The Art of the Social Pitch #3 Window of Listening

Andrew Priestley is an award-winning business coach with a degree in psychology.

Last time we talked about helping clients make an informed decision. (If you haven’t read that blog go back to The Art of the Social Pitch #1 and #2)

So today I want to talk about The Window of Listening.

The Elevator Pitch doesn’t work because the basic premise is you are going gatecrash someone’s day and pitch them an idea or a product or a service where they are left with a gagging need for whatever you are offering. (I am being facetious of course!)

Ok .. if someone asks, “What do you do?” then sure the rules of Elevator Pitch apply: be clear, be different, three key points, be prepared etc. But at the heart of Elevator Pitch is this idea that you can be what they term ‘disruptive’ as if that meant you are guaranteed an audience and a result.

But I also said that along with the rise of Elevator Pitch came the rise of Assertiveness. Prior, Elevator Pitch inferred that once you start the other person feels obliged to listen. Now they don’t and won’t. It was what I call and inbound assault!

Now people will have no hesitation calling an abrupt end to any attempt to ‘disrupt’ their day.

Understand what we are talking about here is responding to a genuine outbound ‘what do you do’ question.

Pitching works but the context for a great pitch has works best when there is a ‘window of listening’. The Window Of Listening has four key elements.

1. Right Time, Right Place
I spoke at a breakfast the other morning and people came up afterwards and introduced themselves – right time and right place. On the other hand I was chatting to a mate at a members club and someone I don’t know interrupted our conversation, told us he was web designer, thrust a business card in my hand and said he had an opportunity to discuss and that we should chat, then turned away and walked off. I have no idea what about and that’s not how I do ‘opportunities’ anyway.

2. Referral
A client recently invited me to contact one of his colleagues and sent an email introducing both us via an electronic handshake. I didn’t know much about this person and they didn’t much more than I was a business coach, but when I rang the call was expected and we had a great meeting, met for a coffee and we will probably do some business together.

The guy who interrupted me comes unreferred and unknown.

3. Rapport
I was at a networking meeting chatting with three people and this guy stepped into the group and started talking about his business, then he handed out cards, and left. At another networking meeting same thing only this time the man joined the group – as you should at networking meetings – and listened to the conversation. As the conversation proceeded someone introduced the group to the newcomer who did a very short intro like ‘I’m Peter, I’m an accountant. I was interested in what you were saying before.’ That lead to, “Oh yeah. What was of interest?’
This person made a couple of short but relevant points showing that he genuinely was interested.

I realised I liked this guy’s approach and I noticed that his comments lead to more questions that in a heart beat had him part of our discussion.

4. Relevant
I gave an example before about a guy who crashed a chat I was having with a mate and plonked business cards in our hands and left. This is called a num,bears game, working the room but its more like trying to nail jelly to the wall. It works on the principle that if I talk to enough people someone will buy from me. I have done this myself to test the efficacy of this approach and it doesn’t work. The point is, the guy wasn’t relevant to the discussion or to me.It wasn’t the right time or place, he wasn’t referred and there was definitely no rapport.

Tip: These four basic guidelines serve as a handy checklist if you are thinking of pitching elevator pitch style.

  • Is it the right time and place?
  • Have I been referred?
  • Have I established rapport?
  • Is what I have to say relevant?

From here on in I am going to assume that you can say ‘Yes’ to the above.

Next: We’re going to look at three elements of a social pitch that work, and tell you why they work.

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