While being prepared is crucial, you may not always have the luxury of preparing. When put on the spot it’s easy to revert to a one size fits all prepared speech. To help with this I’ve come up with an acronym to ensure you can adapt on the spot. You need to think FAST. It’s not a template for a monologue but rather a few things to bear in mind in your conversation.
Getting the right ‘fit’ is about reading your audience, and deciding what skills or achievements would be relevant in that context. Yes, you are a #MotherlandMogul and you have LOTS of accomplishments, but is it necessary to list them all? Think from their perspective, and only include things that will help your pitch.
Also mention things that you are working on doing, and not only past accomplishments. The Harvard Business Review points to a study which found that your potential could be as persuasive as your accomplishments. They note, “people are much more impressed, whether they realize it or not, by your potential than by your track record.”
The study asserts that “when people seek to impress others, they often do so by highlighting individual achievements. Despite the intuitive appeal of this strategy, we demonstrate that people often prefer potential rather than achievement when evaluating others.” Keep it truthful and do not sell dreams, but don’t be afraid to use your on-going/future projects as well.
Essentially, you want them to realize they need you or at the very least your relationship can be valuable.
Are there areas that you can collaborate with them in? Problems that you can solve? Demonstrate that you have grasped their needs, and paint a picture of just how you are positioned to solve them.
If on the spot you have no prior knowledge, just ask what the needs are. What you want to avoid is going on about things that may not be relevant to them.
Unless you have a totally original idea or skill set, you must give compelling reasons as to why yours is different. Separate yourself from competition by mentioning the unique qualities/experiences that enhance your value.
Salespeople would refer to this as a Unique Selling Proposition. Entrepreneur.com’s Small Business Encyclopedia illustrates this with some examples, “Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, always used to say he sold hope, not makeup. Some airlines sell friendly service, while others sell on-time service.”
Whatever your personal USP is, make sure it actually adds value.
Tie it up
So now you have won them over and you have buy-in. Remember, the goal of ‘selling’ is to make a sale.Wrap up your conversation by setting clear ways to follow through.
Ending a conversation with:“We’ll chat more later” won’t cut it. Make sure you collect! Set dates, get signatures, do what you came to do. Don’t let a good sales pitch go to waste!