Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Go pitch yourself

I get a lot of calls from various technology vendors in my day job.  Some of the "pitches" are good, but most are mediocre.  This week I got one I found to be particularly lousy - and it was a voice mail, which was intended to get me interested enough about the vendor to call them back.


What do you do?

Here are some of the problems I found with this particular message:

  • I have no idea who this company is.  Their name was "cool sounding" but absolutely not descriptive.  This in itself is not a problem - the problem is that I listened to the pitch but it never told me anything about why I should call back.
  • I have no idea what this company does.  The description - and this is a direct quote - was, "We deliver powerful capabilities through our platform, using  patented technology."  What?

I played this message for my wife and we laughed at how ridiculously vague this statement is.

Needless to say, they didn't get me to call back, which was their desired result.

At least you got that right...

Granted, they did get a few things right on the call:

  • They did say their company name, clearly enough for me to understand it.
  • They did provide their name and contact number, and even repeated the number slowly so I could write it down.
But that wasn't enough.

What's your pitch?

That got me thinking - when I leave messages about my company, am I any better?  I came up with a good little "exercise" that I'd like to share here:

  • Call and leave yourself a voice mail, as if you were "cold calling" someone about your business, with the goal of having them call you back to find out more.
  • Listen to the message and see if you would call yourself back.  
    • Is it clear what you have to offer?
    • Is the message short and to the point?
    • Is it clear why what you do would be valuable to someone who doesn't know about your company?
    • Is it clear who you are and how to get back in touch with you?
    • Bonus points: Did you give them the option of calling you back or emailing you?
  • If you missed the mark, adjust your pitch, call back, and try again until you are happy with your message.
  • Now that you're happy with it, recruit a friend or relative that isn't "close" to your business, and ask them to critique your message based on the same kind of criteria.  Once again, use their input to adjust and tune your message.
I found some rough edges in my own pitch, for sure.  Not as bad as that guy who told me, "We deliver powerful capabilities through our platform, using  patented technology," but I had some room for improvement.

 Give it a try - pitch yourself - and see what you learn.