I am approached by hundreds of people every year pitching me their respective value propositions. Some real polished and smart, others amazingly ineffective and clueless.
So what makes someone smart?
I’ve known a lot of very bright people but their limit of understanding centers around one particular domain. I’ve known others where you could have a conversation with them around literally any topic. I think the key difference is that everyone has some understanding around specific issues. The key is to not inundate the smart money you are approaching with all the dazzling BS the majority of entrepreneurs usually provide, but rather be very transparent and open about your value proposition and extremely mindful of their time.
Engagement is key. If you cannot find common ground around an issue they are facing then you might want to cut your losses. Yes personal connections are important; but this will only take you so far.
I’ve in fact found smarter people require more logic to build rapport earlier on in the sales cycle. It’s almost as if the smarter person requires common sense from you before opening their mind for the possibility of a deeper emotional connection; and the moment you’ve earned their respect while simultaneously respecting their intelligence is when the barrier comes down and you can emotionally connect.
A great pitcher will gauge the intellect, education, and interests of a buyer within the first 30 seconds of a phone call, email response, or face to face encounter. It’s tough, but every word, punctuation, and reference leaves a clue. From their email signature, LinkedIn feed, to their body language, every piece is important. As time goes on, it’s getting easier to identify their intelligence online because there are so many data points.
So what are some of the key general guidelines for your consideration in pitching to smart money?
1. Truly understand their needs by asking lots of good questions & uncovering a significant pain or a personal gain
2. Believe in what you are selling and stand behind their success than your own which will come as a result. Pitch in such a way that they come to the conclusion that they want to buy your product on their own. It’ll be much easier if it’s their idea, not yours.
3. Make sure they see the value. It’s in fact best if they already know the value – that’s why the best pitchers spend their time looking for people who can convince themselves of the value (as opposed to spending time trying to convince people of the value they may not see) – and most importantly, allow them to feel like they are in control of the conversation (so you have to be dominant in a non aggressive way).
4. Anecdotes are key. People love examples, especially in the form of short stories. Great pitchers always have a few of them to tickle the imagination, and to create a tangible situation that the customer can strive for.
Share your thoughts.