Stepping away from university, I wanted to chuck all the books that I had needed to read but which, to be honest, I had hated.
As I was happily dropping them into the bin however, I came across one that stopped me dead in my tracks: “Life’s a pitch: How to sell yourself and your brilliant ideas”.
The title grabbed me and I remembered that my dad had given the book to me before I started university. Now I wish I had discovered it a lot earlier in life. It was like a whole university course in itself. And it helped me get my first job in advertising.
We all know it’s important to deliver what our clients want, and as a lot of us know, it can be hard to get a client to see your vision. Regardless of new business ideas, life itself can be difficult when trying to get people on your side. Whether that’s asking someone out on a date, or persuading them to give you their last Rolo; life is a pitch!
The book boasts that it can teach you how to handle human transactions, and essentially prepare you for success in business and in life. And I found it to be true.
From reading the book you not only get great tips for preparing and presenting your pitch, but you learn a lot about the psychology of your audience. Something that a lot of us forget when we’re faffing around on PowerPoint trying to make our pitch look great, or rehearsing hours on end with what we’re going to say to our clients. One of the main points the book states for achieving the perfect pitch is, If they don’t have confidence in you, they certainly won’t have confidence in your idea. In other words, if the client likes you, they are more likely going to like your pitch and your idea, and then buy it!
So the serious point I am making is that the concept of influencing people to like your idea isn’t taught in school. It’s something you learn through life, or simply by reading books such as Life’s a pitch.
One thing I definitely learnt from the book is that listening is key to influencing clients and selling your ideas. As quoted in Life’s a pitch, “In social meetings, the people who listened most were regarded by the others as the best conversationalists“. This statement reminds me of a quote from Dale Carnegie’s book How to win friends and influence people. “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Both quotes are so true when building relationships with people, whether it’s your spouse or client; it’s essential to listen.
So before you start to brainstorm ideas or wonder what magic you can perform to your clients, ask them what they want. Listening may be your best idea yet.
Stina Sanders is an intern at gyro London.