Speaking Skills: Pitching a product
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Jack and Rich ask you to invest in a product they have invented. We give you an imaginary £100 million and you have to listen to Jack and Rich's sales pitches and decide which product to invest your money in. The language focus is on phrases we use in sales pitches and words connected to making money. Your task this week is to write a sales pitch for your own product. Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess, too. Enjoy!
Jack: So, if you invest in these slippers I can promise you a 20% return on your investment in less than a year …
Rich: Are you talking to yourself again, Jack?
Jack: Oh, hi Rich. I didn’t see you there.
Rich: What are you doing?
Jack: Erm, well, actually, I have a business idea. I’m practising my sales pitch.
Rich: Sales pitch?
Jack: Pitches aren’t just for football, you know. A pitch or sales pitch is a prepared talk or speech when you try to persuade someone to buy or invest in something.
Rich: Ahh, yes, of course. So, what are you trying to sell?
Jack: Well, I’ve got an idea for a new product and I’ve actually got a prototype, too. Do you want to have a look?
Jack: Here they are.
Rich: Slippers? I think they’ve already been invented.
Jack: Not just slippers, Rich. Here, put them on.
Rich: I see they’ve got the Arsenal badge on the front, nice.
Jack: Start walking.
Rich: OK, (crowd roar) woah! What’s that!?
Jack: Don’t stop! Walk a bit more.
(Three more crowd roars)
Rich: Lion slippers?
Jack: That’s the roar of the crowd at the Emirates. Arsenal’s stadium.
Rich: Is it really?
Jack: Now, for the best bit. Kick this ball with the top of your foot.
(crowd celebrating a goal sound)
Jack: That’s a goal being scored at the Emirates. I can have them made for different clubs, too. I just need some money to get going.
Rich: I’m not sure there’s much of a market for electronic slippers but, hey, maybe you’ll make a fortune, Jack.
Welcome - Pitch a Product
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich
Jack: and I’m Jack
Rich: and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Jack: What’s happening this week, Rich?
Rich: In this week’s podcast, we’re going to look at speaking skills and at the same time you’re going to learn lots of new words and phrases connected to the world of business and money.
Jack: We’re going to look at the language of sales pitches. This is the language we use when we have an idea for a product or service that we want to make money from and we need people to help us.
Rich: If you were listening carefully to the beginning of the podcast you might have heard Jack practising his sales pitch for his new type of slipper.
Jack: You might have heard me saying things like ‘if you invest in’, ‘I promise you’, and ‘a 20% return on your investment’.
Rich: This is the type of language we are going to look at, but we’ll forget about Jack’s slipper idea.
Jack: Awww! I thought it was great. OK, I have loads of other ideas anyway.
Rich: Good because our listeners are going to hear two roleplays. My sales pitch and your sales pitch. They are going to decide which is best.
Jack: And the task for you, our listeners, is to make your own sales pitch for your own product idea.
Rich: Don’t forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have this week’s football phrase for you to guess, too.
Topic Focus - Sales Pitches
Rich: In this section, you are going to listen to two sales pitches. We want you to imagine that you are a very rich business person and have one million pounds to invest in one of our products.
Jack: It’s a bit like a TV programme called Dragon’s Den we have in the UK, where normal people pitch their business ideas and products to a panel of rich investors or ‘dragons’.
Rich: It’s a programme that is shown in other countries, too, but they're not always dragons. In some countries, the investors are called sharks, tigers or lions!
Jack: Remember you have one million to invest and you have to invest - you can’t keep the imaginary money!
Rich: We want you to decide who you will give your money to.
Jack: Let us know who you would invest in and your reasons in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
Sales Pitch 1
Rich: Jack - you have one minute to give your sales pitch. Go!
Jack: Hello everybody. I’m here today because I want to give you the opportunity to invest in a new type of bracelet. It’s an exciting new product called the smart bracelet. Ever forgot your phone and wanted to check the football results or watch some match highlights? Well, now you can - on your arm! It looks like a normal plastic or rubber unisex bracelet that everybody can wear with one fundamental difference: it will be one of the most powerful smartphones available on the market.
The smart bracelet will contain all the same hardware and features that you can find in today’s super powerful smartphones, but on a much smaller scale; allowing everything to be safely contained within the bracelet. The only feature outside of the bracelet is a small projector which allows the screen to be projected onto the wearer’s wrist. All the normal functions of your current smartphone can be accessed right there at the bottom of your arm. There will be no need to ever take it off as it is 100% waterproof and operates solely on solar power. This means you will no longer have to worry about losing your phone or missing the football as everything will be right there - a part of you.
I’m confident the smart bracelet is going to be a huge success and for that reason, I’m looking for multiple investors and will offer 5% equity in my company for each million pounds of investment. What are you waiting for? Any questions?
Rich: I like it. What is your target market? Who are your customers?
Jack: Good question. That’s the beauty of this product. It’s for everyone, all ages and both sexes. However, we have done some market research and this type of bracelet is currently most commonly worn by young people between 15 and 25.
Sales Pitch 2
Jack: Rich - you have one minute to give your sales pitch. Go!
Rich: Hi there everyone. I’m here today to offer you something that is too good to turn down. My idea is something that will not only change the world for the better but will make you money at the same time.
This ground-breaking new product will be a great addition to the field of sustainable energy in a competitive market that is currently offering potential investors great returns. I am giving you the chance to invest in energy generating steps.
The idea is very simple. The steps use something called electromagnetic induction to create electricity; every time a person steps on one of the steps, energy and electricity is created in a completely sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. The steps will be placed in areas with high footfall such as shopping centres and football stadiums.
Following the initial installation costs, there are minimal costs involved in the upkeep and transferring the created energy to the main electricity grid.
Our team have a strong track record in the field of sustainable energy and we already have backing from investors and are now looking for additional resources. We are convinced that electromagnetic energy will be the next breakthrough product in the field of sustainable energy and are asking you to join us on our journey.
Any investor willing to invest up to £100,000 will be offered 10% of any profits on the first million made by the company every year.
Jack: Great idea. Do you have any competitors?
Rich: That’s a great question. The system that we will be installing in football stadiums has been created by us and has been patented so no other company can copy the system. At present, the only competitors are in other forms of green energy such as solar and wind power.
Rich: Right, so there are your sales pitches. Remember you have a million pounds to invest in one of these products. Tell us how much you are going to invest and why you want to invest in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Language Focus 1 - Sales Pitches
Rich: The most important thing in a sales pitch is to be concise and persuasive. You need to be clear and not talk too much.
Jack: At the same time, you need to persuade people to buy your product or convince people to invest in your idea.
Rich: Let’s start by looking at some phrases that are often used in sales pitches. Jack began his sales pitch with ‘I want to give you the opportunity to invest in a new type of bracelet’.
Jack: And Rich began with ‘I’m here today to offer you something that is too good to turn down’.
Rich: This is a common technique. We’re not just selling something to a buyer or investor. We are giving investors a chance or opportunity.
Jack: Sales pitches are often filled with adjectives that describe a service as exciting, new or ground-breaking. Rich said; ‘this fantastic new product’.
Rich: And Jack said, ‘an exciting new product’. You also need to show confidence in your product and your team in a sales pitch. Jack said ‘I’m confident that the bracelet will be a huge success’.
Jack: And Rich said, ‘we are convinced that electromagnetic energy will be the next breakthrough product’. ‘Convinced' is used to show great belief in something and to persuade others that something is true’.
Rich: I also said that we have ‘a strong track record in sustainable energy’. A strong track record means a large amount of experience and good performance in an area.
Jack: Rich also said that his team ‘already had the backing of investors’. This means support and usually means financial support from investors.
Rich: Finally, one final phrase that you often hear in sales pitches is not only.
Jack: Rich said, ‘my idea will not only make the world a better place but also make you money’.
Rich: This is a common technique to add emphasis when you’re listing things or adding additional things to a list.
Language Focus 2 - Words connected to investing in business
Jack: In the roleplay, we also used a lot of words connected to money and investing in something.
Rich: Let’s start with the verb to invest, which means to put money into something like a bank or a project. The key preposition is ‘in’ because we invest in something. Jack said, ‘I want to give you the opportunity to invest in a new type of bracelet’.
Jack: We can also talk about an investment; something might be a good or a bad investment and we might decide to make an investment. If we make an investment, we become an investor.
Rich: ‘The market’ or ‘on the market’ is a common word and phrase when we are talking about money and opportunities to invest in something.
Jack: I said, the smart bracelet will be ‘one of the most powerful smartphones on the market’.
Rich: ‘On the market’ means available to buy or available for sale. I also said that ‘sustainable energy is a competitive market’.
Jack: Here ‘market’ means the business or trade in sustainable energy. You might also hear people talk about the ‘stock market’, the ‘job market or the ‘market in mobile phones’.
Rich: At the beginning of the podcast you might have heard me say to Jack ‘I’m not sure there’s much of a market for electronic slippers!’
Jack: Here the ‘market’ is the people who would want to buy a product. It is often followed by the preposition ‘for’. There is a huge market for mobile phones in the world today; the market for electronic Arsenal slippers is ... er ... less clear.
Rich: At the end of our sales pitches, both of us made an offer to potential investors and we used the words ‘profit’ and ‘equity’.
Jack: I said I would offer investors five per cent equity in the company. This means that the investor would own five per cent of the company.
Rich: We could also offer a five per cent stake in a company which would mean the same thing.
Jack: Rich offered 10% of any profits made by the company. Profit is the money made by a company after all its costs such as employees, materials and rent have been paid.
Rich: Companies make a profit or make a loss depending on their success.
Jack: If you want to test your knowledge of some of the words and phrases we used in this podcast, take a look at the activities on the Premier Skills English website page under this podcast.
Rich: Your task this week is to write a short sales pitch.
Jack: We are going to give you three options to make it a bit easier for you. You can either write a sales pitch for one of two products we describe to you or think of your own idea.
Rich: When you write your sales pitch you need to write concisely, you need to try to persuade potential investors and you need to make a financial offer to investors.
Jack: Product number one: Football gloves and ball which use powerful magnetic energy. Impress your friends with your goalkeeping skills. Your friends will shoot and the ball will ‘magically’ be attracted to the gloves.
Rich: Product number two: Robot assistant referee: A robot with built-in cameras and all the latest technology. There will never be an incorrect offside decision with these robots and decisions will always be made immediately so no need for VAR.
Jack: Product number three: Invent your own product and write a sales pitch. Your product doesn’t need to be connected to the football.
Rich: Write your sales pitches in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Jack: And reply to other listeners by asking questions about their products and saying whether you would invest or not.
Rich: Have you got a football phrase for us this week?
Jack: Yes, I have, but first, last week’s football phrase. The phrase was waterlogged pitch which is a football pitch with too much water on the playing area.
Rich: Well done to Lakerwang from China, Rafael Robson from Brazil, Milos from Serbia, Ahmed Adam from Sudan, Liubomyr and Saanoleg from Ukraine. You got the answer right. What’s this week’s phrase, Jack?
Jack: This week’s football phrase is just a word, well, it’s hyphenated so it’s kind of like two words. The word is ***-*****. These are things like free-kicks and corners. You often hear people say a team is strong on ***-****** if they score a lot of goals from corners and free-kicks and don’t score that many goals in open play.
Rich: Right, that’s all we have time for this week! Don’t forget to write your sales pitches in the comments section below.
Jack: And make a guess at our football phrase. Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. Do you know the words in bold?
I’ve got an idea for a new product and I’ve got a prototype, too.
I just need some money to get going.
The system is created in a completely sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
There were a few more tricky words and phrases in the podcast. Do you know what they all mean? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words. This can really help your understanding.
In the podcast, Jack and Rich gave two sales pitches. A sales pitch is a prepared talk or speech when you try to persuade someone to buy or invest in something. They said that the two most important things in sales pitches are to be concise (short and clear) and persuasive. Let's look at some phrases that they used in the podcast which will help you create your own sales pitch at the end of this lesson.
Starting a sales pitch:
When we want someone to buy or invest in something we usually emphasise that they will be getting some positive out of the investment. Look at these examples from the podcast:
I want to give you the opportunity to invest in a new type of bracelet.
I’m here today to offer you something that is too good to turn down.
Sales pitches are always positive and usually include strong adjectives to show this:
This ground-breaking new project ...
It will be a huge success.
When giving a sales pitch, people also show confidence in their product and their team:
We are convinced that electromagnetic energy will be the next breakthrough product.
We have a strong track record in sustainable energy.
The project already has the backing of a group of investors.
It's also common to list positive things for potential investors to emphasise things. This is often done by using the phrase 'not only':
My idea will not only make the world a better place but also make you money.
Not only can also be moved to the beginning of a sentence for extra emphasis:
Not only will my idea make the world a better place but also make you money.
Take a look at the following activity. Can you choose the right word?
In the podcast, Jack and Rich were asking people to invest money in their ideas. Look at these sentences and see how the word 'invest' is used:
We're looking people to invest in this fantastic new project.
We're looking for investors who will invest up to £100,000.
If you make an investment we can promise great returns on your investment.
Another word that was used in different ways was 'market' Look at these sentences and see how the word 'invest' is used::
The smart bracelet will be one of the most powerful smartphones on the market.
Sustainable energy is a competitive market.
There is a huge market for mobile phones in the world today; the market for electronic Arsenal slippers isn't as clear.
What is your target market?
Take a look at the next activity. Can you choose the right words for each gap?
Pitch a Product
This week's task is to write a short sales pitch. You can write a 'pitch' for one of these three products:
- Product 1: Football gloves and ball which use powerful magnetic energy. Impress your friends with your goalkeeping skills. Your friends will shoot and the ball will ‘magically’ be attracted to the gloves.
- Product 2: Robot assistant referee: A robot with built-in cameras and all the latest technology. There will never be an incorrect offside decision with these robots and decisions will always be made immediately, so no need for VAR.
- Product 3: Invent your own product and write a sales pitch. Your product doesn’t need to be connected to the football.
Read other 'pitches' and ask questions about the products and say if you would invest or not.
Don't forget to say if you would invest your money in Rich's product or Jack's product and make a guess at this week's football phrase. Write all your answers in the comments section below.