A really useful book by American business author, Kevin Allen, asks the following question about pitching for business: Your potential client has wants and needs, not to mention values. Once you’ve worked out what you think they are, how do you respond?
Allen believes you should think about:
- Your ambition (to supply them with something they’ve never had before)
- Your core abilities (the something special that you have, which separates you from the others)
- Your values (your credo or belief system)
Say you own a cafe which also produces special, mini, baked cheesecakes. Your potential client has a chain of high quality, rather quirky deli-restaurants. They are always looking for something different.
You can supply them with a completely new and attractive line.
Your core abilities
You make cheesecakes with extraordinary flavours which no-one else has ever produced and you can supply them in numbers and at a price that others would be very hard pushed to match.
Quality and originality are your watchwords – the same as theirs.
We make all sorts of decisions based on our values, from whom to hire to decisions about whether or not to buy fruit from a country on whom trade sanctions have been imposed.
When you understand the values/ the hidden desire of the potential client and the values and desires of their customers and when your values tally, it can mean a marriage made in heaven.
Allen cites the best example I’ve ever seen of how the values of client tally with those offering the service. It comes from Horst Schulze, former president of luxury hotel chain, Ritz Carlton.
“We’re ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”