Every meeting is a pitch
Only a couple of generations ago, a job in the corporate world was a job for life. But the world isn’t what it used to be and many small business owners have transitioned into consultants after suffering the tyranny of distance, becoming disillusioned, or just wanting flexibility and greater work-life balance.
That corporate model of old may seem a world away, but there are key skills which remain with us as small business owners. Take for example The Pitch. Back in Big Business Land it may have taken the form of a new client, a new product launch or a takeover. All normal work would stop while the department did everything in their power to win that contract and meet that deadline. We donned our best suit, the makeup and the attitude to sell ourselves into this potential new business.
We did it with ease, we realized it was part of the job description, we relished the opportunity to “win the Pitch”. So why do so many consultants find it hard selling themselves? It’s the same process: the suit, the makeup, the attitude, the deadline of the meeting – only the product has changed. And that’s where the difficulty lies. Many small business owners have trouble distancing themselves away from their business since they are the business and they are the product. It’s a lot easier selling for someone else or a company we used to work for.
But we forget those Pitch skills are gold and as a small business owners we need to retain them and remould them to sell ourselves. Because now we are the new product.
So what’s the solution? Practice and more practice.
Get out of your comfort zone and start working on your Pitch skills again. There are loads of networking groups around and plenty which will train you to Pitch yourself to other businesses. But they can tend to charge you an arm and a leg. Another more economical way you can practice is one-on-one meetings. It doesn’t have to be a potential client; just someone you got chatting to recently at one of those networking places. It’s what you might call a Small Business Colleague meeting over a coffee to talk about common issues or just getting to know one another. A great starting point is your local Chamber of Commerce – a lot of them will have free networking get togethers.
Most importantly don’t put it off.
Brush up on those old skills and remember, every meeting is a pitch.
This article first appeared in Small Biz Matters and is kindly reproduced with their permission.