The Pitches Which Apply to Everyone Apply to No One

July 23, 2019

Recently I attended a gathering of business owners in which everyone went around the room, introducing themselves and their business.

A travel agency owner introduced himself and casually added, “anyone who needs to travel is a good fit for me.”

I remember hearing a lady at a networking event pitching her line of skin care products. At the end of her pitch, she said “a good client for me is anyone who has skin.”

These pitches are cute, but they are wrong. Wrong not only for the business, but for the client, too.

If I’m a customer planning a trip, I could be planning a road trip to Charlotte to celebrate Mom’s 90th birthday, a hiking trip to Nepal with my son, a strategic planning retreat for my key employees, a cruise to the Mediterranean with my wife, a family reunion in Texas, or a business trip to New York for which I need a conference room. All these needs require different levels of knowledge and expertise.

How many of these various trips has our travel agent qualified himself for? Zero. I have no idea what he’s really good at, such that if I’m planning that trip which fits his expertise, I’d better call him.

Further, if he wants me to refer him, I don’t know what I can tell anyone about him. He’s not memorable. He’s vanilla ice cream.

And here’s the real problem from the customer’s standpoint:  the person making the appeal sounds like they don’t really know what they’re doing, or they don’t really care about the person they’re selling to.

From the travel agent’s point of view, broad general appeals can open the door for clients who aren’t a good fit, or who don’t want to pay for the work he’ll put into planning a trip.

Suppose, instead, this travel agent had said “I’m an expert at planning destination family reunions” or “I just got back from a cruise in the Mediterranean, and one overlooked destination there I highly recommend is Montenegro.” Now, as a customer, I’ve got something to remember him by. If I’m planning a cruise to Europe, I’d better call this guy because he’s signaled his expertise. It’s expertise which offers value for me, and value for me helps justify a better price for him. Even if I’m thinking about a cruise to Alaska, he’s much more likely, in my mind, to be qualified to help because he’s indicated that he loves to cruise.

Let’s say the skin care lady said that her product restores the needed skin oils lost if you like really hot showers or baths. If I know how much my wife loves her blistering soaks in the tub, then suddenly the skin care lady has got me thinking. She’s positioned herself as a skin care expert. I’ve not only got a mental hook to remember her by, but I may even be thinking about a gift for my wife—a thoughtful one she’s not expecting from a knucklehead husband like me who’s normally not tuned into these things. Now I’m thinking I’m willing to pay a premium for such a gift, because what I’m really paying for is not just the product which my wife will benefit from, but the reaction I’ll get from her when she realizes I’ve put some thought into this gift.

The pitches which apply to everyone apply to no one. That’s a terrible place to be when you’re trying to attract good fit clients, the ones who are willing to pay for your expertise.


©Ray Business Advisors, LLC and John Ray

Photo by Anastasiia Ostapovych on Unsplash


About me:  I’m enthusiastic about how changes in pricing strategy can significantly change profitability for a business and enhance life choices for business owners. I live this passion through Ray Business Advisors, my outside CFO and business advisory practice, in which my pricing is exclusively value-based, not hourly. I work with business owners on how they can change their pricing not just to increase their profits, but better serve the wants of their customers. Click here to learn more or call me at 404-287-2627.

Leave a Comment