If you’re an entrepreneur who gets clients through cold pitches, you might wonder: Is it still OK to pitch at a time like this?
The answer: Yes, but you need to think differently about your offering and your approach.
To dig into the details, I arranged a coaching session between an entrepreneur and an industry expert—and filmed it so you can watch.
Dwaynia Wilkerson runs the content writing company Prose and Pens; she gets most of her clients through cold pitches, but is nervous about pitching now. Adam Bornstein, an Entrepreneur magazine columnist and cofounder of Pen Name Consulting, gave Wilkerson some ways to rethink her approach.
Three major takeaways:
1. Think of your pitch as a service, not just a way to get business
Consider what your potential clients are going through right now. They’re scrambling, they’re concerned about their business, and yet they’re trying to step up and serve their own audiences as best they can. They could use some help—and that’s your opening. Do a deep dive on their business before making contact, getting to know what they do, what they could use help on, and how you can create a customized solution.
“Right now,” Bornstein says, “the idea of a stranger reaching out and saying, ‘I thought you could use this’, is one of the kindest things that you could do.”
2. Offer discounts now, and win long-term business for later
Everyone is scared, and budgets are tight. When you reach out to people, acknowledge the hardship and offer to help. “You have to get into the mode of giving a little bit more because we are at a time where people might not be able to give back,” Bornstein says.
For example, can you offer discounted services? Can you go above and beyond to meet their needs? If so, you’ll be appreciated for a very long time—and that’ll pay off later. “Business is always built on the long game,” Bornstein says. “If you really want your business to survive, it’s a matter of cultivating relationships in the here and now.”
3. A/B test your cold pitches
In times like this, you want to get the messaging exactly right. What does that look like? You won’t know until you try—so Bornstein suggests creating a system to test your outreach. Write three different versions of your pitch, then send each version to about five leads. Track what happens, and then adjust based on the results.
This may sound weird and impersonal, but Bornstein encourages you to try it anyway. “It’s built on the idea of science itself,” he says. “Science is a matter of asking questions, getting an answer, and coming up with new questions. Is there a risk in doing it? Yes, but there’s also a risk in not doing it. Not knowing is the greatest threat to any business.”
For more advice, watch the video above!