I had a catch up with a well known pitch doctor yesterday. He reminded me of some of the most important factors, and regular mistakes we make while pitching.
Biggest mistake: Wasting time talking about ourselves. They already know enough about us, or they wouldn’t be in the room. The right amount of time to allocate talking about ourselves is close to zero.
Biggest Opportunity: Leave some questions unanswered. (counter intuitive I know) This creates the opportunity for real conversation. When we converse, we see how each party thinks. It also enables us to determine if we have the right chemistry to work together.
When starting out or chasing new customers on an existing business it makes sense aim for smaller players first, to build confidence, and get a few small wins on the board…. right?
The problem with thinking like this is that it makes life harder and less profitable.
The truth about small fish, is that they are harder to catch than big fish. They’re more elusive than the big guys and are often much harder to convince to invest their money in whatever we are selling. With the small fish the decision is often about whether they should invest their money or not. The advantage of the big fish, is that the investment funds are usually allocated, it’s more a question of doing business with company A or company B. From a revenue perspective it’s far wiser investment of time to court a customer whose decisions to invest are already made. A $10,000 customer is harder to get than a $1,000,000 one.
The other factor worth considering is our reputation. If we become successful selling to the small players, we’ll be seen as a small solution provider. But if we land a big one it gives us a license to knock on other big doors. When the investment is time, its worth chasing the bigger reward, and the truth is that it’s often an easier sell job.