Thriving and surviving in the business world means learning to ask for what you need. The art of effective solicitation is how business, partnerships, and media coverage are created.
Not everyone is a pitch-pro, but there is a small group of naturals who seem to stand out when it comes to soliciting. Many feel that this leaves room for the less talented solicitors to remain passive when it comes to getting the things they need — but that isn’t true. While the learning process toward better solicitation is filled with trial and error, I have a few tricks to share to help you be able to pitch better, with less bumps in the road.
Here are four steps to follow for better soliciting:
1. Get To Know Your Target
This task may seem simple to some, but it’s often neglected. Realistically speaking, missing on this step significantly decreases your chances of succeeding.
To begin, create a list of your potential targets that you’d like to contact. Then scour the Internet to get to know them better. By reading up on primary sources, sites, profiles, blogs, and even secondary sources, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with them. Search for a pattern of matching interests, which may show that the contact is a good fit for your offer.
Your goal should be to get relevant information about your target so that each point of contact is fit for that specific topic — be it a client, investor, or partner.
2. Spark A Conversation
Instead of thinking solely about getting your contacts to take your offer, focus on getting to know them. This process is important because it’s scientifically proven that people love to talk about themselves and their own thoughts — so, successful solicitation can come from honing in on this process.
Building solid and mutually beneficial relationships is a principle of basic communication. Since you’ve done research on your target, you will be able to better find out how to meet their needs — and also where yours and theirs can be met together.
Keep in mind: when crafting your message, stay away from selling mode. You aren’t a used car salesman. People are quick to figure out when something is attempted to be “sold” to them. Skipping this step will deflate the credibility and trust the contact has for you in the future.
3. Insert An Objective
Declaring your objective, call to action, or request will prompt your target to make a decision and act on it. Each objective should cater to each target. For instance, if you are reaching out to an investor, and you want to schedule a meeting — ask. Be clear and concise when letting them know what your objective is. Don’t let your objective be demanding, because that could devalue your integrity by showing that you’re coming off too aggressive or desperate.
4. Prepare To Answer “So What?”
Upon the delivery of your objective, that’s exactly what your target will be thinking. It’s your job to prepare to answer the question for them. State why this product/service/news is beneficial to them.
Not every solicitation is successful 100 percent of the time, but these four steps will definitely improve your chances of getting in someone’s radar.
Regional Director – AFRICA