Risky Business

Winning business and keeping business are far from a shoe in. Even the most talented people and reputable companies still have to fight for their stake in the marketplace. And unfortunately there are many more factors in play than just raw talent and ideas.

The Harvard Business Review listed 2 ways you shouldn’t pitch an idea as their management tip of the day. They noted that coming up with ideas is easy, pitching them however, is very difficult. HBR suggests that sales people find some middle ground between being too much of a pushover – “caving in to criticism doesn’t demonstrate flexibility, it shows you don’t care about your idea” and being too aggressive “don’t act like everyone should think your idea is great. Be realistic about what you proposal will do for your audience.”

Whether motivating your employees or your prospective clients it’s always good to be enthusiastic about your ideas. Explain why they are good and why they will work. Remember, your clients are not experts in the same field as you. They may have some preconceived ideas about how and what things should look like, but not necessarily a solid market analysis. It’s your responsibility to take their business objectives and brand and create a relevant and successful method for selling it.

While you don’t want to be stubborn about your ideas, you’d be silly to consider compromise surrendering. Listen to your clients and integrate their ideas into your proposal.

Another important point to bear in mind is that winning business, or persuading people in general, is an ongoing process. Great things tend not to happen over night. If a prospective clients asks you to come in and pitch an idea for them, have a few prepared. Even if you only end up showing them one, the point is if asked, you can show that your ideas are varied and your skill set, widespread. You may not get the job on your first try, but if you have sufficiently impressed them you are likely to be invited back again. The most important thing is that you show that you’re listening, testing their ideas with your own and then refining them.

Generally speaking, businesses are going to go with the safest bet, and that may be using what they already know works, going with the less expensive solution or the most basic one. Unless a client has asked for it, it may be best to start with something simple. Simple but easy to roll out and is adaptable to a number of different audiences and markets.

Adaptive Consultancy is a London-based digital agency specialising in web development, design, ecommerce and internet marketing. Services include SEO, paid search, email and social media marketing. More on online marketing consultants visit http://www.adaptiveconsultancy.com/

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