A question to repeatedly ask when preparing your pitch
If you’re involved in a competitive business pitch, in addition to a. knowing the customer very well. That is, how they think and feel, and from that understanding, to b. forming your key message(s) you want to customer to retain and/or act upon – there is an additional step. In my sales presentation consulting I strongly recommend my clients to repeatedly ask the following question right up to and after the formal pitch for the business.
The question is this: ‘What Else Could I Do’ (WECID). This simply means, what else could I do, that my competitors won’t do, to win this piece of business. Small behaviours, little things that you could do, can give you the winning edge. Many times the customer is unsure about whom to give the business to. Many times there is no obvious choice.
Through repeatedly asking WECID you will come up with ideas that can tip the business your way. Some of the ideas will not be useful but through the repetitive WECID process, your mind (and if relevant the minds of your co-pitchers) will continue to search for, and find ideas. The repetitive process is the key. Don’t ask the question just once or twice – keep asking it over and over – persist.
A story from the 1990’s illustrates the power of a small idea, identified through the WECID process, that won a large piece of business.
In 1995 a competitive pitch was won by a firm. The firm’s director asked the customer why his firm won the business. The customer said that there was no real difference between the pitchers. Each firm seemed equally capable of delivering the work. However, the customer said the deciding factor was when the chosen firm emailed through the PowerPoint slides for their final, live pitch presentation, beforehand. This small action (seen at that point in time as novel and technologically savvy) had impressed the customer. That small action was reason the firm won the business.
An important point about the story is this. The other pitching firms could have easily sent through their PowerPoint slides. But they didn’t think of doing it. They stopped asking WECID too soon.
The ‘how to apply’ for this post is this: In the next seven days try out WECID process. Prior to an upcoming meeting/presentation repeatedly ask yourself WECID (ie. to make this meeting/presentation have more impact/be more positively memorable). Then notice the numerous ideas your mind generates for you.