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Turn the Camera Round

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Turn the Camera Round

It happened again the other day. One of my clients called to say they'd won a big deal, using a pitch that we'd built together (Smug mode ON - Tzzzt!).

Now these guys are smart enough to ask why they won, and this was the response:

"Well [competitor one] came in and talked about [competitor one]; [competitor two] talked about [competitor two]. You came in and talked about us."

What baffles me most about this is the fact that it should be unusual. But if there's one battle I fight more than any other, it's to strive against the proposition that begins with "About Us".

"Yes, but people want to know who they're dealing with!" comes the protest.

You won't like this, but I'm afraid they don't. Not yet, at least.

I've alluded to this in an older post, but it's worth pushing the point a bit further. The problem appears when you put the corporate story ahead of what you can deliver. They're waiting to hear what you can do for them; instead you're banging on about your commitment to excellence, your customer focus, and that new high-capacity intracombifenorealisator you've just bought.

Turn the camera round. Paint them a picture that makes the result of what you're offering completely real. Talk about cost savings in terms of the result they - not you - will have produced for their company. Show the marketing director how your environmental benefits can be used in his* PR campaigns. Explain to the production director how he will be able to simplify manufacturing procedures.

What you're doing here is changing your pitch from something that makes logical sense into something that they want. And what we want always wins out against what we need, otherwise we'd all spend our money on fewer holidays and more life insurance.

So is the corporate story irrelevant? Anything but. Because some audiences will want to know what authority you have to say you can deliver all this great stuff. So they chip in with, "Could you tell us a bit about your company?". Now you can tell them how fantastic you are, and they'll actually listen.

* Sexism versus readability: I don't suggest that women are any less able to fulfill the role of marketing director. But I refuse to keep typing "he or she", "his or her", or "their" because it looks horrid. Anyway, if sexual equality actually existed I'd dare to answer back to my wife, so get over it.

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