There are things that work and many more that don't. Let's discuss what we've experienced . . . not our opinions . . . but actually what our days and nights as marketers, business leaders, parents, people are teaching us. Please give us a hand. Tell us about your experience with this stuff.

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Sales Pitch: Just Because You Can, Should You?

OK so I'm getting old and there are some things that worked better 10 years . . .OK, OK, 15 years ago, than they do today. For instance, if I'm going to lift something heavy, head out on some air travel with heavy luggage or dig up my garden, then there are some steps I better take before I start. I'll need to stretch, warm up a bit, take an aleve and maybe sacrifice an innocent animal to the god of my choice in order to have any real physical functionality on the backside of the project. No doubt I can get the job done, but the on-going pain is a high price to pay.

Maybe this one makes it clearer: people fall in love (or lust or ?) and decide to get married. Clearly the vast majority who do (me included) often have no idea what they are getting themselves into. And the resulting consequences provide enough 'shake your head' moments to last a lifetime.

For those of us who's professional task is to make a difference in revenue, the question is similar. Just because we can get someone to sit down with us or our professionals to hear a pitch, does that mean we should do the pitch?

Often we need to take a minute and ask what the point is? Is it getting the next piece of business? Or is it building business relationships that will generate value on both sides for years to come?

I argue strongly that its critical that each new client relationship be built based on a personal knowledge of several basic questions:
>> What will make our client's company successful this year? How do they measure it?
>> What are the challenges that stand in the way of that success?
>> What are they doing to address those challenges?
>> Then ask the same questions for each contact personally (i.e. what will make the person successful this year? How will they measure it?)

Once we understand this information, we are in a position to address our client's most important professional issues. To the degree our solutions are set in that context, we build a solid relationship which can grow and which will be less vulnerable to competitive attacks.

There's no doubt that many of us can talk ourselves into getting a pitch heard. But for the vast majority of our client targets there are several steps which should occur before we have the presumption to even offer.

Otherwise the math is clear, there are many actions we can take and the consequences of those actions are often not what we intended.

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