it. And it did NOT go well. The general partner looked bored, distracted, then annoyed.
And do you know what he actually said?

“I don’t care about the product as much as you might think. Stop going on and on. I get it. What I care about is what you are building for me. The revenue. The opportunity for return.”

Ouch! Can you imagine that moment? Your stomach probably is sinking and your morning coffee is probably swishing around in there. Ouch!

So what should you talk about first in your pitch?

Focus your pitch on this instead:

The most important thing you can focus on first is your client’s problem–as they see it!
Why your solution can solve their problem. And why it’s unique.

For a deeper explanation of this idea, if you listen to podcasts in French, be sure to check out the episode of French podcast, Let’s Go Allez ! You’ll find the link to the podcast in the reference section in this blog post (near the comments).

Try something like this:

There is a big change going on in the med tech industry. The companies that can do business in the States are going to grow into larger businesses–and will have to meet much greater demand. And the ones who don’t will disappear.

Our software will help you track your inventory and meet a much larger supply demand–so your business can be one of the ones that grow instead of disappearing.

Mistake #2: you focus on your accent or ‘perfect’ English–instead of what really matters.

When you’re nervous, does your voice stay low and calm? Or does it get high? Do you speak slowly, or waytoofastbecauseyou’renervous?
Here’s a quote from an article on non-verbal business communication in the Harvard Business Review on the importance of how you deliver your pitch.

“Before people decide what they think of your message, they decide what they think of you.”

You need to connect with your audience BEFORE you share your solution. And according to HBR, your body language, intonation, and voice speed matter–a LOT. (Yes, native speakers have to work on this too…)

My team and I help our clients do several things to help them connect first (notice none of these strategies focus on your accent or perfect English).

You’ll want to show warmth and confidence with open body language and posture (be sure to check out the video lesson to see what I mean).

How high (or low) is your voice? Your intonation? How fast are you speaking?

Consider recording yourself and watching, or practicing with a colleague, or working with a business communication coach to get this right.

Mistake #3: Stop trying to sound so smart!

Ok, I know, this sounds counterintuitive in some cultures. But, remember, Americans are more focused on emotional intelligence than intellectual intelligence.
I have seen clients from France, for example, speak in a way that shows off their intelligence, education, and culture, their fancy vocabulary–and that can look arrogant to an American audience.

Working on your emotional intelligence (your EQ) and not your intellectual intelligence (your IQ!) is a big topic in American business publications. And over at the blog I’ve got resources on how your EQ can improve your sales (it’s for an American audience, but you want to do business with Americans, right?).

To improve your pitch right now, ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I nervous, and focusing too much on myself?
  • Or am I focused on my audience–who they are and what they need?
  • How can I shift my focus from myself, to the needs of my audience?

Do you know what most of my clients find when they shift their focus?

Everything changes.

So stop paying attention to things that don’t matter–like perfect English, how smart you sound.
Don’t worry so much about all the tiny details about your product, how it works, how much it costs…

And you focus on what matters instead:
Who you’re talking to and how you can help them.

If you’re still not sure how to do some of the things I’ve just mentioned, don’t worry, you’re not alone. But, remember that I hold free, live interactive workshops each month on topics just like these–where I help you with questions just like these. To join my next workshop, just sign up for the newsletter and watch for your exclusive invitation.

2. Pitch to Americans Expert Tip: Know who you’re talking to.

Ok, so most of my clients and business contacts want to follow the advice I just gave you above.  You want to make sure you really connect with the person you’re speaking to–and show you understand their problem. So your amazing business can solve it.

But how do you actually do that?

Before you pitch–do your research.

You want to research your new client before your pitch. Most of us are familiar with the standard ways of finding out about a client. For example, researching the company website, LinkedIn, and other social media posts of the people from the company.
And now here’s an extra expert tip. Speak to people in the industry you’re trying to target.

Ask them questions about their biggest problems, their challenges.

Or as we say in business: What keeps them up at night?

And don’t stop there. Actually, record or write down the words they use.

Talk to your clients, talk LIKE your clients.

Next point: When you’re delivering your pitch, think very carefully about who you’ll be speaking with. Are you meeting with a general partner at an investment firm? Or the founder of a company? The head of IT–or the head of human resources? These people don’t have the same understanding, concerns or ways of speaking.

Remember, customize your message to your audience.
Talk about what keeps them up at night.
Their biggest problems. Use their words to describe their problems.  Don’t use language that’s too detailed and technical. Make sure they can see how your solution solves their problems. If you take the time to research your audience, this will be easier!

How to adjust your pitch when you don’t know who you’re talking to.

Alright, so here we’re going to get down into a very deep and specific question. A business contact of mine asked me this recently:

What do you do when you don’t know who you’re pitching to?

This might seem like a weird question, but it absolutely can happen.

For example, maybe you’re at a networking event and suddenly have the possibility of pitching to someone you haven’t ever met before. That person could be anyone, from a venture capitalist, to a neuroscientist, to the wife of the editor who will publish your next book–this actually happened to Tim Ferris.

You might also end up doing a formal pitch or presentation at a company but have no idea in advance who will be attending.

Does everyone there have the same technical expertise? Will you meet with the head of a department–or pitch to the owner or founder of the company?

And the truth is, there can always be surprises.

Here are a couple of strategies to find out about your audience while you pitch.

Watch your audience and be aware of their reactions.
Are they watching attentively and following along? Or are they looking bored or confused, staring out the window? If so, it might be time to change your language or strategy.

Ask open-ended questions.
If you sense you might need to adjust, see if you can work in an open-ended question to get your conversation partners talking.

This is a little bit like doing research in advance–but you’re doing it on the spot.

It lets you find out about the person you’re speaking with.

For example, if you ask them:
“What’s the biggest concern your company is facing right now?”

You’ll find out not only what they’re most worried about, but also the words they use to talk about it.

Being able to adjust while you speak means better chances of success for your pitch–and your company.

You’ll know how much technical language you should use, how formal you should be.

You’ll know what emotions you should touch on. And you may even have a sense of whether or not to use humor.

Most importantly, you’ll be able to make sure that you can solve your client’s biggest problems. Whether that’s generating more revenue for shareholders, or adapting to a new technology, or being more responsive to customers.

If you do business in English, you need these emails!

I asked 30,000 professionals, business owners, and entrepreneurs about the emails they need NOW to grow their businesses. Then I wrote those emails in English. Get my 8 must-have emails for your business here.

3. Strategies for Pitching in Casual Conversations.


Alright! You already know exactly how to pitch to Americans and what mistakes to avoid. You know how to adjust your pitch to your audience…in a formal setting.

But how do you pitch your business, product, or service in a casual conversation?

And how do you make it sound, natural? To see someone struggling with pitching in a casual conversion in one of my favorite Netflix series, check out this video.

Being too focused on business in a social setting or during small talk can sound very awkward or off-putting. So here are some strategies for pitching your business (naturally) in casual conversation.

Strategy #1: Learn to identify opportunities to pitch your business everywhere.

You know the situation, you move your business to the States, or attend a networking event in the States. And suddenly, you are having lots of casual conversations–that are actually opportunities to talk about your business–If you know how.

People in the States are really into small talk–and you might be surprised at how open people are to passing on their business cards at social events.

I even know of one guy in the US who brings business cards to…funerals. Because you just never know when you might run into someone you can work with. Ok, that may sound a little extreme but keep an open mind.

So where could you pitch your business?

Anyplace you’re standing in line! If you’re at a networking event, seminar or professional event think of the registration line, the coat check or the line to grab a drink.

If you live in the States, this could be a supermarket. Think also of anywhere you have a community tie. This could be attending your children’s school event, a sporting or charity event.

Bring your business cards along as a reminder that you never know who you’ll meet.

Move into your pitch naturally and casually.

Here is the tricky part: finding a natural and casual way to bring up your business and drop a quick pitch about it–if that makes sense in the conversation. Once you know how, it’s not as hard as it sounds.

Start out like you would in a normal small-talk situation.

Say hello to the other person, introduce yourself, and then ask a few questions to find a little common ground.

Eventually, the conversation will turn to what kind of work you both do. But don’t start pitching just yet. As always with small talk, you want to take your time.

Once you’re ready to bring up your business and your goals more specifically, do it this way:

Remain indirect and don’t specifically ask the person you’re speaking with if they could use your services or if they know of anyone who can help you. (That would be awkward!)

Instead talk about your business goals, directions, and what your business is trying to accomplish right now.

If the person seems interested in what you’re doing, then you can go on and talk about further detail–or maybe even hand them your card.

Obviously, it won’t happen in every single conversation you start. This is why it’s smart to practice small talk often and widen your network whenever you can.

Exactly what to say when pitching in a casual conversation in English.

Let’s look at a sample conversation between two business people, Ms. Entrepreneur and Mr. MedTech. They’ve just met at a coat check at a business conference.

Alice: “Hi there, what a great jacket–that looks so warm and practical!”
Bruno: “Yeah, it’s great for winter storms and traveling!”

(Tip: if you can, bring up where you or your conversation partner is from. This often brings the conversation to what kind of work you do…)

Ms. Entrepreneur: “Oh–do you come from someplace with really cold weather?
Mr. MedTech: “Yes, I’m from Vermont–it’s cold, but we have lots of great skiing. 

(Tip: from here you can keep finding connections–you can help the conversation naturally move forward by mentioning it if you share an interest. Or by asking more questions about your conversation partner’s interest until you find common ground).

Ms. Entrepreneur: “Oh, I love skiing, but I have to wait for time off from work–I don’t live close to a ski resort I’m from Martinique.”
Mr. MedTech: “Ah, yes, you’ve got to travel then. What line of work are you in?”

(Tip: This is where you can start talking about your business.)

Ms. Entrepreneur: “You know when you’ve got important information you need to protect in a company–like your clients’ personal information or something like that? My team and I design systems to keep those safe…”

(Notice you don’t have to get into the specific terms and professional phrases you might use in business like “I’m the founder of a startup,” or “I work in cybersecurity.” 

The person you’re speaking with may not be in your line of business at all. And that’s ok.)

Mr. MedTech: “Haha, I don’t know anything about cybersecurity. I let my business partner handle that.”
Ms. Entrepreneur: “Oh really, what kind of business are you in?”
Mr. MedTech: “We specialize in machines to help people manage their sleep apnea.  Actually, do you happen to have a card?”
And if the conversation doesn’t end with you exchanging cards or with you talking about your business, it’s still ok. You’ve practiced your small talk skills. And you’ve made a new contact. You just never know where your network will take you next.

Contact me to discuss Business English coaching for your company.

Do you need coaching that is truly flexible and customized around your company’s current projects and priorities? If so, get in touch with me or a member of my team directly. We’ll help you create a targeted coaching plan that works directly with your team toward meeting your business’s current goals–on their schedule.  And before you commit to any coaching program, ask if you can speak to the owner and head coach about your team’s specific training program. Your team deserves personalized strategies–and it starts with your first contact.

Take the next step for your English and your Business:
Improve your English in the comments:

The best way to become more confident using Business English is to practice!

Here’s your Confidence Challenge for this week:

  1. What is one goal you could achieve by pitching your business effectively?
  2. Tell us about it in the comments below.

Further reading and resources for professionals in English

Curious to learn more about the topic of the day? I’ve selected this excellent resource for you. It helps native speakers become better and pitching and business communication in general, and it’ll help you too!

Don’t miss my next free, interactive workshop.

You’re serious about improving your English and your business skills. And I’m serious about helping you do that. That’s why I hold workshops every month on business communication skills you need. Want your exclusive monthly invitation? It’s easy. Just sign up for my newsletter.

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Entrepreneur Vocabulary in English

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