- Make more money
- Get better clients
- Build your business faster
…when you learn to stop pleading for work and instead start pitching your solutions.
In the next few minutes, you'll discover the difference between pleading and pitching and how to make the shift.
After you make the shift you're going to find that not only is it easier to find clients you're also able to charge dramatically more.
Pleading For Projects Is Miserable
For years I used to get RFPs (requests for proposals) and spend hours writing up all the details of what I would provide and why they should pick me for their project. I'd gush about all the past projects I had completed, how I'd be super responsive to their needs, offer great customer service, etc. Basically, the proposal was just me pleading for work.
Writing proposals like this is miserable. It feels like you're begging. You're putting in gobs of time for free upfront with no guarantee of work. Meanwhile, you're not doing any paying work either so you're feeling that stress too. Then you have to worry about the price. Go too high and you lose out to cheaper bids. Go too low and you can't stay afloat even if you win the project.
Have You Ever Written A Proposal For A Stupid Project?
I was writing a proposal for another one of these RFPs. It was for a ski lodge that wanted to get more guests by posting local news and weather on their website. It's was clearly something I could do, but I firmly believed – and time proved me to be correct – that this project would not achieve the objective of attracting more skiers to stay at the lodge.
So, I'm sitting there trying to convey that I'd get the data feeds working, I knew all the languages involved in the integration, blah blah blah… All the while knowing that nobody goes to a hotel's website to get their daily news.
This project would be somewhat time-consuming and, therefore, expensive and it wouldn't drive more traffic, it wouldn't generate new leads, and they would not see any increase in the number of guests staying at the ski lodge.
I also realized that they didn't need me to do this work. Anybody who could integrate a couple of APIs could easily do this work for way less than what I wanted to make on the project.
I was almost an hour into working on the proposal and just couldn't do it anymore.
So, I quit.
Pleading vs Pitching
I've never responded to another RFP. From that day forward I quit begging for work and started pitching ideas and solutions.
The truth is that people like you and me have a far better understanding of what our clients need than they have. All they know is that they want more clients or more revenue. They (usually) know what their overall business objective is. But they have no clue how to get there.
So, rather than being lead, I started leading.
Instead of showing up as an implementor, I showed up as a consultant.
Instead of thinking my client was stupid for asking for dumb stuff, I recognized that they were doing the best they could but they needed help.
I stopped suppressing my better judgment and started offering authentic help.
Pleading Doesn't Die Easily
It is hard to shift your mindset away from pleading and into pitching. Pleading wears masks. For example, pleading will disguise itself as “discovery.”
It's easy to think, “I'll talk to the client and find out where their pain points are. I'll ask them questions like: What are they struggling with? What features are they looking for? What are their goals?”
But step back and look at what that produces. The only difference between this and responding to RFPs is that they just giving you the RFP orally. You're just trying to pull the RFP out of them before they have had a chance to write it down. You're still relying on THEM to tell you what to do. Then you go home, write a proposal, and plead for them to accept it.
The Art of Pitching
Pleading means taking. Pitching means giving.
Pleading involves you taking objectives and strategies from your client so that you can implement them. Pitching means you are giving objectives and strategies to your client.
If you're in the pleading mindset you will contact a client and essentially ask them if they need any help with any of the things you know how to do.
Pleading questions sound like this:
- Do you need any help updating your website?
- I noticed your website is not mobile responsive. Do you want me to fix that for you?
- Are you looking for anyone to manage your social media for you?
All of these are really just pleading questions. You can easily reword them and remove their masks.
- Will you please hire me to update your website?
- Will you please hire me to build you a new website?
- Will you please hire me to manage your social media?
Delivering Your Pitch
Pitching does not rely on questions to be effective. When you're pitching the only questions you are asking are questions to get the meeting scheduled and whether or not the client is ready to start.
Opening a pitch sounds something like this:
I've been seeing your Facebook ads in my news feed and it looks like they're getting engagement and probably driving business your way. If you're like me you have also probably been following the feud between Apple and Facebook and Apple is about to make some privacy updates that are expected to make it harder to target ads on Facebook.
I wanted to reach out to you for two reasons. First, to make sure you've got your Facebook ad account ready for the upcoming changes (there are few settings you'll need to update). Second, I also wanted mention a couple of ideas for ways to diversify your lead sources so you're not too heavily dependent upon one channel.
I've got some time open towards the end of this week. Here's a link to hop on my calendar <link to my calendar>
Looking forward to catching up with you!
Notice that there are literally zero questions. Also, note that I am the one planning to lead the conversation by offering information and ideas that the client doesn't have. I'm giving not taking. See the difference?
Want To Learn To Pitch?
If this is making sense and you want to learn how to stop pleading and start pitching, let's talk.
We'll get on the phone for about 45-minutes so we can go in-depth into your business, what's working, and what isn't. You'll get a roadmap for exactly what your next steps should be. You can take that roadmap and run with it on your own. Or, if you want my help implementing the roadmap into your business we can talk about that too. Either way, stop pleading and start pitching.