It was a beautiful week really. I found myself in a beautiful office in a beautiful city on a beautiful day. I was sitting in front of a beautiful new client. It was a beautiful thing. My purpose that beautiful day was to make my “pitch”. We started with the glad handing. Then we moved to the client-based needs assessment. I espoused my resume, assessed potential outside threats, and finally monetized my message to close. It was all going along swimmingly, but I had one more little trick to pull out of my hat.
As we were wrapping it up, I started to show her something that I had just finished working on. It’s brand new, still a little buggy, an no one else had seen it yet. But I thought what the hell. As I revealed my new invention, her surprise became her interest and that became her approval. It really was what sealed the deal. In my pregame prep I saw myself walking out of that pitch having made the impression that I was the new messiah of my topic (or at a minimum, just stronger than my cologne). But in the end what really worked was much simpler and egoless than all of that: I have something that she can only get from me. That’s why it’s special. And she has something I need from her: access to a whole new market and the marketing muscle that goes with it.
The Schmalue Proposition
Most pitchers pitch the same way. They talk about “value”. Adding value, creating value, and of course, the value they create. There’s really nothing wrong with Value Schmalue approach. In fact, it really does play in Peoria. But there is one problem with the value-based focus: if you confront a pitcher and ask them to actually explain what all of this “value” stuff is they’re talking about they rarely (never) can. And that can be a problem for a pitcher. Especially with a smart client.
There’s a higher calling here; one that’s greater than the cliché of “value”. It’s the notion of “mutual satisfaction”. The idea that both you and the customer are better off together than not. The agreement that you both bring something of benefit to each other. It’s really no different than any other kind of relationship: when two people can come together in a transaction and find mutual satisfaction, magic occurs. You know what I’m talking about, you may just not see it quite this way. Mutual satisfaction is a point of view, an aspiration, and even an intention that each of us should embrace in all of our human interactions, but especially when pitching.
Most pitchers prep the same way: write it down, practice in the mirror, talk to the dog. There’s nothing wrong with these practice methods, but what you’re pitching matters too. You have to have an idea of something you can provide that someone else can’t and how that fits your customer’s needs. This is strategy stuff and it’s a big deal. You may be the best pitcher ever – the kind that can sell ice to Eskimos. But you’ll pitch more effectively if you’re pitching a way to stay warm in the arctic without wearing a piece of stinky animal fur and drinking whale oil martinis. It’s kind of crazy how few salespeople really take the time to learn these things, and yet this is the world customers live in every day. Knowing what options exist for customer and knowing where you fit in the mix of choices should be the center of your pitch.
I know this seems like such a simple thing. Even trite. But simple is beautiful and simple can make you rich. Perhaps this is a good time for you to stop and think. Think about what you do. Think about what you sell. Think about who you really are. Think about what makes you unique, special and different. Think about what makes people want to buy from you. Is it your looks perhaps? You charming personality? Or maybe the way you bake that one kind of cookie that no one else can. Marketers call this a “unique Selling Proposition (USP). Whatever it is, you should know this about yourself. Because you just never know when you’ll be in a beautiful town in front of a beautiful client staring at a beautiful opportunity. All you know for sure is that you don’t want to screw it up.
Author | Joe Still