Sun, Jul

The needs pitch

When you’re trying to sell a product or a service, it’s tempting to talk figures straightway. Yet the respected innovation blogger Seth Godin (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ ) questions if this is the right approach.

 The primary needs for the potential customer, Godin suggests, are – in order of importance - avoiding risk, avoiding hassle, gaining praise, gaining power, having fun, making a profit. Godin says: “A pitch that starts with the amount of profit an organisation makes is unlikely to work - the profit needs to be tied to one of the other primary needs to work for them and whoever they report to.”

For more structured, industry-specific, advice on the right way to sell, you could do worse than read Matthew Parker’s The Print Industry Negotiation Handbook (www.printandprocurement.com ) which, the author suggests, could help you increase your profit margins on each order by as much as 12%. With a pitch like that, he won’t have much trouble getting buyers. Parker stresses the importance of making the first proposal (as a way of framing expectations) and of making sure you don’t negotiate purely on price. He also extols the virtues of the ‘What’s In It For Me?’ school of selling. But, as Godin suggests, the WIIFM answer might not be all about the bottom line.

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