Understanding this concept has helped me in business and in life.
Whether you like it or not, your existence on this planet is made up of a series of pitches. You pitch to get into school. You pitch to get a girlfriend. You pitch to get a job or start a business. You pitch to get married. You pitch to have kids etc.
What are so many of you doing wrong?
Blindly pitching like a cheap salesperson in a 1990’s infomercial, selling a magic sponge.
Start with rapport.
Example to start with:
You send me a blind message on LinkedIn.
You say to me that you have the best product in a particular field and you’d like to discuss it with me.
You make no reference to anything I’ve done or anything that shows you know me.
You use a generic pitch template that you’ve sent to lots of people before me.
What do I do when I see any message, on any platform that does any of these four things? I do what the majority do.
I delete your message, ignore you and never deal with you or your business again.
And the beauty? It takes less than one second to get rid of your message and delete you forever.
I’m not telling you this to be an a**hole; I’m telling you so that you’ll stop hurting your chances of success. You must always start with rapport before you pitch anything. Period.
How do you start with rapport Mr. Tim?
You start by sending a quick message that’s no more than nine sentences long.
• The message must have a paragraph every three sentences so it’s easily readable.
• You must sound human. Crack a joke, show empathy etc.
• You must respect the persons time.
• You must get to the point quickly.
• You must show you care and you’ve done your research on the person.
This list above helps to build some initial rapport and make you likable. Likable people go places in life and get to chat with people that are valuable to them.
“Rapport is always the first step, not the pitch. The pitch works once rapport exists”
I thought everyone knew this but I’ve learned recently that this is not well-known. Now it is, no excuses.
By using rapport, you create a bridge that allows ideas to flow between yourself and the person you’re trying to chat with and eventually pitch. Once that bridge is established, you have a way to get through to the person and get them to take action.
Show value first.
What do I mean? Value is such a broad thing to explain. In simple terms, value means to deliver something that can be beneficial to the other person. The aim is actually mutual value. That’s where you both win out of the interaction.
Showing value is straight-forward.
“First, you do your research on the person you want to pitch. Then you try and work out what’s important to them”
Let me give you an example:
The other day I went to meet with a very influential recruiter about looking at some career options. Everyone wants him to represent them and he knows every possible company you could ever dream of working for. The roles he works on are all high paying and his endorsement can change your career.
Rather than go in and pitch him on why I’m the best candidate since Steve Jobs created Apple, I did my research. I checked out his Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.
I looked back on previous written correspondence we’d had. I worked out who initially introduced us to re-establish leverage and trust.
By doing my research, I took the following action:
– I didn’t wear a suit when I met him because his Twitter profile said he loves jeans
– I worked out where he was born (a place I’d been to) and talked about it
– I found a couple of highly influential people he didn’t know and offered an intro to them to drive revenue for his business
– I found one skill I had that he desperately needed (blogging and social media assistance)
The big pitch.
I arrived at the cafe early to meet the recruiter. I asked what he wanted and he requested a juice. Rather than just get him a bottle like any other monkey would, I asked him to take a seat (showing him I was paying) and spoke with the waitress to assess what juice options they had.
The waitress informed me that they had bottled juice and freshly squeezed juice. I told her that freshly squeezed would be great. Let’s stop there a second. Why did make the extra effort? Because demonstrating value involves showing that you care first. It’s the little details that count.
I finally took a seat and started with rapport building. I then created a sense of community by introducing several people we’d both worked with so things felt natural and like we were from the same flock.
I then spoke briefly about things that were personal to him to further demonstrate rapport.
Once all of that was out of the way, the execution was really easy. I’ll go slow.
I started by confirming that the thing I think he needed (social media advice) was something he wanted. I demonstrated using my phone, the ability to fulfill that need. I then offered (for free) to assist him with it if he wanted help.
The second part of the process was to see if the contact I thought he must know was valuable to him. He confirmed the contact was and I offered an intro which he gladly confirmed he wanted.
Then I came in with the pitch. Word for word, here’s what I said:
“Hey, I’ve got this small challenge that I’d love your advice on. I’m looking to reinvent my career and am looking to see what’s out there in the market, job wise. Where should I start?”
Now let’s take a minute to analyze this action. At this point, I’ve built rapport, given him access to a skill that I have which he wants, added one highly valuable contact to his network and made sure he has the best tasting juice to make his morning.
What do you think his response was?
He said the following:
“Tim, I think I can help you. It’s probably a good time to see what’s out there. Can you send me your resume and a few roles that interest you, and I’ll start chatting with a few contacts I know that I think will have roles that you’ll love.”
Mutual value demonstrated, tick.
Sounding human, tick.
Simple, short, non-confronting pitch delivered, tick.
There’s one final step though: You have to actually do what you say you’re going to do. Getting someone all hot and sweaty over your pitch is useless if you don’t take action.
And taking action is not enough. The action needs to be swift.
So, what I did was ten minutes later, after arriving back at the office, I sent him an email and did the intro with everything that was promised. Execution is everything.
Pitching straight away without doing any of the above is lazy. Lazy people end up failing at life and having huge regrets. You must show value and be in rapport with anyone you want to pitch. Putting in the extra time means fewer pitches and more successful results.
The people you are pitching to have limited time (so do you) and they can’t say yes to every request. Therefore, you need to take time to do it right. Otherwise, when you get turned down all the time, you have no one else to blame but yourself.
“Blindly sending messages that have a selfish pitch will get you nowhere”
It’s wasting your time and making you feel like crap. You can 10X your results with this simple pitch strategy. Try it and let me know how you go.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net