Most people know me for strategic planning, my experience in international media or my love of controversy. Its a toss up.
Some other people know me for my photography.
I recently rented a photo studio in downtown Miami and was approached by one of the partners of the owner of the building and the gallery thats in it. She wanted to talk to me about representing my work. Absolutely, I said.
When we finally met, she spent the next 20 minutes telling me about herself, how she took 15 years off to raise her three children, how she is retaking her artistic life back, etc., etc., etc., while barely glancing at my book.
When I guided the conversation to the representation sales she started telling me about the plans they had to begin private showings in the gallery and how they were partnering with the Downtown Development Association, the Tourism Authority and other groups until I really had no choice but to ask for the client question: How does that benefit me?
Well, all of my connections are going to be exposed to the gallery and youll have some work here, she said.
After 30 minutes, we ended with the typical Hey, great to have met you.
This was also instructional, as outlined in the following three rules:
A pitch is not about you. Its about the other party.
It took her 25 minutes to get to where the deal vaguely would benefit me, the guy who was supposed to pay her either rent or a commission on the prints sold. In a pitch, whatever the pitch, if you cant get to the clients benefits immediately (for whatever reason), lay down the groundwork that indicates, yes, youre getting there in the next five minutes.
Research. Ive never seen a pitch without some research succeed. Ever. Either desk research, the clients own research, online surveys something that tells the client.
Hey, we cared enough to take some time to find out what you are all about, what might affect you to understand you. The gallery owner began her pitch with the dreaded question, So what kind of photography do you do?
This is an old saw among salesmen: Every meeting needs a next step or it didnt matter as a meeting.
Making a Meeting Matter
So what does a perfect pitch look like?
- Hi. This is what we are doing here
- We understand what youre all about (research) and this is how we can help you reach your goals.
- These are your objectives (or what we think your objectives should be if you havent told us yet).
- We understand that these are your consumers (research).
- This is where we find your consumers, non-consumers, potential consumers.
- This is what we need to tell your consumers, ex-consumers, non-consumers to make them do whatever it is that you need them to do (your benefit).
- This is what were going to do to make sure were all on the right track.
- And finally, this is what we propose should happen next.
During my meeting with the gallery owner, none of this came up. And as one might expect, I didnt sign a contract with her.
So when youre pitching somethinga product, a servicemake sure the pitch is about your potential client and how your particular skills can benefit him or her. Sounds simple, and it is.