Pitching in any situation is usually a bit of a trial for people who spend most of their time delivering projects and feel averse to selling. However, for many of us, if we run the business or lead a team, it is a necessity. If you work in a large organisation, you might be pitching internally; you are often in a pitching situation, without being aware of it. Arguably, we are pitching to people constantly from that £25,000 urgent project, to the chance to get on a 3 year tender list for a major multinational, to persuading your housemates that ‘we should try the new vegan Thai place that’s just come on Deliveroo’.
After many years, you get a hang of it and learn a load of good techniques, but only some of us get to feel really natural doing it, and when you do, that’s when you start winning consistently.
If you live in the UK then you probably understand the Marmite test, you either love it or hate it, very few of us are, well…indifferent. Marmite is a very tasty, salty, brown yeast extract, with a wonderful load of vitamin B12 that adds to every piece of toast a fabulous savoury edge, unbeaten by any other spread. I think you can tell where I stand on the Marmite test.
Pitching should be like giving someone a lovely crunchy piece of freshly buttered toast made from handmade freshly baked bread, topped with a generous spread of Marmite and a cup of freshly brewed Yorkshire tea, in an Aga warm kitchen with golden Spring sunlight coming through the window, which illuminates rolling hills, dotted with sheep and a blue sky inviting you to walk all day stopping at an unreconstructed C15th pub for lunch. They either fall for it at first taste and want to come with you on that walk, or they go for the bloke wearing too tight Lycra and a cycle helmet, offering them 24 hours a day in the gym. Good luck to the latter clients, the bike guy is also following the Binary Pitch rule, offering his version of Marmite.
Give your potential client no middle ground in the Binary Pitch, it’s a strong flavour with a yes or no answer. If they like your ideas, they like you and they will find ways to make your pitch work for them, despite any omissions that you have made.
How do you get to have a Binary pitch?
You have to say what you mean and really mean what you say. You need something that you believe in. If you keep your business and your offering relevant, tasty and fresh, you will believe in it more strongly and so will some of the prospects that you pitch to. If you believe in it, you will find pitching natural and easier.
Don’t hedge your bets to try and capture every prospective client, you will end with short term and low margin business, if any.
Stick to your version of Marmite.