How to Derail a Marketing Pitch

I had a sales meeting with a prospect last week. As things were winding down, the prospect told me that he was evaluating another firm the following day. He would be in touch with me after that. Instinctively, I entered post-sell mode. I told him exactly what he could expect to hear from this other firm and what fixes they would offer.

He didn’t tell me which firm was coming in, but realistically it didn’t matter. I knew what they would tell him.

I assumed—based on past experiences—they would frame their pitch around trendy and tested marketing tactics: a new website, content marketing, lead generation, SEO and the rest. They would list all of the issues they could see, from website problems to design flaws to lack of execution, and tell the prospect that it would take at least six months to get desirable results. Then they would ask for a contract.

Right then and there, I presented this pitch for them, and I let the prospect know why that was a problem. So many marketing firms deliver identical pitches because it’s easy to talk about trend and tactics, but in the end, those things aren’t enough.

All it takes is one simple question to derail this canned approach: what are the fundamentals of your marketing strategy?

I don’t mean to sound like the coach harping on his team of misfits in some inspirational sports flick. Everyone knows fundamentals are important, but most marketing firms completely ignore them. Investing in learning about a client’s business, validating their concerns and building a foundation with them—those are the fundamentals. Those create the basis for a robust sales and marketing machine.

I don’t know why most marketing firms overlook these things, but I’m sure glad they do. It makes selling easier for me.

What are your business’s fundamentals? I know mine. Ask me.