One of the hardest lessons for those of us who are not salespeople is that everything you do, every conversation you have and every time you meet someone new, you’re in a sales meeting. You’re constantly pitching yourself and what you want to do. Life becomes a never-ending pitch and everything is for sale.
You continue to pitch yourself and your project until it succeeds or until it becomes clear it time to move on and put things on the shelf. While I have several projects that have made it all the way to finish line, I also have about 10 to 11 projects on my shelf. Knowing when to give up and walk away can’t be taught. If you spend too much time pitching a project that has little to no chance of succeeding, you may miss the opportunity for another project to thrive.
When you’re not a born salesperson, this never-ending pitch can be difficult. In can often feel like you’re in situation where everyone is selling and no one is buying. So here are a few tips to get through the tough spots:
- Know who’s in the room; not everyone can help move your project forward, but knowing the people who can will help focus your pitch.
- Know when to bring up your work and when not to; it’s best to always be ready to pitch but not to pitch unless it seems appropriate.
- Re-introduce yourself if you’re meeting someone for the second or third time. They may remember what you’re pitching but they may not remember you.
- Have your elevator pitch and the set pieces of your stories ready, but there’s a time and place for everything. A follow up email is usually a better place for explanations and details than a chance meeting in a hallway.
If you work hard and keep going, sometimes the opportunity comes to you. Life is a never-ending pitch and all you can do is keep working and be ready.