What happens when you start presenting about setbacks, limitations, and shortcomings about you and about the product you try to sell?
What happens when your opening statement says "I may not Know...."?
When I was presenting my contract to a health care agency, I did not care if they reject the idea.
I started with all shortcomings and my lack of knowledge in a particular area.
The concept was new until I introduced.
When I started to present to the senior management, I even included one of the slide saying "Why Should Not have this service in the first Place?"
Although, I killed my pitch by overemphasizing on setbacks, somehow, I ended up winning the contract.
I experienced an extremely paradoxical response from management.
This approach was deliberate counter-intuitive, but honest and worked in my favor.
Something Went Right? ( It was instantaneous!)
I started to analyze the entire situation.
When I took a close look at my first informal meeting to present this idea, the manager was extremely skeptical.
Every time I emphasize the upside of the model, She hit me with a suspicious look.
She almost shut the talk down.
So when I was preparing my self to present to the senior management team, I realized that it was the height of skepticism and they were ready to decline.
I learned very quickly that since I am presenting a very novel idea, the superior and dominated audience was prepared to poke holes assuming that I would emphasize on strength and benefits rather than drawbacks.
They were waiting to bring down a compelling pitch, and I presented myself as powerless by accentuating flaws and created an imbalance of power and me surrendering to them.
So Why they decided to award me with the service contract?
I think the following factors affected the decision making.
The sense of Relaxation.
As soon as I started talking about set back, the title itself brought laughter and immediate physical relaxation in the audience.
They may have a subtle sense of loosening, unlike a business meeting.
Loss of Persuasion.
I disarmed all my essential audience who are waiting to make holes if I were to present the success.
They expected a strong pitch, and they were confronted with a realistic tone.
I showed my idea as the system is already running and we encounter setbacks.
Rationalization of setbacks as if they happened.
As I was expressing the drawbacks of ideas in my presentation, the manager largely diffused them as if she already have solutions.
As a management team, they already encounter many problems with other services and resolved them or in the process of addressing them.
They did not find the downsides that significant as I was presenting them and fearful of them.
Trustworthy and Collaboration.
The presentation and emphasize on the drawback or shortcomings, build a level of trust at the same times by shrewd judging my weaknesses made me look smart enough to do homework with my ideas and willingness to work with them as a team.
After all these, it is hazardous to pitch around negatives, especially when the audience is not so well informed of circumstances surrounding the idea, at the same time no one can be happier if there is nothing about goodness and benefits of the concept.
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