New Business Pitches: Do You Use Corporate Speak or Plain English?

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Blah, Blah, Blah. Is this what people hear when you give your 30-second elevator pitch that explains why your firm is different?

Recently I had to identify and vet potential web developers for several major projects for a client. After doing so and narrowing the field to four, we lined up a day for them to present themselves so we could evaluate them at the end of the day while everything was fresh in our minds.

What surprised me is that three out of the four firms used words like synergy, cutting edge, optimize and best practices to describe their business side. What are best practices anyway? When it came to back-end software terms, most of us other than the IT people didn’t have a clue.

The point I’m trying to make is instead of trying to impress people with big words, talk to them like human beings. I wonder if people actually listen to what they’re saying. You just don’t have normal conversations with other folks talking like that.

You want to engage people and to do that you need to act human.

Getting back to my web project. It came down to two firms who differentiated themselves by not talking about themselves, but instead talking about the client’s issues and how they might be able to help. They interacted by acting human. The firm that eventually won the business was because the client felt at ease with them and liked the way they thought about how to solve the problem.

Ironically all four of these firm had the technical competency to do the job, but for some it got lost in the translation.

Think about that next time you’re on a new business pitch. Be yourself, be human.

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