Top Three Reasons Why Your Pitch For Business is Not Successful
So you’ve prepared yourself; you did your research, you spoke to people in the know and you were psyched about the possibilities. But, it was not to be. Your business is doing fairly well and you honestly thought you were the man for the job but when it came down to it, you were not on the shortlist. I don’t know about you but this kind of scenario is very normal for me. Be it pitching for job at a corporate, submitting for a government project or even looking for funding to fund your next phase.
Over a year ago this used to get me really frustrated. I mean, how do I spend sleepless nights prepping only to be told, “Sorry, we’ve decided to contract so-and-so!” Every time the rejection came, I would try to not take it personally but being human, sometimes this is a futile exercise. Rejection hurts. Be it in business, in our personal lives, it’s just one of those feelings that we do not get used to.
After every unsuccessful attempt at a project, I would seek out the decision makers to understand what they liked about the other bidders. I must be honest; it is actually a lot more difficult to get some people to let you know what they found attractive with the other bidders when you try to find out. For some reason some decision makers think just by saying ‘no’, they have answered you everything. I want to know what I could have done better to get the contract. You see, when you don’t know where you went wrong, it makes it impossible to improve for the next round.
Overtime I have come up with my top three list of why I never made it to signature stage on certain projects. This knowledge has helped me decide which projects to pitch for and which ones to just let slide because I know what I have will not find a sweet spot with the potential.
ROI not being sufficiently articulated
When you are in the kind of business I am in, coaching, it can be tricky to articulate the Return on Investment in monetary terms. With this knowledge I have equipped myself with measurement tools that speak directly to what I do. Through these, I am able to measure the growth that I guarantee with my work.
The difficulty of grappling with effect has taught be to be clear about my value add for my potential clients and to articulate these in terms that can be directly related to the business objectives of my potential client
What you are offering is not what they are looking for
I used to think that just because the pitch was for talent development, it would be easier for me to get the job. On the contrary, I have found there are too many factors to contend with when you are vying for work such as ‘school of thought’, methodology, company values and principles. In the event, not getting work says nothing about you, and everything about the purchaser of your of your offered services. I have learnt that sometimes there is just nothing wrong about your offering. You not getting the job could simply be a matter of misalignment between your offering and the needs of the purchaser.
Lack of confidence in expertise/experience
The first year or so of your business pitching is peppered with rejections on the basis of insufficient experience in the field you are pitching for. This could be because of how long your business has existed and the number of mandates your company has delivered during its short existence. Leave alone the fact that you may have 10 years professional experience in your chosen area of endeavor. Which begs the question: where are you to going to acquire this experience if you do not receive mandates?
Enter strategic partnerships! I have found that strategic partnerships with other companies with complementary offerings and more operational experience can plug your experience ‘gaps’. These can give your company credentials (for purposes of the potential client), as well as the requisite experience to go out on your own without such partnerships. However, caution and value are the name of the game. Find people who share your values and principles.
Over and above this knowledge of the things that can handicap you, remember that the more proposals you submit, the more presentations you make, the higher your chances of getting that nod. Remember that no’s are part and parcel of life, please don’t take it personally!