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Know Your Pitch

Prof. Srikumar Rao
Tuesday, February 1, 2005
Prof. Srikumar Rao

Now there is an intriguing question to put you on the spot. Why should someone do business with you rather than someone else? There is actually a book with that title written by a consultant named Sam Geist.

Can you answer the question? Can you answer it succinctly in one minute or less? Or do you hem and haw and talk about how you care for your customers and deliver value? Every company cares for its customers and delivers value — or, more accurately, says it does. Why should anyone believe you?

Let’s assume you are one of the thoughtful businesspeople who is totally unfazed by the question. You’ve spent many hours thinking about it and can lucidly explain, in less than a minute, why someone should do business with you. You can even define who the “someone” is who should do business with you. At this point, you are way ahead of 90 percent of your peers who don’t have a clue.

Here is the next question, and it’s almost guaranteed to trip you. Can your key employees answer the same question equally lucidly? Further, will their answers be the same as yours? Are you sure?

No one ever buys a quarter-inch drill. Instead, everyone, but everyone, buys the ability to put a quarter-inch hole where he or she wants to put it. That is what you should sell—that you, in some way, can help your customers do a better job of putting the quarter-inch hole where they want it.

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