This morning I needed to sell one of my clients on an idea. I knew it was the right idea, and I knew it was totally aligned with the outcome that she needs right now. The only challenge is that my advice conflicts with advice she received from a huge, well-recognized, international consulting firm.
So, I opened with this line, “Let me pitch you this idea.” I literally told her that I was going to try to sell her on my idea. She had some idea that what I was going to present was going to be at odds with what she received from the international consulting firm. She agreed to let me pitch her, and I did just that.
I told her why I was presenting my idea. I reinforced how my ideas are aligned with her goals. I shared with her how I viewed the outcomes she needs and how my idea helps her generate those outcomes. She was happy with what I pitched her, and she greenlighted the project.
She wasn’t offended. In fact, she wanted me to pitch her.
Everywhere I look I see people writing things like, “Stop selling.” They write things like, “Start being helpful,” as if every professional salesperson is a self-centered bastard only trying to make buck whether they serve their clients or not. And much of the sage wisdom you read suggests you are never, ever supposed to pitch anyone (lest you be called salesy.)
There is a time to listen. And there is a time to pitch. There is a time to develop your case. And there is a time to deliver your best ideas (something you can’t possibly do without speaking).
Your dream clients need you to listen. And they most definitely need you to pitch them.
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