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Who’s the Hero in the Story You Tell?

Are you the hero in your pitch? Or is your client the hero?

Here’s how you can tell: How much of your pitch is about you, your product, your service, or your solution? Do you open a call by suggesting to your dream client that you would like to spend time with them showing them your products? That makes you the hero in the story.

But you’re not the hero. You’re the hero’s guide, their mentor, and their partner in their journey. Your dream client is the hero in the story. It’s their adventure. It’s their dragon to slay. You only carry the sword.

If You Are the Hero, Your Dream Client Isn’t?

How many pitches have you seen where the company or the product is the hero? How many cold calls have you heard (or made) where the salesperson wants to share with their dream client the wonder that is them, their company, and their product? In these pitches, the dream client isn’t the hero; something or someone else is.

The problem with this approach is that if you are the hero in the story, your client isn’t the hero. If you have cast yourself in the leading role, then you are casting your dream client in the supporting role. But that gets value creation backwards.

You need to cast your dream client in the lead role.

You Propose the Adventure

You may not be the hero, but you can propose the adventure. Your pitch can be a call to adventure in which your dream clients see themselves as the heroes.

Instead of framing your language choice around how wonderful your product is, you might frame it like this: “We help companies like yours transform their results in [name the area] by helping them to [improvement one], [improvement two] and [improvement three] so they can [what’s at stake, why should I?]”

What does your dream client need to accomplish? What keeps her up at night? What do they need to do to make a difference in their business? What do they need to do to make a difference for their clients? The bigger and more strategic the adventure, the more compelling it is—and maybe the more frightening.

Your call to action should make it easy for dream clients to see themselves in the starring role. Your pitch should be an adventure that your dream client needs to take, even if she is a reluctant hero, hesitating to do what she must.

You Support Them On Their Journey

Your role is to support your dream client on their journey. It’s your job to help them complete all the tasks and missions necessary to achieve their goal. Change is a journey that’s fraught with peril.

How do you support your hero on their journey? How do you ensure that they make it through all of the many obstacles that stand between them and their ultimate achievement? Are you going to be standing next to your hero in the foxhole when their world is melting down? Do you make it clear that you know that this is your role?

It’s your job to carry the sword that your hero will use to eventually slay the dragon that is the status quo. Maybe you are the sword that will eventually be used to slay that dragon. If you want a better pitch, make sure it’s one in which your dream client is the hero and where you are cast in the supporting role.


Who is at the center of your pitch?

How much of your pitch is oriented towards your product?

Do the words you choose allow your dream clients to imagine themselves in the starring role?

Is it clear how you support them on their hero’s journey?

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  • Donnie Bryant

    I couldn’t agree more with this article, Anthony.

    Most salespeople and even sales managers/trainers get this wrong.

    In fact, this concept is the reason I’ve stopped using the term “Unique Selling Proposition” altogether. A USP usually makes you think about what’s great about you and what you’re selling. But, as you’ve written, that casts the seller as the protagonist of the story. That’s backwards.

    Value is relative; it’s all about what the potential customer cares about. Casting the customer as the hero is foundational to killing it as a salesperson.

    Again, great article!

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Donnie!

  • Amber King

    Another great article Anthony. The hero should always be the customers. What sales people need to know is prospects do not like to hear about your company but how your services can help their business grow.

    Thanks for sharing this. Looking forward to more of your articles.

  • Chris Westfall

    I am really impressed with the power behind this message. I believe that when you make the second person first, your pitch becomes compelling. Your client has to be the hero! So true! Creating the dream is not enough – you’ve got to put your prospect into the picture, by making it about them.

    Anthony, as always: your perspective is fresh, relevant and powerful. Thanks for sharing your expertise – I always learn something when I visit your blog!

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      You, of all people, would know! Thanks, Chris!

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