Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The secret of pitching is making them say no

So you want to get on in the media, do you, kids? Well here's my advice to you, refreshed by a recent experience.

When pitching projects to large, bureaucratic organisations, try to get them to say no. Get them to say that is an idea their organisation has no interest in now or in the foreseeable future. Get them to make you promise never to speak of it again.

You probably think it's hard to get them to say yes. That's certainly the case but it's not half as difficult as it is to get them to say no. Very few executives have the nerve to say no without first seeking the backing of their fellow execs. They're terrified they will say no to something that will prove to be a success elsewhere. Thus what they do is endlessly procrastinate in the hope that you'll lose interest or they'll get moved to some other post.

Next time you pitch something tell them they have a week to make up their mind and then you take it somewhere else. You may not get a successful outcome but at least you'll waste less time.