Feb 26 · 5 Min Read
I recently wrote an article all about pitching. Pitching comes in many different forms but one of the most common and the most important is directly to a potential client. In Pitch Perfect, I mention the importance of taking a full brief from a client before you ever try to sell anything but what does this mean?
A brief reflects its name. You are taking a short snapshot of a business in its past and present state whilst finding out what direction the stakeholders would like the business to go in the future.
Often, as a supplier of a product or a service, we are asked to supply a solution to a client’s problems but how are we supposed to do that if we don’t know exactly what our client’s problems are? By understanding the intricacies that hold a business together, we can start to understand the problems that might eventually tear a business apart.
I am regularly sent a brief by email. This can give me a basis for my enquiries but it is not enough for me to make sure I am truly helping my client. I need to speak to my client, I need to ask them the right questions, to truly listen and only once I have enough information, should I take any action. This can be done over the phone but preferably, it should be done face to face or at least by video conference. It gives you a better chance to read your customer and allows them the opportunity to see you, which often helps to build an extra layer of trust.
There are many things that you can ask in a brief but the most important are as follows…
Who are your customers? (Never accept an answer of everyone)
What do you want your customers to do? (Eventually buy of course)
Why would your customers do that? Unique Selling Point (USP)
Why do you need what I do to help you achieve what you do?
Once you have asked these questions, it is important to listen. By that, I don’t mean, make sounds that make it seem like you’re listening, I mean listen. If you take down notes, take on board what the customer is saying at every stage and constantly ask follow up questions, two things will happen.
Well I hate to break it you but your product / service is not right for everybody and even if it is, it might not be the right time for a business to buy. The thing is a “good” salesperson could probably still sell to your prospective client but what would that mean for them and for you?
Firstly, they’d be buying something that has no real use or at least is not as useful as something else would have been for them. Secondly, they’d eventually realise this and they’d also probably work out that you must have known before you sold it to them. Thirdly, your relationship would break down, you’d never be able to sell to them again and if you kept up the same methods with other customers, your business would take a deep dive into a pretty dirty drain.
If however, you don’t pitch anything and you inform them that actually now is not the time or maybe that they would be better looking at a different product, a few things could happen.
Great! Pitching should now be easy. You have all of the tools and all of the information at hand. Depending on what you are selling and your style, you can pitch right away or come back later. Have a little read of Pitch Perfect to harness your skills and go get ‘em!
Stefano Capacchione is a writer for Puck Creations. Puck Creations create content to make your clients think, feel and take action. Head to http://www.puckcreations.com/to find out more.