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No matter how much you’re willing to pitch your big idea, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to close the deal if you haven’t considered every person at the table. You may think that your idea can make your client or client successful. But it is not enough that you believe in it.
The trick is to help them believe in it too. Every part of your pitch should refer to strategy and aim to show them a desirable future vision of success. Today I’ll give you my winning strategy to know who’s in the room and how to:
With just a little effort, you can master these tips to sell your ideas and pitch confidently to turn every person at the table into a believer. Finished? Let’s do this.
Related: The Secret to Pitching Your Business Plan in Just 10 Minutes
1. The Five Archetypes: Know Who’s in the Room
When teams come together to make a decision, each person appears with different motivations, interests, responsibilities, and decision-making authority. They may even have wildly differing ideas about what exactly is at stake. This can make decision making more difficult, especially if you’re an outsider trying to sell them a big idea. That makes it critical to know who you’re pitching to.
Now I’ll get the . to introduce five archetypes. You may not have represented each of these archetypes at the table, or you may have multiple people with the same archetype. Either way, keep these archetypes in mind as you get to know your audience:
The decision maker: This person is responsible for making the final decision and addressing others. Sometimes you have two decision makers at the table.
The money: This is the person with the largest financial stake in the brand — usually the CFO — but sometimes an investor or board member. For smaller projects, the money is often a manager or vice president who manages profit and loss.
The dissenters: The Dissenter comes up with a stance that conflicts with the predominant perspective on the team. Their value lies in helping to prevent groupthink, so make sure you have a dissenter in the room…but only one! More than that, and they can quickly distract the team from the target.
The individual responsible: This is the person in charge of the day-to-day running of the brand. The Individual Responsible has invaluable insights into operations, capabilities, opportunities and weaknesses.
The builder: The builder is the stakeholder who usually has to live with the consequences of a decision. They are detail-oriented and have every interest in ensuring that decisions are practical, sustainable and realistic.
2. Turn opponents into lawyers
Among the five archetypes, you will have different people serving as advocates, barriers, and everything in between.
lawyers are good. They believe in you and want to work with you. They’re probably the reason you got into the room in the first place. But you will also have barriers and opposition:
A person acting as a barrier have a specific need or problem that needs to be solved in order to become a lawyer.
those who act as opposition are in conflict with you, because they prefer a different solution (which is very well their own solution).
So, how can you turn people who pose as barriers and opposition into advocates?
Meet your barriers instantly: Connect with them one-on-one to find out how your idea can meet their unique need. The more clearly you state your idea as: their solution, the better your chances of turning them into a lawyer.
- Make the opposition the hero: Just like you did with your barrier, meet your opponents one-on-one and find a way to make them the hero. Take some of your idea and make it theirs so they can feel like they’re the ones pushing your solution forward.
Related: The Art of Pitching Customers
3. Negotiate a win for the room
The best negotiators make sure everyone leaves the table feeling like they’ve won. But not everyone experiences victory in the same way. Here are two approaches to consider:
Win lose: Some people need to feel like they’ve won – and you’ve lost. If you find yourself in this space, be prepared by having something in mind that you can “give up” or “vomit.”
Win win: Others thrive when there is a victory on their side and a victory on yours. They get excited about the collaboration and see you as part of their internal team. Find ways to turn one party’s victory into one for all.
4. Ask Better Questions
Be sure to ask questions that permeate the functions of the organization. Of course, they may not be directly relevant to the project, but by doing so, you position yourself as the expert who is already thinking one step ahead. And by asking questions they don’t have an immediate answer to, you create a greater sense of expertise on your part.
Related: 4 Easy Pitch Concepts to Grab a Room’s Attention
5. Define clear next steps
Leave no room for ambiguity. Make sure there is a clear path forward. Identify not only your next steps, but theirs as well. Clarify what your follow-up will look like and provide a clear schedule for when you next check in.
Let’s summarize these five tips for selling and pitching your ideas to land your next deal:
Talk to the five archetypes in the room.
Turn barriers and opposition into advocates.
Negotiate the right type of win for those at the table.
Ask better questions to showcase your expertise.
Define clear next steps.