How to Know When You’ve Got the Right Pitch

July 2015

wbencExactly a week ago I was sitting in a shady spot outside the Austin Convention Center talking to my business partner Maureen on my phone.

“It’s not going well at all,” I told her.

The WBENC National Convention’s Business Expo had opened 30 minutes earlier, and I had struck out—badly—at the four booths I’d approached for business opportunities. There had been a huge build-up within the conference to this day, and having been roundly rejected in quick succession had me feeling like a failure.

But one thing true entrepreneurs have in common is resilience. Rejection is part of the game, and we embrace it for what it teaches us.

So I headed across the street to a Starbucks for some much-needed caffeine and thought of my Plan B. The brands I’d approached were too big for us. Time to look for smaller companies on the exhibit floor. And my rehearsed elevator pitch just wasn’t resonating. Time to improvise.

I went back and sought out smaller companies, often operated by fellow WBEs (Women Business Enterprises), and asked, “Who tells your success stories?” This got their attention because it implied they had a lot of success within their companies and could be broadly interpreted to mean PR, marketing, communications … all of the areas we serve.

It also was all about them, not Twirling Tiger Media.

Suddenly there was interest, some of it earnest and some of it admittedly polite.

•  Were they redoing a web site and in need of dynamic content, particularly blog posts, to keep visitors engaged? We could do it.

•  Did they have conventional case studies that could be punched up with great writing and graphics to show their value to prospects? We could do it.

•  Did they consider white papers and eBooks to show their thought leadership? We could do it, especially if the subjects involved science, technology, engineering or mathematics—our content specialties.

So the elevator pitch I’d practiced in the days leading up to the conference was tailored to whomever I spoke to. It didn’t sound canned. It didn’t take me longer than 20 seconds to provide and didn’t include the ubiquitous “one-source solution” that peppered everyone else’s pitch. And it got their attention.

We provide content you can sink your teeth into, from concept to deliverable. That includes publications, marketing collateral, white papers, eBooks, blog posts, web site copy, RFPs—anything requiring clever words and eye-popping designs to promote your product’s or service’s value. Taking that time-consuming task off your plate leaves you more time to focus your attention elsewhere in the business. Plus, you get to be a rock star when everyone compliments the copy and look we’ve produced.

It remains to be seen if any of these opportunities become warm leads and eventually new clients. But I’m grateful for those initial rejections since they led to a much more palatable pitch and moved me a little closer to truly understanding the sales process.

—Anne