A powerful question to answer to frame your pitch planning

 In Message creation, Quick Start

When you’re planning for your major pitch presentation to the client, project yourself ahead in time. Imagine that you have already won the business and you could eavesdrop on the key decision maker chatting to a respected colleague. The respected colleague asks *’Why did you choose to give the business to x (your) company?’ Think hard about what the key decision would say. They’ll most likely give a one to two sentence reason.

Your job is to do enough work and research on what that reason would be (using all the numerous questions covered in recent posts) and then tailor your pitch to respond to that reason.

Here’s an example of using this process, from a large pitch I consulted on a number of years back.

My client was a medical devices company pitching for $10m worth of medical devices to a group of radiologists. I consulted with the pitch team on their strategy, their understanding of the client and their competitors, as well as the key messages they wanted the client to retain and/or act upon.

During one of the latter pitch consulting meetings I asked the pitch team members to decide what would be the response to the above *hypothetical question. The team debated alternative responses. One of the team said ‘Quality of images’. The lead pitch team member quickly said ‘No – Diagnostic confidence’. Diagnostic confidence meant that the doctors could make a confident diagnosis of the patient’s illness from viewing the images that a medical device could display. (The ”Quality of images’ message was on the right track, but ‘Diagnostic confidence’ was the more powerful message.)

It was decided after discussion that ‘Diagnostic confidence’ would be the key message. For the final pitch presentation it was decided that the lead pitch team member and a technical member would attend the pitch. It was decided that no slides would be used and that a short presentation by the lead team member would have the most impact. Following is how the lead team member opened the pitch.

“You’ve got an important decision to make. If you agree that diagnostic confidence is the key in investing your medical devices dollar – this presentation will clearly show you how we can meet that need.”

The presentation went for just over three minutes and $10M worth of business was won.

The ‘how to apply’ for this post is: Prior to an upcoming customer meeting, project ahead in time to after your meeting. Assume the meeting was successful and you won the business/agreement to go to the next step toward the sale. Then think about what reason the potential customer/customer would give to a respected colleague on why you ‘won’ the sale/progress to the next step. Then keep that message in mind as you prepare for and interact in, the meeting.

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