Have the Courage to Focus on a Single Hot Button

During a presentation yesterday to a group of about 150 economic developers from communities across the country, I made the point that the best way to start a sales pitch is to detail what you understand as your prospect’s single biggest challenge.  “Then you promise to help them find a solution to that challenge,” I explained. “The rest of the presentation delivers on that promise.”

As I said it, there was a man seated in the front row who squirmed uncomfortably.

“I just don’t agree with that,” he said, interrupting me. “That’s dangerous.”

I love being challenged during a presentaiton. It’s a chance to liven things up.

“Why do you disagree?” I said, smiling patiently.

“There are usually many hot buttons,” he said. “You risk missing the other ones if you just focus on one.”

He was right. You do risk missing one if you narrow your focus. But it’s a risk that you should take.

Of course prospects have lots of problems.  But you’re job in a pitch is to find out the single biggest one that you can help solve and focus on it. 

You have a limited amount of time in your sales presentation, usually only 30-45 minutes. A good pitch offers a solution to a prospect’s business problem. But no one can credibly propose a good solution to four or five major business problems in a single short presentation.

Of course, picking a single major problem can be scary.  The gentleman seated in the front row today was scared of picking the wrong one.

Here’s my response. “Don’t pick the wrong one.”

The best sellers hedge their bets with due diligence, working the phones and building the relationships.  That allows you to be confident in judging the prospect’s key problem.

And of course you can touch on other key issues as you go through your presentation.

But the best pitches propose a solution to a single key business problem.

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